Monday, June 27, 2011

Summary of Spring for me in Pelee

Male Yellow Warbler in Point Pelee National Park. Photo by Marianne Balkwill


Well no, not really. Birding wise, May 2011 was kind of a flop actually.
I had pretty big expectations going into the month of April. Though I only had a pitiful 15 to 20 hour work weeks January through March at my current job, the thought of fewer working hours for April and May didn't sound so bad! However, being an adult married to a hard working husband, there was that constant little bit of guilt chipping away at my mind and slowly carving out the words "Find another job".

Enter the second job: Pelee Wings Nature Store
I previously worked at Pelee Wings seven years ago while in college, so I already knew the ropes making my life a little easier. Now if you think that working at a nature store that sells binoculars, scopes, birding gear and gifts is a great job for a birder, try working there during spring migration in May with people coming in constantly telling you all their sightings. ARGHH!!! To make things go over more smoothly, I updated my binoculars (Swarovski swarovision 8.5 x 42) and spotting scope (Kowa TSN 884 with a 15 to 60x zoom lens).
So now I had 2 jobs beginning the second week of April.

Enter the third job: Bird Guide
I now have a neat little side job as the local guide for BirdingPal Tours in the Point Pelee Area. (see the link) For those who are not aware, with Birding Pal you can hook up with a local birder that will lead you to the hotspots in the area you wish to go birding. I set my own price and BirdingPal gets a percentage. I had one tour this spring with Birding Pal, a three day private tour with a couple from St.Catherines from May 13 to the 15th. The tour went great and I even got to see the Bell's Vireo (LIFER!) at Pelee on the 13th.

Enter the fourth job: Friends of Point Pelee Hike Leader
I received an email from the Friends of Point Pelee that one of their hikes leaders could no longer commit for this spring’s Festival of Birds guided hikes, and asked if I could pick up a few spots. Of course I agreed as the hikes are pretty fun and easy with mostly novice birders participating just to learn about birds, and have someone point out the more common species of warblers, tanagers, orioles, and vireos. I had 5 hikes for the Friends of Point Pelee this spring.

So, in total I had 4 jobs this May, and worked every day during the month of May and into June until the 19th when I got to take off to the cottage for 5 days. Ahhhhh…

Now don't get me wrong, I DID get to go birding a little bit in May. Whenever I got the chance I was out in the field. However, this year I kind of acted like a hermit. The few hours I had to go birding I just wanted to be by myself. This is no easy feat during the month of May because there are so many birders I know down for the spring migration, and though I love to chit chat, I felt like I had very little time (rather daylight actually) so I just wanted to go birding with no interruption. For example, when everyone was down looking at a Kirtland’s Warbler in the parking lot at the visitor centre, I had a Blue-winged warbler at my feet probing for insects on plants, along with a great view of a Yellow-breasted Chat at the north end of the park. When I later ran into an individual I knew who asked me if I saw the Kirtlands Warbler and I replied, "I didn't bother", he bellowed "BUT IT IS A KIRTLAND'S!"......So what? I have seen plenty and I didn't want to bother with the crowds….I just hope people didn't think I was too antisocial this spring.

Now here we are at near the end of June and I barely have gone birding this whole month. In fact, the only birding I have done this month was stopping by to see some Dickcissels east of Wheatley on my way to Pardoville to pick strawberries.

Let the "work like a dog days of summer" commence!!
....Hope I at least get a chance to go see some butterflies this summer...

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