Birds Aren’t Real, the Myers family team consisting of Scarlett, Jessie and Michael decided to conduct an impromptu Birdathon during the April 29-30 weekend despite the rainy weather forecast. Since the family is heading out for vacation for much of the Birdathon window, and Michael will be going out with the Fully-palmated Birders on May 6 to 7, there was a limited opportunity for the Birds Aren’t Real team.
On Saturday morning, we made the call to take advantage of our limited time and stayed within walking distance of our home. With Scarlett birding by little red wagon, we headed to the former Westpark Golf Course in Leesburg. At times it was heavily misting, but the birds were abundant. There were many of the common species one would expect to see such as American Robins, Blue Jays, Common Grackles and American Goldfinches, and we had some great highlights too. A Sharp-shinned Hawk took off and started circling directly above us at one point. We spied a female Pileated Woodpecker poking her head out of the nest hole, and we spotted a Red-shouldered Hawk sitting on its nest as well.
One of the highlights for Scarlett is when we stopped to try to identify a warbler singing in the trees using the Merlin Bird ID app. Using a directional microphone, we were able to verify that an American Redstart was singing. While Scarlett was impressed with the app identifying the bird songs, she was more excited about all of the little bird pictures that pop up when the app recognizes different species.
After winding through the old golf cart paths and recording a solid 43 species, we headed to Meadowbrook Farm Ponds to see if we could add a few more species before going home for lunch. As we approached the ponds, a Green Heron and Tree Swallow flew right by us, and we took that as a good sign of more new birds to come. Once we got to the ponds, we quickly observed a Spotted Sandpiper on the shoreline and a Ruddy Duck swimming in the pond. As we circled the short loop, we noticed a Greater Yellowlegs also patrolling the shoreline and a pair of Blue-winged Teal swam out from the edge of the pond. We added nine new species for a total of 52 for the morning.
We headed to the playground to unwind before lunch. After a long post-lunch nap, we decided not to go out again in the early evening. On Sunday it rained all day, and we decided to stay dry at home. It was a short Birdathon for Birds Aren’t Real in 2023, but we enjoyed some quality time birding together.
Read about the adventures of the other teams on the 2023 Birdathon Team Summaries page.