About the Date
This year was a little different because we held the day two weeks later than usual. In the past, it was always held on the second weekend of May, around Mother's Day.
"Would not we get more songbird species if Little Big Day was a little later in the month?" some wondered. "Yes", we thought, but then we might miss late wintering species such as Rough-legged Hawk. And also, if we changed the weekend then we wouldn't be able to compare the species list from year to year.
Well, this year, since some of the team leaders were not available on the usual weekend, we DID change the date; Little Big Day 2014 was held 24 May 2014 and, indeed, in those extra two weeks of spring, several migrant species were recorded which were rare on previous Days. Just off the top of my head, these include Lazuli Bunting, Gray Catbird, Lewis' Woodpecker, Least Flycatcher, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, and Bobolink, to name a few. Yet we also got Rough-legged Hawk! So, go figure.
About the Participants
But it is not all about the birds, nor the competition between the teams. It is about sharing this experience and having fun.
This year we welcomed our first ever team from up the Valley! The Columbia Lakers, consisted of Elaine, Sandi, Peter, and Randy all from Fairmont. Yay! And we had some first-time LBD'ers too! They were George, Audrey, Candace, and Helga. I hope we didn't blow them away with our awesome 'ear-birding' skills and I hope they had a really good time. (PS - a really good app I highly recommend for learning bird songs is Larkwire)
We missed terribly Lois, Art, and Dean - long-time LBD'ers who could not take part this year, and Tony, of course. This year, we also didn't have a 'biking' team, who have taken part in about the last three Little Big Days and had done very well for themselves. Some of them joined / returned to the gasoline-powered teams, and that is just fine! And we were happy to welcome back many of the regulars. Way to go, teams!
We had a GREAT day! Not too hot, not too cold, no dead car batteries, no getting stuck in the mud or dust, no really short tempers, nor distracting injured Burrowing Owls needing rescue, yet lots of good species and really good company.
Ruth set out a really good plan, having scouted out some warblers earlier in the week up at the Nordic Trails at the Kimberley Ski Hill, so we went to get them first - and we got them all! PLUS we got what I consider my bird of the day - Hermit Thrush, and indeed, no other team got it. We just heard it, didn't see it, but such a beautiful bird and song. A couple of species we dipped on were Long-billed Curlew and Calliope Hummingbird, if you can believe that. (shakes her head). The Sage Thrasher spotted earlier in the month has not been seen since.
The count-up dinner this year was held at The Heritage Inn, Cranbrook, BC. The dining room was comfortable, pre-ordered menu items meant our dinners were prompt in arriving - something well appreciated after a long day, and the food and service were great!
Friends of a Feather - 112 sp
Dianne, Ruth, Lyle, George
Deaf & Dumb - 107 sp
Peter, Audrey, John
Birding Trio - 103 sp
Alan, Kathy, and Candace
Columbia Lakers - 95 sp
Elaine, Sandi, Peter, Randy
Merlin Wantab's - 95 sp
Greg, Sue, Glenda, Helga
This year's trophy goes to
It can be lonely out there in the dry fields, but the pickin's are good.
How was your Day? What was your Best Bird? Biggest 'dip'? Leave a comment!
Photo credits: Lyle Grisedale and Greg Ross
Blog post by Dianne C.