2016 Questers not deterred by rain!
In spite of near continuous rain, almost 50 Questers participated in the 2nd Annual Chagrin River Bird Quest on September 16 and 17. Bird Quest is a 24-hour team birding challenge in support of the Chagrin River preservation initiative begun by ASGC in 2015.
This year’s event attracted 18 teams of birders, twice last year’s registration. Teams wishing to upgrade their skills could attend a Birding Workshop on September 10, held in cooperation with The Holden Arboretum. Five teams registered for the Workshop only, though two of those then decided to try out their new skills and participate in the Quest. Our workshop instructors were Dr. Sarah Mabey and Matt Valencic.
Cleveland Metroparks generously provided the North Chagrin Nature Center, free of charge, for our Team Check-in on Friday and the Celebration on Saturday. The Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland provided t-shirts, lapel pins for returning Questers, awards certificates, and refreshments. Judges for this year were Dr. Sarah Mabey and Jenn Clark, both of Hiram College. The Emcee for the Celebration was our own Harvey Webster.
Awards were presented to the top three placements in overall species sighted, as well as most unusual team name, most warbler species sighted, most habitats visited, and largest bird seen. The latter presented a problem, as it was open to interpretation—Heaviest? Tallest? Longest wingspan? Our judges determined Team Maddie Cope won hands-down with the sighting of an emu! (Granted, not an indigenous Ohio bird—more specific rules are in order for next year…) For a list of all our Bird Quest winners, click here.
Door prizes were offered by Swarovski Optic, Wildlife Garden of Solon, Perennials Preferred, ASGC, and volunteer Betsy Siman.
“We had a great time in spite of the rain & hope to participate again,” said Mary Ann Wagner of the Listless Listers team. “We love our t-shirts and thought everything was organized & well planned.”
Questers all seemed to have a great, if wet, time enjoying nature together and their participation helps conserve and improve the natural beauty of the Chagrin River.
Birds are an indicator of healthy air, a healthy ecosystem and a healthy planet. The Chagrin River Corridor IBA, or Important Bird Area, is a relatively intact contiguous riparian corridor surrounded by developed residential area, and includes The Holden Arboretum, Penitentiary Glen, North and South Chagrin Reservations, Chapin Forest, and the Audubon Sanctuaries in Aurora and Willoughby Hills. ASGC is taking a leading role in working to improve bird habitat throughout the entire IBA area, thus improving species diversity and numbers. With partners including the park systems and The Holden Arboretum, we are studying bird populations and environments, educating people about the natural wonders within the IBA and taking action to maintain and improve the entire ecosystem.
Thanks for your support, everyone, and happy Questing next year!