Jeff Bolsinger is one of our dedicated Kingbird Regional Editors, having served in that capacity for 12 years as of 2016, with 45 reports under his belt. He has also served as a director on NYSOA's board. Read on to learn how Jeff approaches the important task of writing quarterly regional reports, and to find out a little about him as a birder.
How long have you been a NYSOA member?
“I joined in 2001 and have been a member continuously since.”
How long have you been the Region 6 Reports Editor for The Kingbird?
“I wrote my first Region 6 report in 2004 and shared Regional Editor duties with three others for a couple of years before taking it over full-time in 2006.”
How many quarterly reports have you written?
“If my math is correct I am working on number 45.”
What sources do you use for reporting (personal exchanges, eBird, list serves, mailed sightings, etc.)?
“Mostly eBird. One very helpful observer mails me a summary of his best sightings quarterly, and a few others let me know whenever they see something noteworthy via phone, e-mail, or text, but the great majority of what I put into the report comes from eBird. The amount of information I get from eBird has changed dramatically in the last 2-3 years. For several years about half of all of the eBird reports for Region 6 were from one observer (me), and most of the rest were either from feeder-watchers or the occasional visitor to Region 6 from elsewhere. It seems like eBird has really caught on here the past couple of years, and there are now a number of local eBirders submitting checklists regularly. One result is that the number of species being documented each season has increased significantly over the previous decade or so.”
How long does it take you to write a quarterly Region 6 Report?
“I’m not sure I can give a precise answer to this question. I typically work on each report fitfully for a month, adding a few sightings here and there but not working on it for a prolonged period. Eventually when I realize I have to finish it before I am too late I spend probably 5-6 hours completing the species list and writing the narrative. I’d guess I spend a total of 8-10 hours on most reports, although the winter report usually takes a little less time to complete.”
How long have you been birding? Did you have a particular experience that hooked you on birding?
“31 years. I started birding while at Oregon State University, where I received a B.S. in Zoology. My Vertebrate Biology class took a field trip to William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge mostly to look at birds, and I was immediately hooked.”
What is your favorite place to go birding in NYS?
“I don’t know that I can pick out one place—I don’t have one spot that I like over all others. I mostly bird in Region 6 where there are a number of places I am fond of birding. Depending on the time of year I like to spend a lot of time at Upper and Lower Lakes WMA, the St. Lawrence River, or a few places in the Adirondacks. The Lake Ontario shoreline can be great and I especially like the stretch from Stony Point in Henderson south to Lakeview WMA. Birding can be quite good on Fort Drum where I work, too. For the past few years the Indian River Lakes area and adjacent parts of St. Lawrence County have fascinated me, and during the summer this may be my favorite area to go. This area is the stronghold for Cerulean Warbler in northern New York, and has lots of Golden-winged Warblers with few Blue-winged Warblers or hybrids. I also tend to see species such as Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Louisiana Waterthrush here more often than elsewhere at the same latitude.”