Thursday, May 18, 2017

Great Canadian Birdathon 2017 (Part 3)

This is the third post covering my 2017 Birdathon experience.
The Great Canadian Birdathon is a fundraiser for bird conservation and research, to help endangered species and keep common birds common. You can donate to my page HEREThank you for supporting bird conservation and making the important part and purpose of the birdathon a success.

We followed through with our plan to go to the Shoal Lakes (west, east and north), which are north west of Oak Hammock Marsh.

The raptors were slow at first, but throughout the day they added up.
Merlin on the way to Shoal Lake (photo by Matthew)

After the 45 minute drive we made our first stop at the lakes at East Shoal Lake. It was a road that just ended at the edge of the lake.
There we were able to see Common and Forster’s Tern, Franklin’s Gull, Red-breasted Merganser.

At East Shoal Lake

We continued around the lakes, making periodic stops to scan the water for birds. Our list of birds slowly grew until we had seen almost all of the waterfowl that are commonly seen around here. The roads were dry and dusty, the vehicle would kick up a storm of dirt behind us wherever we went. We would often stop and forget to close the windows, so the dust would come into the car. By the end many things had a fine layer of dust on them. My lips were dry and stung.

Canvasback (photo by Matthew)

Muskrat (photo by Matthew)

Garter Snake (photo by Matthew)

Turkey Vulture (photo by Matthew)

American White Pelican (photo by Matthew)

Me photographing! (photo by Matthew)

When we navigated around closed and rough back roads we made it to West Shoal Lake. There we saw numerous Great Egrets and plenty of pelicans, waterfowl and a beautiful Black-crowned Night Heron. We stopped at some Red-headed Woodpecker habitat and had a fleeting look at one. By now our list was over 90 and we wanted to break 100.

Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Great Egret
Song Sparrow

We finished up at the Shoal Lakes around 3 in the afternoon and began to head back in the direction of our house. We made multiple stops to try for Red-headed Woodpecker again, and Grey Partridge near Oak Hammock but it was unsuccessful for more species. After a quick stop at our house we went to Silver Springs Park to see if we could garner a few more species. Although there were many nice birds they were all ones we had previously seen that day.

Waterfowl at Silver Springs
Christian had to leave us, but I still saw a Pine Siskin and Cooper’s Hawk around at our house. I went down the road where I knew where some good feeders and fields were to see if I could get a goldfinch or bobolink, but it seems it was to early, because it was unsuccessful. I went to Silver Springs and the Red River Floodway once more in a last effort to try and see Osprey, Solitary Sandpiper or American Pipit, but that was also unsuccessful.

However, the Cooper’s Hawk and Pine Siskin put us over with a total of 101 species! Overall it was very successful, especially considering the time of year.

And that just about sums up my 2017 Birdathon. You can go to my page HERE donate to support bird conservation. The funds I raise will go to the Delta Marsh Bird Observatory. Thank you for your support of birds! Happy birding!

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