Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Great Canadian Birdathon 2017 (Part 1)

I´m sorry this did not post until now. It was supposed to post earlier this week, but for some reason it did not. I was only able to get onto a computer now. I am in Hungary right now seeing many new birds and having a lot of fun, I will attempt to post a few photos in the coming days or weeks.

Hello all! By the time this automatically posts we will be travelling in Europe, hopefully seeing many new birds. This is the first post in a series documenting my birdathon experience from a week or two ago. If you would like to support bird conservation you can donate to my page HERE and make the important part and purpose of the birdathon a success.

Many photos were taken by Matthew because was taking more pictures than me most of the time and he had the better camera. All of the photos were hastily edited for this post, as at the moment of writing we are busy getting ready.

The alarm goes off at 5:30. I get up, eat breakfast and get ready, making sure the camera and birding gear is in order. Christian Artuso arrives, at six o’clock. The sun has just risen and the birds are already out.
This is my third Birdathon. I would have had it a few weeks later when it is the peak of migration for warblers and shorebirds, but we will be in Europe at that time so we had to settle with it being earlier.

Bird expert Christian Artuso agreed to help me with my Birdathon once again, as he has in previous years. This year it was just Christian, my twin brother Matthew, and me who went on the bird expedition. We started with a quick walk around our property, picking up about 30 species. The common ones like Black-capped Chickadee, Red-winged Blackbird, Downy Woodpecker, Dark-eyed Junco, Mallard, White-throated Sparrow, etc…

We then hopped in the car and headed out to Birds Hill Park, a Provincial Park near our house. Because it’s the beginning, there were plenty of birds everywhere that were first of the day. We stopped at a habitat which looked good for sparrows. We were able to get some amazing views from the car of two nice Vesper Sparrows and a fleeting glance at an Orange-crowned Warbler (first warbler besides Yellow-rumped I have seen this year).
American Robin (photo by Matthew)
Vesper's Sparrow

Vesper's Sparrow (photo by Matthew)

Vesper's Sparrow (photo by Matthew)
We saw multiple Muskrats in ditches along the road, which quickly disappeared underwater after we spotted them.
Muskrat (photo by Matthew)
The purple finches were singing jubilantly and we saw one do a flight display right over us as we were stopped on the side of the road.
Purple Finch (photo by Matthew)
A beautiful first of year male Bluebird sat near a bird box in a field.
Eastern Bluebird (photo by Matthew)
We then got out and walked in a field which looked like prime habitat for Lark Sparrows. Because of Christian’s expertise we were able to find a beautiful individual. A lifer!

At first it was sitting in a tree where it was behind the sun, rendering the photos overexposed and therefore not good. Fortunately it flew down to the ground which allowed for some nice pictures.
Lark Sparrow (photo by Matthew)
Lark Sparrow (photo by Matthew)
Reviewing photos

We continued around the Birds Hill Park loop, stopping periodically to look or listen for birds. And one stop Christian pointed out a Winter Wren singing. We tried for a while to get a decent look or photo of it, but it stubbornly stuck to the very top of the tall spruce trees, singing its heart out.

The wren is somewhere up there...

Is that it?                                               Nope....

By this time we would have been birding for a few hours and garnered about 60 sp.
Stay tuned for more posts and updates from Europe!

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