SPRING BIRDING FESTIVAL 2013
Some of the many visitors who came to Prince Edward Point during this year's Spring Birding Festival. Photo© Bruce Parker.
Spring Birding Festival Wrap Up 2013
Boot Camp for Birders was an intense weekend program for novices, a new venture for Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. Participants spent the first day in the classroom with Pamela Stagg at Jackson’s Falls B & B. There was a special presentation on coffee and bird conservation, led by Kathy Felkar. On the second day, participants went on the guided hike led by Terry Sprague, then a banding demonstration with PEPtBO Bander in Charge, Stephane Menu. The weekend finished with a mini-birdathon, with participants able to identify even such enigmatic birds as the warbling vireo.
Look up – raptors at a distance. Migrating raptors high in the sky can be challenging birds to identify. Detailed field marks in bird guides have limited use when raptors are soaring high overhead. Pamela Stagg took participants through field marks that often aren’t considered in distant raptors, yet make it easier to identify eagles, falcons, hawks and vultures.
Techno-birding. In this evening presentation, Pamela Stagg looked at technology that is changing our understanding of birds, sometimes radically. Radio tracking, geolocators and satellite tracking, advanced radar and even computer-linked banding being used today, allowing us to follow the astonishing 30,000 km journey of the northern wheatear from the Arctic to Africa and back again, or the eventful annual flights of osprey captured via satellite on their annual flight from Massachusetts to South America.
........... Pamela Stagg
“Warblers I Have Known and Loved ” This workshop on Saturday May 11th, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at Jackson’s Falls Schoohouse B & B drew 11 avid warbler watchers, eager for tips on identifying their favourite family of spring migrants. Terry Sprague introduced this large family of neotropical migrants by narrowing down the over 50 species in North America, to the 30 species that may be expected in Prince Edward County. Warblers can best be identified by committing their unique songs to memory and understanding expected dates of arrival since warblers are more often heard than seen. An overview on field guides and recordings from CDs to interactive computer programs and bird song Apps for field use was also given. Participants left feeling more confident and ready to try out their new found skills.
.......... Terry Sprague
Blue-winged Warbler, Prince Edward Point. Photo© Bruce Parker.
Guided Hikes at Point Traverse
Saturday, May 11: Despite the wind and the threat of rain, 23 birders joined us at 8:00 a.m. in the Point Traverse Woods at Prince Edward Point for a guided bird walk. Seen and heard were 19 species of warblers, among the more interesting CAPE MAY WARBLER, BAY-BREASTED WARBLER, TENNESSEE WARBLER both GOLDEN-WINGED and BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA, NASHVILLE WARBLER, PALM WARBLER and CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. Unexpected was a lingering DARK-EYED JUNCO and the first RED-EYED VIREO of the year. Also present were several SCARLET TANAGERS, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, LEAST FLYCATCHERS, several EASTERN TOWHEES, FIELD SPARROWS and a MERLIN.
Scarlet Tanager, Traverse Woods. Photo© Bruce Parker.
Sunday, May 12: Windy and very cool conditions contributed to the relatively poor birding luck for the 11 birders present on this morning’s guided bird walk in the Point Traverse Woods at Prince Edward Point at 8:00 a.m. There was a pocket at the east end where several species of warblers were present including a very cooperative BLUE-WINGED WARBLER. Gone seemed to be the scarlet tanagers and the bulk of the orioles, but we did round up a respectable 16 species of warblers. Some of the more interesting species included several PALM, a half dozen BLACK-THROATED BLUE, NORTHERN PARULA, CHESTNUT-SIDED, BLACKBURNIAN, MAGNOLIA, NASHVILLE, CAPE MAY, and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Also seen were BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, GRAY CATBIRD, EASTERN TOWHEE, BROWN THRASHER, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, and HOUSE WREN.
Palm Warbler, Traverse Woods. Photo© Bruce Parker.
Monday, May 13: It was jacket, gloves and toque weather in the Point Traverse Woods at Prince Edward Point today, and a tough go for four hearty birders to find even small pockets of migrant warblers in the gusty winds. However, the BLUE-WINGED WARBLER was re-found again this morning, and others included BLACK-THROATED BLUE, plenty of PALM WARBLERS, NASHVILLE WARBLERS, MAGNOLIA WARBLER and a single TENNESSEE WARBLER. Also, present, a male EVENING GROSBEAK, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, several BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, BROWN THRASHER and two SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS.
.......... Terry Sprague
Blackburnian Warbler, Traverse Woods. Photo© Bruce Parker.
Spring Bird Photography Contest Winners
Annual PEPtBO AGM in Picton
SPRING BIRDING FESTIVAL 2012
2012 Spring Birding Festival Synopsis
Warm weather and sunny conditions welcomed visitors to this year's Prince Edward County Spring Birding Festival. Photo© Bruce Parker.
PEPtBO Spring Bird Count and Baillie Birdathon 2012
May is the time for counting birds and raising money for the Bird Observatory. Even though the migration was a little protracted and counting was difficult later in the month as the leaves sprouted, 35 birders were out to count bird species and raise funds. A total of 172 species were seen and so far $10,500 has been raised in the County. In an upset victory, the Laphroaig Vultures were knocked off their “throne” as the team that saw the most species by the Great Greys – Michael Runtz and Doug McRae. The Great Greys came in with 141 species!
PEPtBO President Cheryl Anderson presents Mike Runtz of the "Great Grays" with the trophy for most species. Photo © Judy Kent
The trophy for the individual that raised the most money was won by our Guest Birder, Myrna Wood. We also recognized the youngest birder, Korben Cooke, age 6, with a PEPtBO bucket hat. Thank you to all participants and sponsors. The Spring Bird Count, our version of the Baillie Birdathon, is a major fund raiser for PEPtBO. We appreciate the participation of everyone.
For a complete list of species seen Click Here.
Guided Hikes At Point Traverse May 12-21
Reports by Terry Sprague
Saturday, May 12: A total of 32 birders turned out for the first guided bird walk of the season as part of the Spring Birding Festival at Prince Edward Point. Seen today in the Point Traverse Woods on this guided walk were several SCARLET TANAGERS, INDIGO BUNTING, WOOD PEWEE, LEAST and GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, WOOD THRUSH, RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and 16 species of warblers. A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was also seen.
Sunday, May 13: Twenty species of warblers were present in the Point Traverse Woods this morning, among them COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, lots of NORTHERN PARULAS, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, PALM WARBLER and BLACKPOLL WARBLER. At 7:20 a.m. this morning, warblers were hanging offf the bushes, and 12 species were counted in the first five minutes as several SWAINSON'S THRUSHES surrounded me on my initial walk along the trails with song and their presence. By noon, overall numbers of birds had dropped, but all 20 warbler species still present.
Monday, May 14: Twenty-three species of warblers showed up today at Prince Edward Point, among them, BLACKPOLL, CANADA, BLUE-WINGED and ORANGE-CROWNED. As birders birded the Point Traverse Woods this morning, a flock of fully 1,200 BRANT passed by, totally drowning out all bird song for a few seconds. Eleven LEAST SANDPIPERS spent much of the day on the shore across from the Observatory. HORNED GREBE, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, and a late AMERICAN TREE SPARROW were other interesting finds.
Saturday, May 19: About 17 species of warblers were present this morning in the Point Traverse Woods, among them many dozens of BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS and BLACKPOLL WARBLERS. Other notable finds were WOOD THRUSH and SWAINSON'S THRUSH, ALDER FLYCATCHER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, BROWN THRASHER (pair), RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, several SCARLET TANAGERS, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW and INDIGO BUNTING. An amorous pair of CECROPIA MOTHS were getting it on near the Point Traverse corner.
Bay-breasted Warbler. Photo© Bruce Parker
Sunday, May 20: The Spring Birding Festival has only one more day to go, and exceptionally fine weather for all 10 days with almost nil winds. Big news today was the banding of a SUMMER TANAGER at P.E.Pt. Today, lots of warblers and lots of variety, including high numbers of BLACKPOLL WARBLERS. Other warblers included CANADA, MOURNING, PINE, TENNESSEE and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. Two RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were seen west of Point Traverse proper. Other good birds included SWAINSON'S THRUSH, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE and INDIGO BUNTING.
Indigo bunting. Photo© Bruce Parker
Report by Kathy Felkar and Mike Burge
Thursday May 17: A lady on the hike from Cape May was pleased to see a MOURNING WARBLER that popped out of the bushes. We also had CAPE MAY, CANADA and lots of BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS. We had good looks at most of the early warblers, plus SCARLET TANAGER, INDIGO BUNTINGS, WOOD THRUSH, VIREOS and FLYCATCHERS.
Scarlet Tanager. Photo© Bruce Parker
Report by Peter Fuller
Monday May 21: It wasn't too busy with birds but there were many BLACKPOLL WARBLERS in addition to some BLACKBURNIAN, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, MAGNOLIA, CHESTNUT-SIDED, YELLOW WARBLERS- also N. PARULA, REDSTARTS, and a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. Lots of GRAY CATBIRDS and TOWHEES. OLIVE-SIDED, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS and RED-EYED VIREOS in the woods; along the cliffs, COMMON MERGANSERS, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS and KINGFISHER. One LINCOLN'S SPARROW across the road. Giant Swallowtail butterflies entertained us during the walk.
Blackpoll Warbler. Photo© Bruce Parker
Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. Photo© Bruce Parker
Banding Demonstrations at the Observatory
Visitors to the Observatory were able to watch the banding process. Photo© Bruce Parker
Annual PEPtBO AGM in Picton
An appreciative audience joined guest speaker Geoff Carpentier as he took them on a tour to the exotic Falklands Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. Geoff spoke about his adventures with penguins, whales, seals and seabirds as he shared his intimate knowledge of this remote part of the world.
Photo © Judy Kent
Outgoing President Rosemary Kent presented this year's volunteer Certificate of Appreciation to PEPtBO co- founding member Eric Machell. In 1995, when Brian Joyce sent out a call for an experienced, licensed bander who would be willing to work with him in setting up a banding station at a very remote location in Prince Edward County, Eric responded. From 1995 to 2000 he spent six or seven weeks every spring at Prince Edward Point setting up and running the station (sometimes single-handedly), training volunteers, collecting and recording data – all in very primitive and less-than-ideal circumstances. Eric has been on the Board of Directors (as President, Vice-president and Past President) since its inception and has played a significant role in determining the strategic goals and initiatives of PEPtBO as it has grown over the years.
Rosemary Kent presents Eric Machell with this year's Certificate of Appreciation. Photo© Judy Kent
PEPtBO's 2012 Bird Photography Contest
Fifteen submissions were received for PEPtBO's 2012 Bird Photography Contest. The entries were judged by the members and guests at the AGM held Saturday May 26 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Picton, Ontario. Results are as follows:
1st Prize - Tie
Bohemian Waxings in Nest by Kathy Fleming
LeConte Sparrow by Kyle Blaney
Bohemian Waxings in Nest by © Kathy Fleming
LeConte Sparrow by © Kyle Blaney
Barred Owl by Judy Kent
Barred Owl by © Judy Kent
3rd Prize - Tie
American Bittern by Audrey Bonter
Chestnut-sided Warbler by Judy Kent
American Bittern by © Audrey Bonter
Chestnut-sided Warbler by © Judy Kent
2011 PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY SPRING BIRDING FESTIVAL
A busy schedule of events brought out a number of enthusiasts to this year's annual Spring Birding Festival.
Guided Bird Hikes at Point Traverse May 14th to May 22nd
Always popular, the Daily guided walks in the Point Traverse Woods (.5 km north of the Observatory) brought out birders in sometimes challenging spring weather conditions. The walks focused on songbird migrants including up to 30 species of warblers. The walks were guided by Terry Sprague, Rosemary Smith and Peter Fuller.
Cape May Warbler, Point Traverse Woods. Photo© Bruce Parker.
To read a summary of the birds that were seen on Terry's Point Traverse hikes click on the PDF link below.
Bird Banding Demonstrations at the Observatory
Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory continues to demonstrate its valued contribution as a full-time migration monitoring station with large numbers of birds banded, significant foreign recoveries, and other observations. The main focus of the Observatory is the banding and observation of Neotropical migrants. This is complemented with a significant Northern Saw-whet Owl banding program in October.
Bander-in-charge David Okines showed visitors how birds are banded. Photo© Gail Foster.
The Canadian Migration Monitoring Network (CMMN) was started in 1996; PEPTBO became a provisional member in 1997 and a full member in 1999. Currently there are 26 full members collecting standardized sets of data across Canada. The data that PEPTBO collects is analyzed by Bird Studies Canada and species trends are produced.
Former PEPtBO President Brian Joyce explained the importance of bird banding. Photo© Bruce Parker.
Visitors were able to observe the entire banding process from capture to release.
PEPtBO Board Member Mike Parry showed visitors how migrating birds were extracted from nets.
Photo© Gail Foster.
Indigo Bunting, banded and ready for release. Photo© Gail Foster.
Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory Spring Bird Count and Baillie Birdathon
Every May birders and their supporters across Canada participate in this 24-hour fund raising challenge. Through the efforts of our local paticipants the “Baillie” annually contributes about 30% of the funds needed to run the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory.
Northern Parula, Prince Edward Point. Photo© Bruce Parker.
This year we had 31 participants registered for our Prince Edward County Spring Bird Count, a part of the Baillie Birdathon. The total number of species seen was 172. As usual the Laphroaig Vultures saw the most species. The team was composed of “seasoned” birders led by David Okines with Eric Machell, Andrew Cadman and Gerry Phillips. Sprague’s Pipets were close seconds, as usual. This year Terry Sprague led Borys Halowacz, Kathy Felkar and Mike Burge. We were pleased to have some new “birdathoners” this year and the award for the most enthusiastic new birder was presented to Mike Parry.
Guest birders for 2011 were John Brett from the Wellington Rotary and Bob Bird from the Picton Rotary. John won their friendly competition for most money raised. Both Bob and John joined the Freycatchers led by Cheryl Anderson. The Freycatchers and the Pipits were tied for most money raised by a team. After eliminating “certain individuals” from the running, Nancy Fox won the award for most money raised by an individual. Bird Studies Canada initiated an online sponsorship system this year. While not everyone used the system, in general, it was easy to use and allowed participants to increase their donations. We applaud this innovation. At this writing the PEPtBO teams have raised over $12,000.
.... Cheryl Anderson
Orange-crowned Warbler, Prince Edward Point. Photo© Bruce Parker.
To read some of the reports from this year's Birdathon teams click on the PDF links below.
PEPtBO 2011 Annual General Meeting & Baillie Birdathon Wrap-up Dinner
Terry Sprague and Myrna Wood with PEPtBO Rosemary Kent. Photo© Cheryl Anderson.
Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory gave special honours to two long time volunteers at the Observatory’s AGM on Saturday May 28. Myrna Wood and Terry Sprague were fêted by the Observatory’s President, Rosemary Kent and Vice –president, Cheryl Anderson. Both Myrna and Terry served on the first Board of Directors of the Observatory. They were also instrumental in starting the annual Spring Birding Festival. Terry continues to lead Birding hikes every May during the Festival. Myrna is involved in saving valuable birding habitat from industrial development.
Myrna’s citation, read by Cheryl finished: “Myrna is a woman who never gives up. She thinks through problems and finds a way to get to the best solution. Her long experience in activism has made her a valuable member of our community. We are delighted to honour her with this Certificate of Appreciation from PEPtBO.”
Rosemary read Terry’s citation which began: “Where does one begin to acknowledge the extraordinary contributions that Terry Sprague has made to and for “all things natural in the County”? Terry has dedicated both his working life and his “life-in-retirement” to increasing people’s appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the natural world. For over fifteen years, he has also given generously of his time and expertise to PEPtBO.”
The PEPtBO community extends congratulations to these two dedicated volunteers.