This year we need your pledge to help the following organizations that the Beckham Bird Club Board selected as recipients of grants from the 2017 BBC Birdathon. You will be contacted either by email or a phone call so please say YES. Just make a pledge of a set sum or an amount for every bird that is counted on birdathon day by the person you sponsor. After birdathon day you will receive an account of the day and information about where to send your pledge.
The following are the recipients of the 2017 BBC Birdathon:
ORGANIZATION - PLAN FOR GRANT
Creasy Mahan - To purchase an “interactive Document Camera” to allow students close views of items like feathers, eggs, nests etc. without passing them around.
KY State Nature Preserves Commission - For active management of grasslands at Eastview Barrens SNP.
KY Natural Lands Trust - For land acquisition in the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor.
Raptor Rehabilitation of KY, Inc. - To present 10 educational programs to schools
KY Resources Council - To support work on environmental & energy policy
KY Conservation Committee - For land protection funding education & KY biodiversity education projects.
Jefferson Memorial Forest - For educational programs and to replace invasive with native plants on one acre.
Louisville Nature Center - To provide educational programs on-site & off-site & general overhead costs.
The Mary E. Wharton Nature Sanctuary at Floracliff, Inc. - To aid in campaign to purchase 60 acres to fully protect the last quarter mile of Elk Lick Creek as well as forest land along the KY River Palisades, an important corridor for migratory birds.
2017 Birdathon Results
2017 BBC BIRDATHON May 7
Dawn was barely breaking when we arrive at the hinterlands of Bernheim Forest. What a great word – hinterlands! It means a region remote from urban areas according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. But whatever we are in no man’s land. The temperature was a shivering cold 34 degrees. The 2017 birdathon was underway! Now you are wondering, “What in the world are those two women up to this year?” We have come to find two birds that have never been added to our list before. Making our way down the road we soon hear Chuck-will’s Widow and see and hear one Whip-poor-will. Yes, we are off to a great start to what would prove just a fabulous day of birding. Bird song fills the air and we are quickly ticking off Kentucky Warbler (Wow! So pretty!), Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat serenading us with its bizarre series of hoots, whistles, and clucks, Wood Thrush, White-eyed Vireo and even a faraway Great Horned Owl. Plus, oh, so many more. You know what? We’re oblivious to the cold. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Have you heard of “warbler neck?” It’s a malady that affects so many of us birdwatchers. Most of our fantastic (there is no other word for this group of birds) little warblers are way high up in the trees and we have to crane our necks to see them. So it is with the Blue-winged Warbler that led us a merry chase until we all found it. We were so pleased to find a pair of Cerulean Warblers that hopefully are nesting here. We really weren’t expecting to find this species so that was really special.
Now hang on to your hats! You won’t believe it, but by 7:30 our count was at 43 birds and by 10:15 we were up to 86 birds. By this time we are close to starving to death. Those bowls of cereal that we had for breakfast have served their purpose a long time ago. All our food is in our car and we are in Brainard’s vehicle. Finally someone asks if we want some M&M candies. Does a drowning man want water? Chocolate always seems to give you an extra boost. So after eating a small handful we’re back on task. Beautiful Scarlet Tanagers just light up the forest. Stopping by the prairie grasslands a Bobwhite was calling and a beautiful little Prairie Warbler was right at home. Throughout our time at Bernheim Forest we are adding another woodpecker here, another flycatcher there. Vireos came into view as well as thrushes. It was great to see Swainson’s and Gray-cheeked Thrushes, and the splendid warm cinnamon brown Veery all back in Kentucky for a short time. What is your favorite Vireo? I vacillate among several species. The song of the White-eyed is so distinctive and easy to recognize, the Warbling Vireo has the sweetest face and the Philly has a beautiful yellow breast. Any way we saw a lot of these birds. Grosbeaks also made their appearance known. And, oh, did I mention that we found 27 species of warblers in the Forest! So very, very special!
It was hard, but we finally break away from Bernheim with 104 species tucked into our belt (What a crazy saying! But we’re sure that you know what we mean.). We head for Melco. Due to the heavy rains that have plagued our city water is high and we find few wading birds. But a majestic Bald Eagle was flying overhead and we laughed to see it being harassed by of all things a Red-winged Blackbird. Guess that eagle was too close to its nest. We added a few new birds to our list there and then proceeded on to Trackside Training Center off Poplar Level Road. No, we didn’t go there to race around the track. There is a small pond there that attracts shorebirds. During the Jefferson County Big Year in 2015 what should appear but two of the neatest shorebirds ever – Avocet and Black-necked Stilt. The Stilt was a new bird for the county. We added two great birds to our list there: Stilt Sandpiper and Semipalmated Plover.
Now hang in there we still have a few more stops to tell you about. We birded along the river adding Ring-billed Gull and Black-crowned Night-Heron. Every year the River is always too high for good birding and, drat (You were waiting for me to use that word, weren’t you?), it was true again this year.
Next we drive to Cherokee Park, where things are dead as a doornail. Guess there isn’t much life in a doornail. We were looking for a Prothonotary Warbler, but none could be found. So we travel to Brainard’s farm where we find Bobolinks. Wasn’t that just too super? It’s getting late and we are so tired. But, are you sitting down? We are now at 128 species and we are addicted to birding. We want just two more species. Putney Pond gives us a Kingfisher and Hays Kennedy a Great Egret. WE DID IT – 130 SPECIES!!!!!!!!!!!! The most ever. How did we do it? With the help of Brainard Palmer-Ball. Brainard accompanied us on our all day birdathon and was invaluable. He can identify every bird along with its song and chip notes. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Brainard for his help.
So our day comes to an end! It is after 7 in the evening and even our bones are tired of being tired.
It was a marvelous day. How we wish you could have been there with us. We are so grateful to God our Creator for the beauty of His world and the wonders of life that live here. Again thank you so much for sponsoring us this year.