Date: 5/23/19 6:28 am
From: Carl Schwartz <cschwartz3...>
Subject: [wisb] Cutright's Old Coots - a report and plea about our Great Wisconsin Birdathon Big Day
It's not too late to help us make our Bird Protection Fund goal of $13,000:
https://wibirdathon.dojiggy.com/ng/index.cfm/18592/regPages/pledge/cutrightsoldcoots



Cutright's Old Coots Big Day (May 16, 2019): 168 species
In Year 8, a record for Coots and predecessor Ancient Murrelets as they scour Ozaukee, Fond du Lac and Dodge Counties to raise conservation funding for the Great Wisconsin Birdathon

For those of who look for omens, the Barred Owl who was calling even as we gathered just before 3 a.m. in the driveway of painter and birder Tom Uttech's Saukville-area farm was a good one. Even better was the much rarer Long-eared Owl who called for us repeatedly several miles away along the Milwaukee River.

We would hear several other birds in the predawn darkness (Marsh Wren and Swamp Sparrow but no Eastern Whip-poor-will this year) before we'd be able to check off the other two owls we were seeking -- an Eastern Screech Owl at the Riveredge Nature Center and a Great Horned Owl along Knollwood Rd. - and with the addition of Tree Swallow, Gray Catbird and Red-Winged Blackbird we were at 9 species before 4 a.m. with sunrise still 87 minutes away.

We would spend all of those predawn minutes and then some working the roadsides in the area of the Cedarburg Bog and its adjacent Upland Woods before moving back over to the west end of Riveredge and then on to Hawthorne Hills County Park, which like Riveredge lies along the Milwaukee River. We made some targeted stops for Pine Warbler in a pine plantation and Bank Swallow at a repurposed gravel quarry, but our general strategy was pretty simple: keep moving in a variety of habitats with our eyes and ears wide open.

The list would reach 30 by 5 a.m. and 75 by 7 .a.m. By the time we left Hawthorne Hills around 8 a.m. we had recorded 90 species - but it was clear we were about to get wet. real wet if we birded on foot. So we opted for some alternatives, birding from Tom's studio windows for a bit (3 new sparrows and a hummingbird), made a dash down County I to find the nesting Osprey and birded Waubedonia Park (again along the Milwaukee) by car, watching a slew of warblers dance around a downed tree in the water and catching sight of 4 Hooded Mergansers and a Green Heron under another downed tree on the opposite side of the river.

When it really poured we camped out in a picnic shelter and watched warblers forced lower in the trees by the rain. Park total: 27 species, and by 9:15 a.m. our list had crept past the century mark. This was at least 90 minutes ahead of the previous year's pace when we ran a similar route on May 17. We felt inspired by the generosity of our many donors, knowing that our effort was going to be of significant support to the Bird Protection Fund. And we knew that a good start boded well for meeting several challenge gifts pegged to us beating last year's total of 156 species; but would we be able to meet one donor's second stipulation: more birds in fewer miles traveled? Only time would tell.. but we'd need to do both if we stood a chance of meeting our $13,000 goal.

So on a Big Day you can't just sit all day so the five of us climbed back in our minivan and resumed our roadside search, targeting spots we were familiar with for Eurasian Collared Dove and Sora and Virginia Rails, as well as what has been the best shorebird pond in Ozaukee County at Hawthorne Rd. CR-KK. The latter yield 8 shorebird species and two herons. In each case our scouting paid off, and by now the rain had moved out to the south and would not bother us again all day despite an iffy forecast.

Missing from this area of the county (along was much of its former grasslands) are birds that used to nest there like Upland Sandpiper, Western Meadowlark, Gray Partridge and Loggerhead Shrike.

By now it was getting harder and harder to record new species as we reached Harrington Beach State Park at noon (22 species and a previously-missed Brown Thrasher) and Forest Beach Migratory Preserve (27 species with Bald Eagle, Cooper's Hawk and Eastern Kingbird) at 12:30 before we headed into Port Washington to scan the harbor and record 5 gull species and more than 1,000 Common Terns (a highlight) along with a pair of nesting Peregrines.

Missing from our waterfowl list, however, were the Surf and White-winged Scoters, Green-winged Teal, Lesser and Greater Scaup and Bufflehead we recorded last year, as well as Glaucous and Great Black-backed Gulls.

Leaving Port Washington (and Ozaukee County) our list stood at 137 (compared with 132 at a similar point last year). We were now on a beeline for the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest, Mauthe Lake and Halthauser Rd. We would however, record three new species en route: our 6th swallow of the day (Cliff) nesting under a bridge, a Warbling Vireo we happened to hear as we befriended a giant Snapping Turtle by escorting him the rest of the way across a busy highway, and Red-headed Woodpecker, tipped to us by a member of the Noel J. Cutright Bird Club who had found them at Lizard Mound County Park while doing field work for the 2nd Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas.

Our visit to NKMSF was the most successful in years, enabling us to add Broad-wing and Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Harrier, Hooded Warbler, Scarlet Tanager and both Alder and Acadian Flycatcher. But by the time we were ready to head for our final major birding area of the day it already was past 4:15 p.m. It would be almost an hour before we could reach Highway 49 and the northern end of the Horicon Marsh. This was 90 minutes later than last year. Had we left ourselves enough time to do this magnificent IBA and Ramsar Wetland Site justice?

Hard to know the answer for sure, but we would add 22 additional species at Horicon (compared with 24 last year), including Trumpeter Swan, American Bittern, American White Pelican, American Coot, Common Gallinule, Yellow-headed Blackbird, 4 new ducks, 2 new terns and 8 additional shorebird species including both godwits and a dozen Black-bellied Plovers. The final bird of the day: Black-crowned Night-Herons gliding across the marsh at dusk.



Cutright's Old Coots Big Day
(May 16, 2019): 168 species

(BOLD: not seen in 2018)



Canada Goose

Trumpeter Swan

Wood Duck

Blue-winged Teal

Northern Shoveler

Gadwall

Mallard

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Redhead

Hooded Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

Ruddy Duck

Ring-necked Pheasant

Wild Turkey

Pied-billed Grebe

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Mourning Dove

Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Virginia Rail

Sora

Common Gallinule

American Coot

Sandhill Crane

Black-bellied Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Killdeer

Hudsonian Godwit

Marbled Godwit

Ruddy Turnstone

Dunlin

Baird's Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Short-billed Dowitcher

American Woodcock

Spotted Sandpiper

Lesser Yellowlegs

Wilson's Phalarope

Bonaparte's Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Iceland Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Caspian Tern

Black Tern

Common Tern

Forster's Tern

Double-crested Cormorant

American White Pelican

American Bittern

Least Bittern

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Green Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Turkey Vulture

Osprey

Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Cooper's Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Eastern Screech-Owl

Great Horned Owl

Barred Owl

Long-eared Owl

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Peregrine Falcon

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Acadian Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Eastern Phoebe

Great Crested Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

Yellow-throated Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Horned Lark

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

N. Rough-winged Swallow

Bank Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Barn Swallow

Black-capped Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Red-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

House Wren

Winter Wren

Sedge Wren

Marsh Wren

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Eastern Bluebird

Veery

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Swainson's Thrush

Wood Thrush

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Brown Thrasher

European Starling

House Sparrow

House Finch

American Goldfinch

Eastern Towhee

Chipping Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Henslow's Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Bobolink

Eastern Meadowlark

Baltimore Oriole

Red-winged Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brewer's Blackbird
Common Grackle

Ovenbird

Northern Waterthrush

Blue-winged Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Hooded Warbler

American Redstart

Cape May Warbler

Northern Parula

Magnolia Warbler

Bay-breasted warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Palm Warbler

Pine Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Canada Warbler

Scarlet Tanager

Northern Cardinal

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting



Seen in '18 but missed in '19

Mute Swan

Greater Scaup

Lesser Scaup

White-winged Scoter

Surf Scoter

Bufflehead

Eastern Whip-poor-will

Black-necked Stilt

Long-billed Dowitcher

Solitary Sandpiper

Glaucous Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Willow Flycatcher

Blue-headed Vireo

Vesper Sparrow

Golden-winged Warbler

Wilson's Warbler





Carl Schwartz
Milwaukee County
414-416-3272
<cschwartz3...>

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