Contests & Special Counts

One Day Bashakill Count:
The Bashakill 100

2014: 100 Species at the Bashakill!   6/14/14

On Friday 5/9/14 my team of Deb Powell, Lee Hunter, and I did our big day (Sullivan County's Break-a-100 weekend). What was special about this day was the fact that of the 116 species found in Sullivan County on Friday, 100 of those species were found at the Bashakill! (Previously the most I've been able to get on the Bashakill in one day were 82 species.) The timing needs to be right to hit such a number and Friday 5/9 was the right timing. Severe storms Thursday night into early Friday morning with strong southwest winds put a lot of birds into the county particularly in the Bashakill. We'd been waiting for the big push of migrants and it paid off for Friday. It was a wood warbler bonanza for Sullivan County with 25 species found of which 24 were here at the Bashakill. The one warbler we missed here was the Prairie Warbler which we found later that day at the Wolf Brook Multiple Use Area.

Some great finds on the Bash this particular day, all of which could have been easily missed, were the SORA calling off the Stop Sign trail, a VESPER SPARROW and EASTERN SCREECH OWL at the Deli Fields. A pair of American Black Ducks flushed by the Pine boat launch late Friday afternoon turned out to be species #100 for the Bash.

We were thrilled to hit 100 for the Bashakill but the trade-off was not spending more time around the rest of the county where we only managed to find another 16 species. We still finished with a decent number of species for the day and I, along with Deb and Lee, can finally say that we managed to hit 100 species of birds in one day at the Bashakill!

Scott Baldinger

2002: The Bashakill 100

Fourteen participants in five field teams and two home teams participated in the recent Break-a-100 on May 9-11, finding many special birds in Sullivan County. Rain, fog, mist and the like dominated the weather on Friday and Saturday, but Sunday was mostly sunny.

For a number of years, a friend, Rich Anderson, and I have wanted to try a springtime 24-hour bird count at the Bashakill.  We’ve enjoyed many countywide counts, but what about a bird count that was limited to just the Bashakill?   Could we “break a hundred?”  It sounded like a good challenge.  So on the weekend of May 4th, 2002, we set out for the Bashakill with binoculars and spotting scopes in hand.

Our count started on Saturday afternoon at 4 pm and lasted for the next 24 hours.  Skies were clear, the air was still and temperatures hovered near a very comfortable 70 degrees – perfect birding weather.  We spent our time on the first day scouring the north side of “the Kill” and found 60 species on our list by nightfall.  Included were five species of woodpeckers and a few late-season Rusty Blackbirds.  A respectable start, especially since we know we were undoubtedly missing out on certain migrants which had yet to arrive on this early count date.

Much of Sunday morning was spent with a great group of Sullivan County birders who had come to the Bashakill to participate in a field trip that I led.  The keen eyes and ears of our birding friends helped add several more species to the ever growing list.  Birds of note included a Bonaparte’s Gull, male Northern Harrier, Least Sandpiper, and a very unexpected Dunlin.  What a start to a field trip!

By 2:00 on Sunday afternoon Rich and I had found our 99th species, a Cerulean Warbler.  But now we were immersed in a dry spell as the midday sun kept things quiet.  Finally, a welcomed Red-tailed Hawk flew overhead; we had now reached our goal of 100 different species.  Two hours later we concluded our count with a Broad-winged Hawk and an elusive Field Sparrow.  We had finished our birding odyssey with 102 total species (the exact number Rich had earlier predicted we would reach).

We were now all tuned up for next week’s big “Break-a-Hundred” count and already had our eyes set on next year’s Bashakill 100.  Can’t wait!

Scott Graber