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.
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.
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.
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:
|Great Blue Heron|
|Great Horned Owl|
|Great Crested Flycatcher|
|Northern Rough-winged Swallow|
|Cape May Warbler|
|Black-throated Blue Warbler|
|Black-throated Green Warbler|