I'm happy to announce the details of the upcoming Rarity Roundup - Maryland's 10th year. Please see below!
WHAT: The 10th Annual Rarity Roundup
WHEN: All day on Saturday, November 14
Dinner & Tally: Saturday evening at Mark Hoffman's West OC residence
Chase Parties: Sunday, November 15 (arrangements made Saturday evening)
WHERE: All of Worcester County will be covered
HOW: Contact Mark Hoffman (), Bill Hubick () and/or Matt Hafner ()
Why this count? Worcester County is easily the most productive birding county in the state, and early November is a peak time for wandering fall vagrants. We will divide up Worcester Co. into territories and cover it like any other count. We'll keep full lists of all species detected for year-to-year trend analysis. That said, there is a major difference between the Rarity Roundup and other events. If -- wait, wait, I mean WHEN -- we find a mega-rarity, all participating parties are welcome to abandon post and immediately give chase. (...Though Sunday is reserved for chasing the more expected good birds.) Last year's Rarity Roundup turned up Ash-throated Flycatcher, Cave Swallows, Audubon's Warbler, Snowy Owls, and Brewer's Blackbird, to name just a few. As always, we'll be hoping for a new state record.
This year I'll again join Mark Hoffman and Matt Hafner in facilitating things, especially finding coverage for all of the territories. With the event's success over the years, that shouldn't be a problem. Please let us know ASAP whether you'll be able to join us. If so, take a look at the Google Map of the territories (linked below) and let us know if there are any areas of particular interest. (If you've already written, we'll be in touch soon!)
For those planning on staying near Ocean City, a clean and relatively affordable motel is the Francis Scott Key on Route 50, just west of the bridge into Ocean City. Their phone number is 410-213-0088 and they have a website that accepts reservations as well at: http://www.fskmotel.com/.
We will have a communications network in place for when a mega-rarity shows up on the day of the count, so when you sign up please be sure to send us your cell phone number. (Also, let us know if you DO not do text messages.)
By the way, the Virginia Rarities Roundup is scheduled for the previous Saturday (11/7). If you are interested in joining a Maryland mercenary contingent to that foreign land to our south, please contact Todd Day ().
Naturally, the more sharp eyes we have on the coast that weekend, the better our odds of making it a legendary event. We hope to see you out there!
Oh, and now might be a fun time to take a peak at the 2009 update to "Maryland's Next Ten Bird Species," which Matt Hafner and I updated in July of this year. (Marshall Iliff created the original and also provided valuable input on the update.) One of the Next 10 has already fallen - at the exact time and place predicted. :)
To sign up or ask questions, please contact Mark Hoffman (), Bill Hubick (), and/or Matt Hafner (). Even if you're a beginner, don't hesitate to sign up for the count. We'll pair you with more experienced birders, and every pair of eyes in the field matters!
Mark Hoffman and Bill Hubick,
with invaluable long-distance support from Matt Hafner in Florida