May Species Count

Last Saturday, my local naturalist society held its annual May species count. I’ve gone a few other years at 5 am or so, and I was asked this year if I’d be able to join the club president then. But with our beef club achievement day, show and sale the next two days, I needed to get as much rest as possible. So I started counting birds at 9 am instead and saw some good birds, though I missed a few common ones such as House Wrens, American Coots, and Barn Swallows.

Chris told me later that he had seen a Blackpoll Warbler earlier in the morning —  it would have been a life bird for me. I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to see it, but I did get an extra three hours of sleep!

I had a good walk and saw 32 species in three hours with two first of season birds: Cedar Waxwings and Spotted Sandpiper.

I aways have so much fun doing this count and can’t wait to see what I get next year!

A flock of Bonaparte’s Gulls were feeding near the edge of the river and here’s one (digiscoped),


A Tree Swallow on a no trail riding sign,


Buffalo beans,


A view of the river,


I’m not quite sure what species of Dragonfly this is,


A Song Sparrow (digiscoped),


A beautiful Canadian Tiger Swallowtail,


A Franklin’s Ground Squirrel (digiscoped),


I saw quite a few Double-crested Cormorants on my walk (digiscoped),


An interestingly colored American Wigeon (digiscoped),


A pair of Mallards (digiscoped),


A Spring Poll 2013

To celebrate the Equinox and first day of Spring today, I have a poll!

Vote for your favorite Spring bird by the evening of Wednesday, March 27th, and I will post the results on Thursday, March 28th. Thank you!


Baillie Birdathon 2013

Yesterday I signed up for my second Baillie Birdathon. The Baillie Birdathon, hosted by Bird Studies Canada, is the oldest sponsored bird count in North America.

I hope to see at least 80 species, last year I was very close with 79! Again, I’ll be a team of one and hope to make the best of the 24 hours. Here are my results from last year. You can choose any day in May to do the Birdathon, last year I counted on the 30th and 31st. I will probably count on the same days, because in northern Alberta in May, spring migration is still underway for some species.

Since I am a team of just one, my goal is to raise $500, and I’ve earmarked half of the money I raise to go to my local naturalist society, the Vermilion River Naturalist Society in Alberta, to help pay for programs and lectures.

Half of the money raised goes to BSC and the other half to whichever group is designated. If you would like to sponsor me, you can visit my team page. I would be very happy to reach my goal for my second Baillie Birdathon. Last year my goal was $250 and I was so happy and delighted to raise $830 for the Long Point Bird Observatory. A huge thank you again to everyone who supported me and made donations.

An American Wigeon from my Birdathon last year,


My Baillie Birdathon Results

My Baillie Birdathon was a few days ago, and I was hoping to go from midnight to midnight, but I was so tired from Saturday’s 6:30 am start to our local Spring bird count, and then two long days at the 4H beef club show and sale, that I accidentally overslept. So my Birdathon was from 6 am Wednesday to 6 am Thursday.

My goal was to see 80 species and I came so very, very close, with 79 species. My first species was a Barn Swallow and the last was a Marbled Godwit. Most of the species were seen around our farm, house, and my grandparents’ yard, and I saw four species at the local Provincial Park.

All the species I saw:

Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Eared Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Canada Goose, American Wigeon, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Ruddy Duck, Northern Harrier, Swainson’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ruffed Grouse, Sora, American Coot, Killdeer, American Avocet, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Wilson’s Snipe, Wilson’s Phalarope, Franklin’s Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Black Tern, Rock Pigeon, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-billed Magpie, American Crow, Common Raven, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Mountain Bluebird, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, European Starling, Yellow Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow.

I was very happy that my scope arrived from Pelee Wings in time for my Birdathon. The scope was a huge help because I could see so far into and across the river, sloughs, and lakes.

My Swarovski scope is an ATM 80 with a 20-60 zoom eyepiece, and a Manfrotto 190 tripod with 128RC head,


(I am wearing one of my favorite t-shirts, from NYC Audubon by Social Pakt)

Some of the birds I saw during my Birdathon, including a Willet,

A male Ruddy Duck displaying,

Swainson’s Hawk,

A very beautiful male mountain Bluebird at the Provincial Park,

Gray Catbird,

Great Blue Heron,

American Wigeon,

A Pied-billed Grebe,

Thank you everyone for helping me exceed my goal for my Baillie Birdathon, I had so much fun and can’t wait for next year!