Friday, May 29, 2015

Indiana Big Day for Amos Butler Audubon Birdathon

Rob writes: Last Friday, my Wild Birds Unlimited Birdathon team and I completed our annual big day in Indiana to raise funds for the Amos Butler Audubon Birdathon. I've participated in the Birdathon for many years and am always amazed at the conservation projects that are funded by this incredible event. Each of the past 2 years, this event has raised over $35,000 for conservation projects both in Indiana and around the world. One of the projects that I'm always most excited about is the Cerulean Warbler Reserve in Columbia. The birdathon has been donating to this cause for a long time and has made a major impact on American Bird Conservancy's ability to purchase this property.

Our team (R-L - John Schaust, Brian Cunningham, Rob Ripma, Amy Hodson
Our team was a bit different this year with Eric and Landon both being away doing field work. We added Amy Hodson to the team this time around and she fit right in! We were also forced to do our big day later than we ever have on May 22. While we couldn't scout as much as we did last year for our record count (184) we know the route well and were confident that we could post another good number.

We started at Kingsbury FWA in Northwest Indiana in the middle of the night and got off to another quick start. by the time we left the area around 4 am, we already had nearly 25 species including a very surprising King Rail! We kept up our momentum as we crossed the Lake Michigan shoreline from east to west. Kankakee Sands and Willow Slough FWA were fantastic as always and Willow Slough produced a surprising Common Loon.

At this point, we had a decision to make. Due to the late date, we had missed some of the early migrants and our warbler total was not nearly as high as we needed to break out total from 2014. Since this was the case, we decided to modify our route and not push ourselves to make it all the way to Goose Pond FWA again this year.

After a few stops, we ended our day at a newly discovered shorebird spot in Noblesville. This was a fantastic decision and helped us add 8 species to our count including great looks at 3 Red-necked Phalaropes!

Our total of 164 for the day was enough to win the high count award of the Birdathon! We are still accepting donations for our team to support the wonderful work that is done through this event. You can donate by following this link. Thanks to everyone that has donated and we all look forward to doing another big day in 2016!

No comments: