Monday, September 10, 2018

2018 Fall Migration Birding Big Day

A big thanks goes out to everyone who participated in The Kensington Conservancy's Birding Big Day on September 8th! We had eight teams consisting of nineteen participants record a total of 101 different bird species over the course of nine hours in the Central Algoma area.

The idea behind this Birding Big Day was for each team to go out and see how many different species they could find. There was no prize attached to first place, it was just a friendly competition. Birding could begin at 7:00 am and go until 4:00pm.
The event was participation by donation, with all the proceeds going towards a future bird conservation project in the Central Algoma area. We raised a total of $550, which is awesome! If anyone would like to still make a contribution to this fund, click here and make sure to choose "Birding Big Day" from the drop down menu when selecting a campaign. There are no concrete plans as to what the bird conservation project will be yet, so if anyone has any ideas, pass them along to me!

For me personally, it was a very fun and busy day. I was teamed up with my dad, Ron, and we left my house bright and early in order to make it to the Echo Bay viewing platform before the competition officially started at 7:00am, with a target of getting 60 species for the day. We arrived about ten minutes early and it was hard to just sit and wait and not start counting all the birds we were seeing and hearing. As soon as 7:00am hit, we added American Bittern to our list, as one had been sitting nearby since we arrived. A couple minutes later, the Virginia Rail we heard at 6:59am called again, allowing us to count it. We managed to add Sora and Marsh Wren here as well, two species I wasn't counting on getting.

Next, we made our way through the Bar River Flats then on to Pumpkin Point. We were quickly adding species to our list as we went, which was great. It took about five seconds to hear the resident Red-bellied Woodpecker call at the end of Pumpkin Point and there were nine Pied-Billed Grebes all together in the open water visible from Centennial Park, something I don't think I've seen before. We hurried over to the Bruce Mines sewage lagoons, where we picked up Northern Shoveler, Bufflehead and Blue-winged Teal. We took the back roads back towards Desbarats, where we saw over 100 Turkey Vultures near Northern Quality Meats and a Brown Thrasher on Government Road, just east of Gordon Lake Road.

It was then time to hit up St. Joseph Island. We raced down to Fort St. Joseph and walked around there for a while, where we finally got our first and only Bald Eagle of the day. We worked our way back north along the west end of the island and back towards Desbarats, arriving at the TKC Conservation Centre just before 4:00pm. In total, my dad and I ended up with 79 species.
Once all the teams arrived back at the TKC Conservation Centre, we dined on some great potluck food and tallied up all the birds that we saw. It was great to hear about all the birds that the other teams got, as everyone had a fantastic day and saw a lot of species.

There were no real rare birds observed throughout the day, but there were a couple birds a little late heading south: Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird and Marsh Wren.
Here is a list, in taxonomic order, of all 101 species that were observed by all the participants:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Ruffed Grouse
Sharp-tailed Grouse
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Virginia Rail
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Bald Eagle
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Blue-headed Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Marsh Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Chipping Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-throated Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
House Sparrow

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