The Celery Farm's Biggest Day?
February 20, 2009
A little-known fact about Fred Weber's record-setting Celery Farm Big Year in 2008 is that it also contained a record-setting Big Day. I'll let Fred explain...
Since I was spending every day at the Celery Farm from mid April through May as part of my Big Year in 2008, I decided to do a Big Day as well. Rather than pick a particular date, I waited for a fall out to occur.
On May 2 by 7:30 AM I had 13 species of warblers, 3 species of Vireos, a few other neo-tropical migrants, American Bittern, and 6 species of waterfowl, so that seemed like a good start for a Big Day...
I spent 12 hours at the Celery Farm that day and ended up with 87 species, which is the most ever seen there in one day, as far as we know.
It was a little surprising that I didn't add any more warblers. Perhaps an indication of the unfortunate decline of our migrant songbirds.
I had a flyover Common Loon, 5 species of waders, 5 species of shorebirds, 4 species of woodpeckers, and 28 species of neotropical migrant songbirds (the warblers, vireos, flycatchers, orioles, etc. that nest in North America and winter in the tropics).
The misses included Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, Sharp shinned, and Cooper's Hawks, Ring-billed Gull, and Junco. It was an overcast day, so raptors were not soaring, but I did have a fly over Black Vulture, an Osprey and an American Kestrel.
Even though I'm not doing a Big Year at the Celery Farm this year, I plan to do another Big Day (or maybe 2) if I'm there when a fall out occurs and I get off to a good start in the morning.
90 species seems possible, and who knows, with a lot of luck and a great fall out maybe even 100.
But even 87 is a testament to the value of the Celery Farm as a protected habitat.
-- Fred Weber