Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Big Day April 11, 2011

We have some enthusiastic birders in our club, often heading out to spend the day finding and recording species.  Erwin Batalla sends us this report of a group effort, along with a photo from Paul Mackenzie:

On Thursday 28 April, Paul Mackenzie, Bruce Ripley and Erwin Batalla attempted to break the ABA (American Birding Association) Big Day record for April in Ontario (111 species set by another group from the KFN in 2009).
We left Amherstview at 5 AM and headed west. There was a little bit of wind and the Eastern Screech Owl did not respond at a marsh north of Bath. We caught the 6:15 ferry at Adolphustown and were quickly off towards Prince Edward Point, trying to outrun the bad weather.
There were several squalls and we were pelted by rain early on. This made it very difficult to see or hear the birds. We occasionally saw little flocks darting through but could only positively identify a few of the passerines. We still managed to find Nashville, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, Pine, Palm and Black-and-white Warblers as well as Northern Parula. When we reached the Point, the wind was really howling and our walk to the lighthouse was not very productive but we added House Wren, Least Flycatcher and Veery to our list. We searched for the Harlequin Ducks that had been seen but could not locate them.
We retraced our steps and went past Waupoos to the Kaiser Crossroad. There were a few species of ducks and shorebirds at that location. By this time, the gale was such that scopes placed at knee high in the lee of the car still shook a lot. Taking the ferry towards Kingston, we birded at Hay Bay where we puzzled over two small terns, along Wilton Creek, at the Amherstview Sewage Lagoons and at Lost Lake where we saw a Common Yellowthroat.
Despite our very respectable nine species of warblers, we could see that the strong winds would not allow us any chance at breaking the existing record so we headed home after 4 PM. We had totaled 98 species on a day on which fallen and uprooted trees were more numerous than raptors.

Erwin Batalla

                                                                    Northern Parula


                                                 Photo:  Paul Mackenzie

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