The last two days have been pretty hectic. Tuesday I had nothing “scheduled”. (Trips don’t start until Wednesday). However, Dianna Miller, the volunteer coordinator for the festival, asked if I could help with setting up the festival store. Sure, why not. There were probably about 8 people involved in this task. We set up shelving. Unpacked boxes. Sorted through various items that are being sold at the store. Hung signs. The store sells embroidered sweat shirts, fleece vest and jackets, tee shirts, hats, birdy jewelry, patches, coffee mugs, etc. Most of the items were made specifically for the 2015 Bird Festival.
We started early and had to have everything in place by noon, because that is when the doors open. In addition to selling the above merchandise, the store also answers questions and provides information about lodging, restaurants, directions, etc. I worked there until almost 5 pm.
On Wednesday, I had to be at the festival headquarters before 6 am. That is when the buses left the building. I had signed up for BIG DAY VANS. Seven vans, each holding about 10 people, left to see as many species as possible, between 6 am and 3:30 pm. Our van tallied 122 species. We put on a lot of miles. Among the species we saw, were 4 “lifers” for me. KING RAIL, MONK PARAKEET, DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER and SWAINSON’S WARBLER.
Other good birds we saw included, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Mottled Duck, Plain Chachalaca. Magnificent Frigatebird, Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, 8 species of bitterns and herons, White-tailed Kite, Harris’ Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Sora, American Avocet, 4 species of plover (quite a number of Piping Plover), 9 species of sandpipers, 8 species of gulls and terns, 6 species of doves, a Burrowing Owl, a Common Pauraque, Ruby-throated and Buff-bellied Hummingbird (we dipped on a Blue-throated Hummingbird, that was seen by many observers), a Belted Kingfisher, 3 species of woodpecker, Crested Caracara, Aplomado Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, a Budgerigar (domestic type), Black Phoebe, Vermillion Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Tropical and Couch’s Kingbirds, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, lots of Loggerhead Shrikes, White-eyed Vireos, Green Jays, 3 swallow species, including Cave, Cactus Wren, Clay-coloured Thrush, 8 species of warbler including Northern Waterthrush, Summer Tanager, Pyrrhuloxia, Bronzed Cowbird and Lesser Goldfinch.
It was a “sweaty, drippy” kind of day, with a few light showers thrown in for good measure.