The Door Islands Bird Festival 2013 was held on Washington Island on May 31 to June 2.
On Saturday, the weather was somewhat miserable, but we managed to bird most of the day at Carlin’s Point, the Boyer’s Bluff and Little Lake areas, as well as the east side—until a big fog bank made things intolerable. In mid-afternoon, we attempted to take a hike to the creek, but were short-circuited by weather again.
In the evening we gathered at Trinity Fellowship Hall to enjoy the banquet, planned and prepared by chef Lois Jessen and staff of Karly’s Cellar Restaurant. All was delicious and plentiful.
We then viewed photos and maps, and heard about the Neotropical birds that come to the Island in spring to bring off a brood of young, then travel back to the tropics—some to the far ends of South America. The program was presented by master birder Patrick Ready, backyard nature specialist for Wild Birds Unlimited.
Sunday morning we birded early around the south end of Main Road and the Bayou. The wind was strong from the northwest and our plans for Rock Island had to be altered since the temperature was only in the 40s and we could not afford to get wet. Some birders left early that day to insure getting to the peninsula and the remainder explored other places out of the wind: the east side, the grasslands off Michigan Road, and South Point.
All in all, we discovered close to 100 species and some people had more. The list is still being finalized and will be on within the next couple of weeks. It will include the birds seen and heard by the groups, the birds observed during travel to the sites we birded, and probably also the species seen or heard individually during the festival.
The composition of participants was the following: 16 of 59 people at the banquet were from the Island and six more from mainland Door County.
Of those 53 participants birding and guiding in the field, five were from the Island and seven from Door County mainland. Nine participants not from Wisconsin came from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Massachusetts.
Thanks go to the many people and groups for helping to make this festival possible and enjoyable. A special thanks to Trinity Lutheran Church for the use of their equipment, hall and kitchen. Thank you to Pastor Frank for helping set up the equipment. Thank you to the Red Cup for opening extra early.
Another special thank you goes to Lois Jessen and her staff for transporting the food, setting up the tables, planning and preparing the meal, and providing excellent service. And thank you to our speaker, Pat Ready, for providing an interesting and thought-provoking program about many of our summer resident birds.
Thank you also to our registrar Marcia Schmidt in Madison for taking on the registration aspects of the bird fest and for making last minute adjustments! And thank you to the web masters Ellen and Jean-Pierre LaFouge.
Door prizes for the banquet were provided by the Washington Island Ferry Line, K.K. Fiske, the Danish Mill, Connie Essig, Wild Bird Unlimited, Nancy Schlimgen, Islandtime Books and More, Dick and Mary Jo Purinton, Rock Island State Park, Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands, Island Bread Company, and Sandy Petersen. Thank you!
Thank you also to property owners who gave permission to bird: Dick and MaryJo Purinton, Tom and Wendy Cooke, Tim and Julie Lyons, and Julian Hagen.
Last but not least my sincere thanks to all the people with the bird expertise that helped participants to see and hear an incredible variety of birds: Bruce Abraham (Door County and Oshkosh), Dale and Glenys Bird from the Island, Roma Lenehan (Madison), Charles Naeseth (Madison), Patrick Ready (Stoughton), Susan Slapnick (Madison), and Melody Walsh, our local spotter and photographer. We missed Margaret Young who was ill and could not help with guiding this year.
By Sandy Petersen, festival director
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