Bucktoe Bird Blitz

By Joe Sebastiani, Seasonal Program Team Leader

The 2nd-annual Bucktoe Bird Blitz took place last Sunday at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve near Kennett Square, PA.  The Blitz is an all-day event where we try to find as many bird species as possible on the property in a day.  In 2009, birders found 78 species.  This year I had a feeling we would break 100, especially if there were a lot of migrants in the area.

Walks were held at 6:00 am, 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm and were led by Larry Lewis, Holly Merker, Sally O’Byrne, Carol Majors, and me.  A catered lunch was provided at noon.  About 100 birders attended the event.

Almost 100 birders attended the Bucktoe Bird Blitz on May 16, 2010. Photo by Ron Sinclair.

At 9:00 am, I was still out of town, on my way to the Blitz.  I received a phone call from Preserve Director, William Ryan.  He said, “All h*ll is breaking loose!  We’ve already seen an Olive-sided Flycatcher and a Least Flycatcher, and both are singing!”  He went on to say that more than 15 species of warblers had also been found.  My belief that more than 100 species could be tallied was firmed up.

A Least Flycatcher sings its short song, "Che-bek!" to the delight of many birders at the Bucktoe Bird Blitz. Photo by Holly Merker.
Olive-sided Flycatcher is always a great find. This bird was singing its "Quick-three-beers!" song, which is not often heard. Photo by Holly Merker.

My walk began at 4:00 pm.  At that point, 98 species had been found.  No pressure here!  Birds that were still M.I.A. at that point included a few attainable species like Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Fish Crow, Double-crested Cormorant, Kentucky Warbler and Great Horned Owl.  Most of the other species were pretty rare.

It was a good thing I had some excellent birders with me.  With the help of the group, we came up with a Northern Rough-winged Swallow winging overhead and calling.  Next, Holly Merker heard and spotted a perched Lincoln’s Sparrow, which is hard to find locally in spring migration.  We were at 100 species!  Sharp-shinned Hawk and Yellow-billed Cuckoo put us at 102, then a late-day search party added Kentucky Warbler and Great Horned Owl. 

A surprise fly-by at the end of the day was a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Photo by Joe Sebastiani.

This event really shows the diversity of birds on the 300-acre Bucktoe Creek Preserve, as well as the local interest in birding.  Look for this event next May, and join us to try and break 104 species!  The list from this year’s event is below:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Common Loon
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Screech-Owl
Great Horned Owl
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Swainson’s Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson’s Warbler
Canada Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

2 thoughts on “Bucktoe Bird Blitz”

  1. Sounds like a great event and very impressive attendance and species count, especially like the Olive-sided Flycatcher! Wish I was in town to attend!


  2. It was a lovely day for a wonderful event – I will have to come out again soon. Thanks to all those who helped the (relative) newbies like me to get so much from the experience.


Leave a Reply