Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birdathon: Part One

I counted birds for the 2011 Beckham Bird Club Birdathon this weekend and found a total of 69 species in two days.  I planned on doing it all on Saturday the 14th but the weather was looking grim and indeed it was, so I supplemented Saturday's count by counting birds at the landfill on Friday.  My goal was to get some good pictures and video to share and I think you will enjoy what I found.

First a little about the Beckham Bird Club Birdathon.  The Birdathon is a competition held every year with the goal of raising money for bird conservation, habitat, and education.  Last year the Birdathon raised around $14,000 for groups such as Raptor Rehab, Kentucky Natural Lands Trust, and Louisville Nature Center just to name a few.

So let's begin on Friday.  In this post I will focus on the birds I saw Friday at the landfill and tomorrow's post will focus on the birds I saw at Floyds Fork Park, McNeely Lake, and my parent's house.  There are a lot of good birds at the landfill and they were certainly out Friday night.  A few common birds (at the landfill anyway) are below:


Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow

Blue Grosbeak

There are always several Yellow Warblers singing along the wet ditches at the landfill.  A lot of warblers have some yellow on them, but the Yellow Warbler is completely so, only showing some red streaking on the breast and sides in males.  The bottom picture is unfortunately out of focus, but you can see the bird is carrying something big and white in its beak and it is a clue that the bird has a nest of chicks nearby.  What the bird is carrying is a fecal sac.  When the chicks poop the adults must clean it out of the nest.  They gather it all up in their beaks and carry it far away from the nest so as not to attract predators.

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

The light was really nice Friday as you can see in the pictures below.

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

Gray Catbird
Gray Catbird

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Right before I left I decided to go down a gravel road that runs along a swampy area on the landfill.  I'm glad I did because I got to see a neat interaction between two species of birds.  I came across an immature Orchard Oriole taking a bath in a puddle in the middle of the road.  He was really going at it, splashing around like a kid in a pool.  He was so oblivious to everything else that he let me stand right next to him and take several pictures. 

Orchard Oriole

Maybe next time he shouldn't be so caught up in his bath because all of a sudden another bird dropped down out of the trees and attacked him.  The little oriole was caught unaware and desperately tried to escape as fast as his little wet wings would let him.

Orchard Oriole

Strangely enough the other bird was an immature Summer Tanager.  Adult males are entirely red, but this bird has mottling of green and yellow as well.  I think he may have mistaken the Orchard Oriole for another tanager because after he pecked at him a few times he just sat there and looked a bit puzzled, almost as if he was embarrassed for having made a mistake.

Summer Tanager

All in all it was a good day and I came away with some great pictures (and video) to share.  I didn't break it down how many birds were seen each day but the total across both days was 69.  I think I could have easily added 10-15 more species if the weather had not been so dreary last weekend.  All in all I am happy with what I saw and the pictures I was able to get.  Below is a list of all the species seen for both days.

Canada Goose    
Wood Duck    
Black Vulture    
Turkey Vulture    
Red-tailed Hawk    
American Kestrel    
Solitary Sandpiper    
Mourning Dove    
Chimney Swift    
Ruby-throated Hummingbird    
Belted Kingfisher    
Red-bellied Woodpecker    
Downy Woodpecker    
Hairy Woodpecker    
Northern Flicker    
Pileated Woodpecker    
Eastern Wood-Pewee    
Acadian Flycatcher    
Alder Flycatcher    
Willow Flycatcher    
Eastern Phoebe    
Great Crested Flycatcher    
Eastern Kingbird    
White-eyed Vireo    
Warbling Vireo     
Red-eyed Vireo    
Blue Jay    
American Crow     
Northern Rough-winged Swallow    
Barn Swallow    
Carolina Chickadee    
Tufted Titmouse    
Carolina Wren    
House Wren    
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher    
Eastern Bluebird    
Wood Thrush    
American Robin    
Gray Catbird    
Northern Mockingbird    
Brown Thrasher    
European Starling    
Cedar Waxwing    
Northern Parula   
Yellow Warbler    
Cape May Warbler    
Black-throated Green Warbler    
Prairie Warbler    
Common Yellowthroat    
Yellow-breasted Chat    
Eastern Towhee     
Field Sparrow    
Song Sparrow    
Summer Tanager    
Northern Cardinal     
Blue Grosbeak     
Indigo Bunting     
Red-winged Blackbird     
Eastern Meadowlark     
Common Grackle    
Brown-headed Cowbird     
Orchard Oriole    
Baltimore Oriole    
House Finch    
American Goldfinch     
House Sparrow

Tomorrow we will look at the birds seen at Floyds Fork Park, McNeely Lake, and my parent's house.  Stay tuned!


Amila said...

That's a handful of beautiful birds,so vivid colors,amazing!

Rezervesana said...

I am so glad i found your site. Fantastic photos - thank you!!

Ryan Ankeny said...

Thanks you both!

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