At several stops during the Superbowl of Birding, other birders would ask us what we were seeing. According to the contest rules, teams may not receive assistance from people who are not on the team during the competition, except for a few sanctioned sources. This means, in part, that teams cannot give each other assistance. Even without such a rule, it would be unwise to tell other teams where good birds are located because that could make the difference between winning and losing. So we had to coldly rebuff such requests. After several such encounters, Christopher expressed his frustration that he wanted to get back to talking about birds instead of keeping quiet.
Mike had brought an extra spotting scope when he drove from New York to Massachusetts, so I had use of a scope throughout the competition and during the next day. On the competition day it was very helpful to be able to scan the ocean and marshes because I was able to find birds faster than I would have otherwise. On Sunday I took advantage of the scope to take a closer look at some species (such as a Black Guillemot) and try my hand at digiscoping.
I tried digiscoping a few other birds as well, but the results are not presentable. I will need a lot more practice before I can produce images on par with someone like Mike McDowell or Kevin Bolton.
As I mentioned in my second post on the competition, our team won the Essex County Excels award for accumulating the most points in Essex County, Massachusetts. We received gift certificates for a nature store in Newburyport, and since we were all (except Christopher) leaving the area that day, we needed to cut short our birding time if we wanted the opportunity to use them. I used mine on a lens pen and two insect guides: Stokes Beginner's Guide to Dragonflies and Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Those books should help me to identify insects faster and more accurately – and post photos of them on the blog more quickly.
Having said our goodbyes, we went our separate ways. I was very happy to meet and bird with Corey, Andrew, Nate, Mike, and Christopher, and I hope to bird with them again, hopefully sooner rather than later. You can read their own versions of the weekend's events on their blogs; I'll post links here to the individual posts once everyone is done posting.