Monday 30 May 2011

Carden Alvar count

On Sunday Mira and I joined several other birders for the Carden Alvar blitz. Essentially we go birding for the whole morning on private land and tally up all the birds we see and hear! During the counts we have several 5 minute lists where we count as many species and numbers of birds as we can. True obsessive listers! Never mind the year list, these 5 minute lists were a lot of fun!

After witnessing birds during migration at Point Pelee for 3 weeks I was very happy to hear and see many of the same birds on territory, especially the grassland birds including Upland Sandpiper:


and Eastern Meadowlark:

We also found Loggerhead Shrike, Sandhill Crane, Virginia Rail, Sedge Wren and Alder Flycatcher.
Throughout the day I managed to hear 6 individual Golden-winged Warblers bringing my year total to 10! It really pays off to learn the bird songs.

In the afternoon butterflies emerged including several Black Swallowtails:

This Tree Swallow didn't mind people standing around very close by while they searched for Loggerhead Shrikes:

By the end of the day I added 3 new birds to my year list (Sedge Wren, Bobolink and Vesper Sparrow) bringing my year total to 268! The only birds I am not entirely convinced about on that list are Connecticut Warbler and Sora. Both birds I heard but was only able to identify several hours later after listening to recordings. There's always more to learn. My goal is to see 275 by mid August when I leave, definitely achievable but there aren't many easy birds left besides Screech Owl! Don't ask how I've managed that.

Nothing beats wandering around with lots of great birds singing on territory and knowing that very few birders get the chance to come out into the fields like we did. Usually we're limited to the roads.

The Carden Alvar is definitely one of my favourite places to bird in Ontario, second only to James Bay! I can't wait to go back to the Carden in two weeks time.