Monday, 28 May 2012

Carden Challenge 2012

I participated in my second Carden Challenge this past weekend with our team the "Lagerheads", made up of myself, my brother Matt, Gregor Beck, Biz Agnew, and Steven Price. For those that don't know, the Carden Challenge is a 24 hour birding competition / fundraiser that raises money for land preservation in the Carden area. For the second year in a row we finished second - this year with 128 species. This was a personal best for our team and hopefully we can break the 130 mark next year.

Just like the Jamaica wedding that interrupted my May birding pursuits, this weekend was also interrupted by a wedding. My brother and I could only participate up until about 12:30 Saturday before racing back to Port Dover for our cousins wedding! We left at about 121 species, leaving our teammates about 5.5 hours to mop up some missing species.  They did great to add another 7 and I doubt we could have added much more even if we were able to stay til the end.

This year we were able to do quite well with waterfowl and shorebirds but missed some forest birds and other common birds. For example we found tough birds like Black-bellied Plover, Dunlin and Green-winged Teal, but dipped on Sandhill Crane, Common Tern, and Caspian Tern! Those latter three species were all easily found on Friday before the official counting began, but we were snake bit when it mattered. This is the way of 24-hour birding competitions.

 Upland Sandipipers are a fan favourite up on the Carden. Hard to find in much of Southern Ontario they are fairly easy to find on the Carden Alvar.

 This family of Sandhill Cranes was a neat find on Friday (before the count start at 6:00pm), but were nowhere to be found on Saturday when we tried to relocate them.

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