Today was the 1st time Paul and I have ever led a tour, and we were thrilled with how the day turned out! It was rewarding to be able to choose a route, and not to brag or anything, but we ended up having the best single day I’ve ever had guiding the festival! Much of our success relied on timely shared sightings which we were able to follow up on.
“Third thing in the morning,” we successfully chased a great gray owl being seen along Highway 7. It was such a relief finding what may be the most sought-after species in the bog early in the day. Then, we “broke the rules” by meeting up with the other bus at McDavitt Bog, but we really didn’t want to miss the northern hawk-owl they were seeing. We really lucked out when, just down the road, we came across a small flock of white-winged crossbills. After our bathroom stop at the fire station, we had 2 boreal chickadees at the Admiral Rd. feeders! We stayed there awhile admiring the bird diversity coming into the feeders. Then, as we left down Cranberry Rd., we had our favorite sighting of the trip: an adult northern goshawk briefly teed up on a snag!
We had lunch at Warren Nelson bog, and gave the group a chance to wander around in search of the black-backed woodpecker we just missed! (No one in our group saw it today.) I was actually jealous because a few members of our group were lucky enough to spot an ermine under the feeders near the boardwalk entrance. I hung out there for a bit as folks were wandering freely during the lunch break, but no luck for me. After that, we stopped at the visitor’s center for awhile, and ended the day with the lightest snowy owl I’ve ever seen! All in all, it was a really wonderful day, and it was so rewarding to see so many people get awesome lifers.