Thursday, May 23, 2013

BAILLIE BIRD-A-THON - TAKE TWO

Our first bird upon entering Ruthven Park, Purple Martins.
 Over the long weekend, Rob and I once again joined our friends, Jim and Lynda for our 2nd Baillie Birdathon. We had a new strategy this year and our goal was simple, to beat last years species count of 69.

We started at 5pm on Sunday night, and I had a secret weapon, Lev Frid (birder/naturalist  extraordinaire) was coming out with us that night. Lev is way better at bird calls than any of us, and heard and pointed out birds in a local park that I have visited many times, but have never seen, including a Great Crested Flycatcher.  

When we went to bed that night with 44 species under our belt after only a couple hours of birding, I thought for sure we were going to blow last years count out of the water.

We headed for Ruthven Park bright and early and kept adding to our list. By the time we left there at 11am, we had surpassed last years total by 2, having us at 71. Again, with 6 hours left to bird we thought we were going to get maybe 100 species this time!

Where did the birds go? For the next 6 hours we searched for birds, and came up empty time after time. Sure, we found birds, but we already had them on our list. Maybe it was because it was so hot outside, the birds weren't moving, or maybe it was because the parks were packed with people enjoying the holiday and sent the birds into hiding. Whatever it was, we only got 3 more species after leaving Ruthven Park.

Still, we had a lot of laughs, raised some money for Bird Studies Canada and spent the day birding, not a bad day after all.

Lev got us off to a great start Sunday evening.
Blue-winged Warbler at Ruthven Park.
Jim looking for birds at Ruthven Park.
Me leading the parade along Lakeshore.
Last bird of the day, Red-breasted Grebes.
We'll have a new plan of action for next year, and our goal is 75 species! To read about last years birdathon please click HERE.