The BowKan Bird Count

It seems like every Saturday is a big birding event right now! The BowKan Bird Count is the bird count that I’ve been doing since I was 6 years old. We have two counts per year, one in the spring and one in the winter. While in England, I missed the first count since I started. Back for the Spring count, I car-pooled with 4 other counters for the whole day. We started (as usual) at the Lac Des Arcs campground where we saw the all the regulars exept Belted Kingfisher. It was gloomy and overcast, but that didn’t hold the birds down.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

At the Al Lesann Bridge Trail, we were walking along, trying to hear that little peep in the bush when a pair of Rufous Hummingbirds whizzed around us. It was all good fun, until they started trying to kill us. Having a tiny red bullet shooting throught the air at our heads is kind of unnerving, but that was nothing compared to my shock when, after ducking under a low branch, I straightend up and was hit! At first I was worried about the hummer’s health, but when it was obvious that the bird was ok, I started to take photos. I actually got some nice ones of the bird sitting, preening in a tree 30 feet off.

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

A quarter-hour later, we were stepping out of the van at the Buffalo Bill Pond Trail-head. Chipping Sparrows and Juncos were prominent, with many invisible Least Flycatchers, some Mountain Bluebirds, and a Vesper Sparrow all there.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Farther down, we found one of the two Kingbird species that were there last year.

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

At the pond itself, there were 5 swallows, many Coot, and a Ruffed Grouse boomed behind us. There were some Spotted Sandpipers and Yellow Warblers down the shoreline. A Pied-billed Grebe in the water.

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

And lots and lots of Little Blue Butterflies.

Little Blue Butterfly

Little Blue Butterfly

We ended the trip back at Lac Des Arcs, but on the other end. Strolling down the path,  we came upon some (very) fresh bear scat. It was a place that bears frequented, so this was not surprising. We continued down the path, and found one spot that was rich in birds. Stopping there to watch the Warbling Vireos, Warblers and Redstarts, we followed as the flock moved down the path a little ways. Turning a corner brought us the sight of a large and healthy Black Bear, so we, disappointed, turned back, having completed about 17% of what we wanted to do there.

Black Bear

Black Bear

We decided to end the day then, as it was already 3:45 pm. It was a successful count, on which I found 61 species over two days, in about 11 total hours. I’ll post some photos and the story from the next day soon.

6 thoughts on “The BowKan Bird Count

  1. BirdBoy

    Three of us wanted to follow the bear until the fourth said that it would be disturbed, so…
    one for sure WAS exited! 🙂
    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Ivey Fennell

    Sounds like you had a very eventful BowCan Bird Count! Thank you for all the superb photos – I do not have your skills for identifying our avian friends and your photos help me determine what I’ve been seeing. (Fortunately I would recognize a bear!)

    Reply
    1. BirdBoy

      Thanks! I learnt half of the things I know from reading bird books, so if you really want to learn a lot about birds, I recommend reading the Sibleys Guide (second edition – the first edition’s colors are wrong).

      Reply
      1. Neil

        To clarify about Sibley’s, the 2nd edition’s first PRINTING had some rather ‘off’ colours, and a second printing was quite quickly brought out. It’s definitely worth avoiding the first printing.

        Reply
  3. dan chick

    Context is everything! Most people would be really excited to see a bear, but I completely understand why you were NOT! 🙂 Thanks for a fun write-up!

    Reply

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