Yellow Rails Win Carden Cup

 2012 Carden Challenge

Team Yellow Rails at the cabin on Wylie Road before the Challenge. Left to right: Jean Iron, Ron Reid, Andrew Keaveney and Eleanor Beagan. Photo by Janet Grand on 25 May 2012.


The Yellow Rails team with Eleanor Beagan, Jean Iron, Andrew Keaveney and Ron Reid is happy to announce that we won the 2012 Carden Challenge with 132 species. This 24-hour birding competition on the Carden Alvar took place from 6:00 p.m. on Friday 25 May to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday 26 May 2012.

As Celebrity Birder I raised over $11,000 for stewardship and bird habitat conservation by The Couchiching Conservancy on the Carden Alvar. I thank all donors for their outstanding generosity, and yes, donations are still coming in.

 Here are some highlights of our Big Day:

  • Grassland and shrubland bird specialties: Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Upland Sandpiper, Field Sparrow, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee.

  • Loggerhead Shrike on Windmill Ranch near cabin on Wylie Road. Only about 11 pairs are breeding this year on the Carden Alvar - not good news for this critically endangered species.

  • Grasshopper Sparrow on Wylie Road, Vesper on Alvar Road, Clay-colored northwest of Lake Dalrymple.

  • Whip-poor-will, Common Nighthawk, Wilson's Snipe at several locations on Friday evening.

  • Great Horned Owl with young on the nest in the Shrike Road Great Blue Heronry.

  • Sedge Wren at the south end of Wylie Road. We checked several times for Yellow Rail, but it was last heard on Tuesday.

  • Red-bellied Woodpecker, Purple Finch and Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Judy and Lou Probst's feeders.

  • Horned Lark, Northern Mockingbird and Sandhill Cranes at Cameron Ranch.

  • Common Gallinule and American Woodcock on Prospect Road.

We slept well at Ron Reid and Janet Grand's Wylie Road cabin from 11:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. getting good rest for the next day. Saturday morning we birded Kawartha Lakes Road 35:

  • Yellow-throated Vireo, Winter Wren, Veery, Northern Waterthrush, Canada Warbler, Ovenbird, Pine Warbler, and 12 other species of breeding warblers.

  • Chimney Swifts were nesting in the chimney of the variety store on Monck Road. 

  • Black Terns and a family of Pied-billed Grebes at a wetland on the Monck Road.

  • A migrant Wilsonís Warbler and several Blackpoll Warblers were heard and seen well near Lake Dalrymple. 

  • Common Tern, Caspian Tern, Common Merganser and Double-crested Cormorant on Lake Dalrymple.

  • Black-bellied Plover on a plowed field west of Lake Dalrymple.

  • Golden-winged Warblers were common, but we did not see a Blue-winged, even though we heard birds giving a typical Blue-winged song.

  • Least Bittern at Canal Lake Causeway.

  • A pair of Northern Cardinals east of Kirkfield.



I thank team members Eleanor Beagan, Andrew Keaveney and Ron Reid for their enthusiasm, energy and good companionship. Ron Reid scouted the area and planned the route. Andrew Keaveney is to be commended for his sharp eyes and ears. We used Eleanor Beaganís car and I appreciate all Eleanorís preparations for the weekend. We thank Pat Hodgson for allowing us to use his Yellow Rail photo on our tee shirts.


 Total list in checklist order:

1.    Canada Goose

2.     Trumpeter Swan

3.     Wood Duck

4.     Mallard

5.     Blue-winged Teal

6.     Common Goldeneye

7.     Hooded Merganser

8.     Common Merganser

9.     Ruffed Grouse

10.   Wild Turkey

11.   Common Loon

12.   Pied-billed Grebe

13.   Double-crested Cormorant

14.   American Bittern

15.   Least Bittern

16.   Great Blue Heron

17.   Green Heron

18.   Turkey Vulture

19.   Osprey

20.   Northern Harrier

21.   Red-shouldered Hawk

22.   Broad-winged Hawk

23.   Red-tailed Hawk

24.   American Kestrel

25.   Merlin

26.   Virginia Rail

27.   Sora

28.   Common Gallinule

29.   Sandhill Crane

30.   Black-bellied Plover

31.   Killdeer

32.   Spotted Sandpiper

33.   Upland Sandpiper

34.   Wilsonís Snipe

35.   American Woodcock

36.   Ring-billed Gull

37.   Herring Gull

38.   Caspian Tern

39.   Black Tern

40.   Common Tern

41.   Rock Pigeon

42.   Mourning Dove

43.   Black-billed Cuckoo

44.   Great Horned Owl

45.   Common Nighthawk

46.   Whip-poor-will

47.   Chimney Swift

48.   Ruby-throated Hummingbird

49.   Belted Kingfisher

50.   Red-bellied Woodpecker

51.   Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

52.   Downy Woodpecker

53.   Hairy Woodpecker

54.   Northern Flicker

55.   Eastern Wood-Pewee

56.   Alder Flycatcher

57.   Willow Flycatcher

58.   Least Flycatcher

59.   Eastern Phoebe

60.   Great Crested Flycatcher

61.   Eastern Kingbird

62.   Loggerhead Shrike

63.   Yellow-throated Vireo

64.   Warbling Vireo

65.   Red-eyed Vireo

66.   Blue Jay

67.   American Crow

68.   Common Raven

69.   Horned Lark

70.   Tree Swallow

71.   Northern Rough-winged Swallow

72.   Cliff Swallow

73.   Barn Swallow

74.   Black-capped Chickadee

75.   Red-breasted Nuthatch

76.   White-breasted Nuthatch

77.   House Wren

78.   Winter Wren

79.   Sedge Wren

80.   Marsh Wren

81.   Eastern Bluebird

82.   Veery

83.   Hermit Thrush

84.   Wood Thrush

85.   American Robin

86.   Gray Catbird

87.   Northern Mockingbird

88.   Brown Thrasher

89.   European Starling

90.   Cedar Waxwing

91.   Golden-winged Warbler

92.   Nashville Warbler

93.   Yellow Warbler

94.   Chestnut-sided Warbler

95.   Magnolia Warbler

96.   Black-throated Blue Warbler

97.   Yellow-rumped Warbler

98.   Black-throated Green Warbler

99.   Blackburnian Warbler

100.     Pine Warbler

101.     Blackpoll Warbler

102.     Black-and-white Warbler

103.     American Redstart

104.     Ovenbird

105.     Northern Waterthrush

106.     Common Yellowthroat

107.     Wilsonís Warbler

108.     Canada Warbler

109.     Scarlet Tanager

110.     Eastern Towhee

111.     Chipping Sparrow

112.     Clay-colored Sparrow

113.     Field Sparrow

114.     Vesper Sparrow

115.     Savannah Sparrow

116.     Grasshopper Sparrow

117.     Song Sparrow

118.     Swamp Sparrow

119.     White-throated Sparrow

120.     Northern Cardinal

121.     Rose-breasted Grosbeak

122.     Indigo Bunting

123.     Bobolink

124.     Red-winged Blackbird

125.     Eastern Meadowlark

126.     Common Grackle

127.     Brown-headed Cowbird

128.     Baltimore Oriole

129.     Purple Finch

130.     Pine Siskin

131.     American Goldfinch

132.     House Sparrow


After the Challenge from left to right: Ron Reid, Andrew Keaveney, Eleanor Beagan and Jean Iron. Photo by Janet Grand on 26 May 2012.


Eleanor Beagan and Jean Iron with the Carden Cup. We showed it to the OFO group on 27 May 2012.