Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy president, Nicole Hamilton, is known for her extraordinary vision and her dedication to fostering events that invite, have purpose, and put a spotlight on wildlife…but did you know that she ALSO participates in many of these events? An avid birder, Nicole and her team of birders (the Raucous Robins) enthusiastically competed in this year’s IMBD Birdathon. She tells us all about it in the following article.
I will warn you…this read has the potential to spark binocular purchases and Bird Walk sign-ups.
So now, we give you Nicole Hamilton and the “Raucous Robins” IMBD REPORT!
Wow time really flew since our team went out for our big IMBD Birdathon day! We want to thank all those who supported our team, and widely share a short summary of our 12.5 hour day. In all we saw 90 species (the full list is below)!
Thank you all for rooting us on and showing your support both for our team and the work of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy! It really means a lot to us all! Attached are a few photos from the day as well — birds, glorious birds, and a sweet fox that was camera shy!
Raucous Robins Birdathon 2014!
May 3, 2014, 7:00 am to 7:30 pm
Team members: Joanne Bradbury, Mike Friedman, Tess McAllister and Nicole Hamilton
We started out the day at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship at 7am in order to make sure we got the warblers and vireos at their most active time. We weren’t disappointed. The birds were down low for most of the morning and were singing away. Gnats and Blue-gray gnatcatchers were a plenty. Northern Parulas were calling so heavily it seemed like they were everywhere!
As we got to the confluence of Piney Run and Sweet run we knew we needed to get a LA Waterthrush but before crossing the bridge we were delighted by a Kentucky Warbler at eye level singing and foraging. Then we crossed the stream and decided, “We’ll just go see for a minute and then we’ll turn back.” Well as we stood on the other side, we had an incredible showing of birds! Veery, American Redstart, Scarlet Tanager, Black-and-white Warbler, Wood Thrush and Black-throated Blue warbler! They were beautiful! We never did get a water thrush during the day but what great views of these other birds.
Another highlight were views of a Barred Owl that seemed to be curious about what we were up to. We had just finished identifying a bird when Joanne looked up and said — “an Owl!” It preened and cleaned its feet before taking off.
From the Blue Ridge Center, we went to the Dulles Wetland, Banshee Reeks and then to the Reservoir. This was the tough part of the day when the birds have quieted down. We really worked for each species, but ticked off Wood Ducks, Horned Grebe, Bald eagle, Osprey and even a Red-shouldered Hawk on a nest.
For the last part of our day, we visited the Broadlands Wetlands where we had Baltimore and Orchard Orioles (plus nest building), Green Heron, and peeps (Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper).
By this point it was getting harder to tick off new species, and there were some glaring omissions of common birds that we rather needed. So we headed to Bles Park and had a lovely walk and a temporary drizzle. Here we thankfully added the Indigo Bunting, but that was the only new species.
We were at 89 species and the team was determined to at least hit 90. One of the misses of the day to that point was a Red-tailed Hawk, and we all agreed that we couldn’t go home having missed that…so we scanned the power lines as we drove Rte. 7 and there she was….”Hawk on wire,” I called out…but it was on the other side of the road up an exit ramp. Do we turn back? Yes! Tess made the u-turn and off we went. There she was — species #90 for the day!
We had a great day and were so thankful to have all of you rooting us on through your pledges and sponsorships! We look forward to next year and going beyond 90!
Here is a full list of the 90 species that we tallied for the day:
- Canada Goose
- Wood Duck
- Common Merganser
- Horned Grebe
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Great Blue Heron
- Green Heron
- Black Vulture
23.Great Horned Owl
31.Great Crested Flycatcher
42.Northern Rough-winged Swallow
64.Black-throated Blue Warbler