Archaeopteryx Birdathon Team signals 148 species - Photo Tom Sheley
Archaeopteryx Birdathon Team signals 148 species - Photo Tom Sheley
Archaeopteryx Birdathon Team members signal their 148 species. LR: Donna Sheley, Darlene Sillick, Tom Sheley

The 2016 Birdathon has been weighed, measured, over-analyzed and second-guessed. Ticks have been picked and totals have been tallied.

Team: Archaeopteryx — Tom & Donna Sheley, Darlene Sillick

Total species: 148

Weather: Sunny to partly cloudy, 56 low to 65 high, wind 10-15 W-NW

Route & notables: 

5:30-6:15 Coonpath Wetlands: migrant passerines, Sora, Green Heron, ducks (4)

6:30-8:30 Clear Creek Valley: nesting and passing migrants, Hermit Thrush, Kingfisher, Black Vulture, Yellow-breasted Chat

8:45-9:30 Sheley cabin: Wild Turkey, Pine, Prairie, Kentucky warblers, Pine Siskins, Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Sandhill Cranes being mobbed by Rerd-winged Blackbirds at Kildeer Plains - Photo Tom Sheley
At Killdeer Plains WA, the Archaeopteryx team found Sandhill Cranes being mobbed by Rerd-winged Blackbirds – Photo Tom Sheley

10:15-11:00 Pickerington Ponds: Osprey, Ruddy Duck, Mute Swan, Barn Owl, Purple Martins, Orchard Orioles, Horned Lark, Least Flycatcher

Noon-12:30 Glacier Ridge Metro Park: Bobolinks, Grasshopper and Savannah Sparrows

1:15-2:00 Hoover Reservoir region: Cliff and Bank Swallows, Prothonotary warbler, gulls

Greater White-fronted Goose at Kildeer Plains WA 5.13.16 - Photo Tom Sheley
Greater White-fronted Goose found by the Archaeopteryx Birdathon Team at Kildeer Plains Wildlife Area, May 13, 2016 – Photo Tom Sheley

3:00-6:30 Kildeer Plains region: Common Tern, Greater White-fronted Goose, ducks (7), shorebirds (9), Purple Finch, Sandhill Cranes, Cedar Waxwing

7:15-9:15 Big Island region, American Bittern, Common Gallinule, Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren, Wilson’s Warbler, Common Nighthawk, ducks (9)

10:30-10:45 Columbus downtown: Peregrine Falcon

Conclusions: We had species unique to each habitat. Pickerington Ponds was least productive with only Least Flycatcher as the lone unique species. Shorebirds were in short supply everywhere while ducks were surprisingly productive with 12 species tallied. While we found all of the expected nesting migrant species in their appropriate habitats, the migrating species were in short supply leading to notable mosses in warblers, vireos and sparrows. Owls were an absolute enigma, and despite our best efforts tallied 0.

Notable misses: Shorebirds of many species, owls of any species, Black-capped Chickadee, Summer Tanager, Broad-winged Hawk, a few warbler species, Swainson’s and Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Henslow’s, Vesper, White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black Tern.