My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

T-Birds Birdathon

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler

On the 13th of May, team T-Bird went for our second year of participating in the Jamestown Audubon Birdathon (against other friends like Jen). Last year we were able to located 110 species within a 24 hour period and our goal this year was reaching just as many . . . . if not more birds than last year. Would we do it??

Sawmill Run
Birding along an old jeep trail.

We started early in the morning along the Allegheny River and was finding birdies fast! It was extra foggy so we focused our energy climbing the top of the hills for our higher elevation species like the Cerulean Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler and Yellow-throated Vireo. We were doing awesome and by 9am and had already located 69 species of birds! Yes the first 69 species came to us easily but this is the point when we need to work harder to add any more species to our list!

Cerulean Warbler
Cerulean Warbler

We spent late morning along the side of the river looking for the Kentucky Warbler (which we didn’t find) but was able to add a few species like the American Woodcock, Bank Swallow and Belted Kingfisher.

Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird

Heading out to another area along the Allegheny River we pass through some farm fields! We added species like the Bobolink, Turkey Vulture and Field Sparrow. We tried hard but was not successful in finding any Meadowlarks or Savannah Sparrows in those fields (although we possibly could have seen a Savannah but didn’t see it well enough to count it). Along the second part of the Allegheny we were able to add Great Blue Heron, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. It was noon and finally time to eat lunch ( we were now at 90 species)!

Northern-rough Winged Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow

After lunch we headed down to the Wolf Run area of Allegany State Park and spent 2+ hours hiking the whole Wolf Run road. In those 2 hours we only added the Olive-sided Flycatcher to the list and was the first bird we saw as we got out of our vehicle (figures)! The next few stops helped add some species like the Red-breasted Nuthatch, Acadian Flycatcher and Double-crested Cormorant. We searched the France Brook area for the Louisiana Waterthrush but we just couldn’t find any of these guys singing! 😦

American Redstart
Singing American Redstart

Red House Lake was very productive and we quickly added a Ruddy Duck, Chimney Swift and Pine Warbler to our checklist! It was 5pm and we were currently at 97 species!! We headed down into the swamp area in search for some migrants. Along the roadside we heard the calling of the kill deer kill deer making the Killdeer number 98. Suddenly we flushed another shorebird up! Solitary Sandpiper became species number 99! We wondered around for another 2 hours before hearing the “wheeeep”, “wheeep” of the Great-crested Flycatcher! It was almost 8pm and we could finally say that we found 100 species for the count! Yeah . . . both of us were starving since we skipped dinner for the birds!!

Yellow-throated Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo

With 13 hours of non-stop birding we located 100 species within a 24 hour period. I had 11 species that were first of the year birds for me (Scarlet Tanager, Veery, Cerulean Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Bank Swallow, Bobolink, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Acadian Flycatcher, Solitary Sandpiper and Great-crested Flycatcher). We also located 18 species of Warblers and 3 species of Vireo. We found that the birds we located for the birdathon were mainly local breeders and were missing many of the commonly found migrants that would be around this time of the year. We also had many expected locals that we were unable to locate like the Louisiana Waterthrush, both Cuckoos and many raptor species. If we had perfect migrant winds and these other commonly found locals located . . . . without a doubt we would have located over our last years 110 species!! We still had a great time with the birds that we ended up finding!

Scarlet Tanager
Scarlet Tanager


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32 responses

  1. BTW: You can use this link slide show to see some of the other pictures I captured doing the birdathon!

    21 May 2008 at 8:10 pm

  2. Wow, Tom- I checked your slide-show. FABULOUS!! I wanna be on the T-bird team!

    21 May 2008 at 8:20 pm

  3. Great photos of some wonderful birds that are hard to catch on film. I especially love the Redstart singing!

    21 May 2008 at 8:22 pm

  4. The chestnut warbler has the best combination of colors. All great photos!

    21 May 2008 at 8:53 pm

  5. The American Redstart is a lovely photo! I loved how he just threw his head back and sang with abandon =)

    21 May 2008 at 9:26 pm

  6. Congratulations! Great job! I have never found a Cerulean Warbler or an Acadian Flycatcher on my own but would like to try this year.-Nice photos too! Actually, Acadian Flycatcher would be a lifebird for me.

    21 May 2008 at 9:35 pm

  7. Wow, how I wish I knew enough to be able to be in a birdathon. That Redstart is just the funniest! He’s really going to town. This is a great post and I enjoyed reading about your 13 hours of birding.

    21 May 2008 at 9:46 pm

  8. I truly loved all of these photos! The Red Winged Blackbird shot is fabulous.
    And the picture of the American Redstart singing is so touching.
    ~Nita~

    21 May 2008 at 9:52 pm

  9. Lisa at Greenbow

    What a great day of birding. Your photos really captured the day with all the different birds. LOve the AmRe singing.

    21 May 2008 at 10:00 pm

  10. Spectactular photos as usual ! Thanks so much for sharing.

    21 May 2008 at 10:00 pm

  11. 100 is a nice round number for a birdathon. I don’t think I saw any raptor species at all the last time I participated in a big day.

    21 May 2008 at 10:39 pm

  12. Wow – what a birding day you had – and you have some great pictures to show for it, too. Love the redstart ( I can never get a nice shot of him)! The Chestnut-sided is another beauty! Congrats on your final count. Good birding!

    21 May 2008 at 11:02 pm

  13. @ Lynne – thanks and would love to have you on our team!
    @ Joan – they sure are hard to photograph at times! Most of these are way up into the trees!
    @ Shelley – thanks and the Chestnut is one of my fave of warblers!
    @ Rondi – thanks and catching it singing seemed to be the only chance I had with it sitting still!
    @ Larry – Thanks and we have both of them breeding in our woods! Actually in the right habitat the Acadian can easily be found!
    @ Linda – doesn’t take much to be involved in a birdathon . . . just get out and enjoy the birds that you do know!
    @ Nita – thanks and that blackbird did turn out good!
    @ Lisa – thanks and was fun day for sure! Just wished we had more migrants around!
    @ Becky – thanks you are too kind!
    @ john – thanks and it does make adding the 10cents or 20 cents per bird numbers! We did have a few species but not as many as we would have expected to find!
    @ Bird Girl – thanks and it was finding all them! I was very happy with my results that we had!

    21 May 2008 at 11:06 pm

  14. What a great day!

    22 May 2008 at 5:31 am

  15. Wow, what a day! I’d be dizzy with so many great sightings in one day. :c)

    22 May 2008 at 6:33 am

  16. Glad you had such a great time. From all that activity I take it you are feeling a bit better.

    22 May 2008 at 9:28 am

  17. TR

    I think I’ve never seen anything as lovely as a chestnut-sided warbler. I hope to add it to my life list someday. Beautiful shot.

    22 May 2008 at 9:42 am

  18. Awesome pics and fun time for sure!!

    I could look at Chestnut-sided Warblers over and over and never get tired of them 🙂

    22 May 2008 at 9:50 am

  19. The redstart photo is wonderful! Congrats on another good count. Looks like a very nice area.

    22 May 2008 at 9:56 am

  20. Excellent photos, and a fantastic list – sooo many of those would be lifers for me 🙂

    22 May 2008 at 11:19 am

  21. Kaz

    Scarlet Tanager…. we have THOSE here???? Okay, I GOTTA come your way again. No two ways about it. I have never seen one. Man, you find all the good ones hey!!!
    -Kaz

    22 May 2008 at 4:35 pm

  22. winterwoman

    Congratulations on a fine birdathon. The 100-or-bust team only got 84 species… so You WIN! Seriously, Audubon wins… thanks to the folks who pledge for our teams. Thanks to all participants and donors!

    22 May 2008 at 6:20 pm

  23. @ Threecollie – thanks
    @ Jayne – thanks and was hectic at times!
    @ Scienceguy – Thanks and we did this back on the 13th of May. Actually I had a tough night last night and called in sick today!
    @ TR – The Chestnut-sided Warbler is a fave of mine also!
    @ Birdfreak – thanks and I could never get tired of them also. Thanks
    @ Lana – thanks and I do love in a great area!
    @ Adam – thanks and I probably should have listed all the birds we found!
    @ Kaz – I have them in my woods! Yep! Let me know when you are in the area!
    @ Jen – SWEET! And this was a very tough year for sure! Tonight I am adding the butterflies that we saw on our big day! I just noticed yesterday you asked to join us! I am sorry that I didn’t get back to you on that!

    22 May 2008 at 7:00 pm

  24. Marg

    Wow congrats on doing so well you guys-loved the slideshow-don’t know if the singing redstart or that Redwing-he’s pretty stunning!

    22 May 2008 at 8:38 pm

  25. Marg

    ooops meant to add was my fave in case you couldn’t figure that part out 😀

    22 May 2008 at 8:39 pm

  26. What a great day of birding! congratulations on your count.

    22 May 2008 at 9:32 pm

  27. Grace

    I looked at your photos on Flickr, but not the slide show yet. I’ll do that at work, now that our internet is back. Would take ages to load on dial-up.

    They are beautiful photos. Glad you and Tim did so well.

    22 May 2008 at 11:28 pm

  28. @ Marg – thanks and I should use flickr’s slide show more often. Thanks
    @ Jan m- thanks and was a great day for sure!
    @ Grace – thanks and I know exactly what you are talking about withthe internet. Thanks

    23 May 2008 at 7:22 am

  29. Bo

    I love the singing redstart’s pose. It’s a great “action” capture.

    23 May 2008 at 8:52 am

  30. Awesome pictures and story, Mon@rch. A long day, but definitely worth it to see so many birds!
    (The Scarlet Tanager picture took my breath away! I haven’t seen one of them for many years.)

    23 May 2008 at 10:40 am

  31. This post was really mind-blowing to me. It seems that I’m just going to have to break down and hook up with local birders so I can find sweet spots like the one you’ve talked of! And just having the gift of being able to hear a bird and know what it is (still working on that I think when I’m 80 or so I should be able to get it down!) Beautiful shots btw… once again really lovely.

    24 May 2008 at 5:39 pm

  32. @ Bo – thanks!
    @ Ruthie – thanks and we really enjoyed our time!
    @ aullori – for sure visit a local bird club! I learn the bird song by always studying the song! Following the bird down and learning the song! Thanks

    26 May 2008 at 12:24 am

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