The Birdathon Baggers: Alessandra, Ezra, Giovanni, and Samuel. -AAW
2017’s birdathon was last Sunday, May the 14th. The day started around 5am as the Baggers woke and began getting ready. This years team was Rick Ludkin, Giovanni and Ezra Campanelli, Alessandra Wilcox and Samuel Strachan who filled in for Ben Oldfield, a long time skilled Bagger who unfortunately was unable to attend as he had been sick on the days leading up to the 14th.
The “Ruthven Ringers” started as usual with a census, the same route done each morning. The census was lead by Matt Timpf, a Ruthven Ringer alumnus. Around a
quarter to 7 the team was ready, and leaving Matt in charge of Ruthven, we headed out.
The Townsend Sewage Lagoons were a disappointment this year but did turn up this Blue-winged Teal and Short-billed Dowitcher. -EJC
We started down River Road, finding a variety of species and then made a brief stop at Loretta Mousseau’s backyard who was nice enough to let us bird there; there we eventually found a bobolink. A quick Tim Hortons Trip and we headed to the Townsend Sewage Lagoons. The Lagoons were much more barren than expected. The team of 2016 found many species of waterfowl, sandpipers, with high numbers of individuals as well. This year we found a only few sandpipers, a small number of ducks and left with a mere 13 species.
We then travelled to a known Clay-coloured Sparrow location (in Simcoe), and within minutes heard it’s distinctive song. With that we headed south to Backus Woods and in search of a Prothonotary Warbler.
Backus hosted a range of new species. After waking a few sleeping Baggers we headed down the main trail. Warblers were plentiful, but diversity was low. We were around 90 species at this point, and steadily approaching 100. As we headed into an old growth section, lined with forested ponds we found the Prothonotary Warbler, or 3 to be exact. Backus is one of the few places remaining in Norfolk where they will breed. Shortly after seeing this Samuel spotted a Black-legged Tick on Rick’s back (pictured _[below, above]]_), it was removed before any harm was done. We are lucky at Ruthven to only have Dog Ticks, a larger species that don’t carry Lyme Disease.
Black-legged Tick found crawling up my shirt. Yikes! -EJC
As we followed the loop back to the parking lot, 99 species in, Giovanni made a wonderful spot – a SY male Summer Tanager, normally found in the west. This was our 100th species, counted at around 11:47 Am.
Rare (for the East) Summer Tanager at Backus Woods. -EJC
This started the part of the day in which we traveled to a range of woodlots, finding a few more species at each stop. One of the more productive woodlots was St. Williams Conservation Reserve, a nice habitat that turned up Ruffed Grouse, Hooded Warbler and others. As Noon came we began to plateau, as we made our way farther into Long Point. We started to realize we needed to pick it up since we only had until 6:30, when our driver (Rick) had to leave.
We decided to head into Old Cut, the site of well maintained trails and a CMMN banding station. This stop was a load of fun. Many species of warbler were seen with relative ease, most were in full breeding plumage. It was a boost of morale for the team and a chance to get many new warbler species, and our first thrushes.
As the day wound down we walked down to the Long Point conservation area, and similar areas until Rick dropped us back at Ruthven where we did a quick observation, and a brief try for owls until we called it a day around 9 PM. It was much fun for all involved, we totalled 128 species. Many thanks to all who donated, to Matt for taking care of banding in our absence, and shout out to Ethan Gosnell, a dedicated Bagger who did his own big day that weekend, totalling a solid 85 species.
But wait there’s more! There is still time to donate to our birdathon, all donations go towards bird conservation efforts in Canada, so any contributions would be greatly appreciated. Simply go to www.birdscanada.org/birdathon and donate to the Ruthven Ringers.
American Black Duck
Great Blue Heron
Eastern Wood Pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
N. Rough-winged Swallow
Black and White Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green W.
Samuel & Alessandra
May 17th at Ruthven:
1st Black-billed Cuckoo of the year. -CHS
It got HOT quickly, and usually this greatly reduces our catches, but not today. We are bearing the full brunt of the Spring 2017 migration!! Things are moving through in good numbers and great haste – making up for lost time.
The demise of two Dog Ticks. -CHS
Blackburnian Warbler – after second year male
Female Mourning Warbler
American Redstart – after second year male
1 Black-billed Cuckoo
Head detail of the Black-billed Cuckoo -CHS
1 House Wren
1 Wood Thrush
11 Gray Catbirds
4 Warbling Vireos
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Tennessee Warbler
17 Yellow Warblers
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Black-throated blue Warbler
1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
1 Blackburnian Warbler
4 American Redstarts
1 Mourning Warbler
7 Common Yellowthroats
5 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
2 Indigo Buntings
1 Chipping Sparrow
4 Baltimore Orioles
1 American Goldfinch
ET’s: 72 spp.
Fern Hill – Burlington:
Today was a scorcher! We banded an interesting variety of birds throughout the day despite the heat. At the end of the day we had a total of 10 birds throughout the day, and an estimated total of 38 species observed throughout.
We banded 10
Tennessee Warbler. -JJC
1 Trail’s Flycatcher (first of the year!)
1 American Robin
2 Gray Catbirds
2 Tennessee Warblers (first of the year!)
2 Baltimore Orioles
2 American Goldfinches
Male Baltimore Oriole. -KAP
We also kept ourselves busy checking the tree swallow and bluebird nest boxes, and observing a small family of Canada Geese wandering about the school yard. All in all, a beautiful Spring Day to be outside!