Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Feather Muster

Just when you thought the Leamington area could not get any crazier during a May weekend, birders with a competitive edge will not only be visiting Point Pelee looking for an elusive warbler species to add to their list but they will also be competing in the first annual feathermuster from May 15 to May 16.

The competitive count will start at the Hillman Marsh in Leamington at noon, Saturday May 15. Teams of 2-6 birders will have until noon the following day to spot and record as many species within their vision inside the boundaries of the count area. Teams must cross the finish line by 12:00 noon at Pelee Island Winery in Kingsville, Ontario. A very appropriate finishing line if I do say so myself.

Jean's quick spotting abilities and my ability to count and chew gum at the same time will be needed for the Buffalo Ornithological Society (BOS) May count on the 16th so any thoughts of entering will have to be set aside for a future feathermuster. But before I even think of entering such a thing, I should visit Point Pelee during a weekend in May (there's no way I can get time off from work during this month) just to experience spring migration in one of Canada's world-class birding sites. Yes, as I have stated before, this Ontario birder has never been to Point Pelee National Park during the month of May! This year you'll most likely find me walking the gravel paths (no ticks) of a local hot spot searching for a lifer warbler.

To any birders I know that plan on entering the challenge, I wish them the best of luck in their endeavours to earn a spot on the podium.

On a final note. A flock of _____ is known as a "muster".


  1. This looks really fun, if only because the finish line is a winery! I'll be recuperating from a week of scouting for the World Series of Birding in NJ, but a future "feathermuster" (great name!) may be in the cards.

    Muster refers to flock of peafowl, I think, but I've also seen in refer to storks (I think).

  2. Hi Mike,

    You are correct. I did not know until I looked over the definition of muster in search of a catchy title for the post. It may come in handy at a future trivia night.

    Not sure if the wines make it into NY state but the labels on the Pelee Island wines have a few species of birds on them. The Shiraz for example has an Indigo Bunting on the label.

    Not limited to birds though. The 5-lined Skink (the only lizard found on Pelee Island) is on the bottle of Cabernet Franc. Here is a link to a selection of their wines. I have yet to have an unpalatable wine from Pelee.