by Cathy Kozmary
Masks, hand sanitizer, scopes, binocs and cameras ready to go, the Costaways headed out on May 16th at 6am at the Pabco trailhead. While social distancing was a priority, our eyes and ears were ready for every bird that we could possibly add to our checklist. It was the first birdathon for the 5 Costaways aka, birders (Andrea, Barbara, Jennifer, Troy and Cathy) not knowing how the day would evolve – it’s going to be hot, how many birds will we see, how many will we be able to identify, how long we will last…….. what an adventure ahead!
We saw the most species at Pabco spending the majority of our time around the wash. Then headed into the mesquite area running into several fellow birders along the way. Heading over to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve we had a short wait to enter (due to capacity limitations), but spent the time well identifying a few species in the parking lot! Running into more fellow birders and a tip on a Least Bittern sighting (unfortunately we never saw it), we added a few more species to the checklist.
Next stop was Floyd Lamb Park with the potential of seeing the American Redstart and Prothonotary Warbler at table 19. After finding two hummingbird nests in the pine trees, we were rewarded with seeing those two migratory birds. After a short lunch break, we split into two groups – one headed to Mt. Charleston, the other to Wheeler Camp. Both locations added several species to the checklist.
There was so much value in sharing our knowledge and experiences with sightings, calls, flight patterns – collectively we each added some piece to the puzzle of identifying the birds. “I’ve got it in the scope”, or “I’ve got a picture”, or “I’ve recorded its call”. Then the analysis – size, shape, beak, location, behavior and finally the conclusion! In total 76 species were observed. One highlight of the day was finding an active Ladder-backed Woodpecker nest! We will be back!
We want to thank the Great Basin Bird Observatory (“GBBO”) for hosting Nevada’s birdathon, a state-wide birding community event and fundraiser for bird conservation and community support. Proceeds from this year’s birdathon will go towards the conservation science and research benefiting some of Nevada’s species in greatest need, like the Pinyon Jay, whose population has declined over 80% in the past 50 years. In addition, Donors had the option of donating a portion of their contribution to one of Nevada’s Audubon chapters.