Sunday, January 02, 2011

Christmas Bird Count highlights

I went on my first Christmas Bird Count today, with my old atlassing buddy Roana and another birder named Jen. We got 32 species and a lifer!

Now the picture's not very good:but our view of this Northern Shrike was. That's number 288, for those of us who are counting!

Our complete list:
Great Blue Heron 1
Canada Goose 40
Hooded Merganser 10
Red-tailed Hawk 6
Ring-billed Gull 5
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 5
Northern Flicker 12
Blue Jay 16
American Crow 15
Common Raven 1
Black-capped Chickadee 13
Tufted Titmouse 7
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Carolina Wren 1
Eastern Bluebird 24
American Robin 8
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 57
Cedar Waxwing 27
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
American Tree Sparrow 10
Song Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 5
Dark-eyed Junco 22
Northern Cardinal 6
House Finch 15
American Goldfinch 24
Northern Shrike 1
Merlin 1

Some real surprises, especially the Yellow-rumped; Ro told me that a few hang around here all winter, as long as it's not too cold, but I was surprised. It was also nice to see some Hooded Mergansers in the only small area of the lake that wasn't frozen. This pic's not too good either:
It was really cold; I was in Boston from Thursday night until last night and it was downright balmy there, in the 40s. I thought it was going to be warm here too, but I was wrong! A cold front blew in and the temps went from chilly to COLD. I was tough, though, as was this Ring-billed Gull:He was walking around on the frozen lake like a professional skater.

Speaking of skaters, the Skaters' Pond looked really weird:The lake's been drained (it's basically a manmade overflow channel to capture floods from local rivers; they drain it way down in the winter to make room), and this little pond had only a bit of a water, which froze in these strange shapes.

One of the House Finches was rather a strange shade of red, more like an orange:and it wasn't just the lighting. He was different from the other males. It was almost like the color on a Golden-fronted Woodpecker.

I got a better photo of a Blue Jay than I'd gotten before:

The park is frozen over, but there's still plenty of predators and prey; here's some evidence of both:Coyote(?) poo with lots of little bones. Squirrel? Bunny? We were on a mission, so I didn't get to examine too closely. Dangit! I should've taken a sample in a baggie or something! Something else to add to the Bad-ass Birding Bag kit.

I liked being a part of a big survey project again; since the breeding bird atlas work was finished a couple years ago, I've missed that sense of birding with a larger purpose. I can't wait to move back to the country, once we leave PA for AB's internship year (2012). The first thing I'm going to do is set up bird feeders and do Project Feederwatch again. What a blast!


Felicia said...

Congratulations on your first CBC! They're great ways to get to know local birders and birds. You got quite a nice list, too. Happy birding in 2011!

Rabbits' Guy said...

Good counting! Blue Jay Butt is a keeper!

Elizabeth said...

That is an awesome list. Congrats! Of course I can't find it now but I was reading a blog the other day that showed variation in house finches from red to orange.

John said...

You saw some good birds today. Congrats on the lifer!

dguzman said...

Felicia--Thanks, and to you too!

Rabbits' Guy--glad you liked it. Hope all the buns are well!

Elizabeth--I'd never seen an orange one here before. I'll have to do some research.


Susan Gets Native said...

That house finch isn't getting his feathers are expensive, and when they don't injest enough carotids, the red is muted. And I read something about them being more susceptible to avian conjunctivitis.
I've never done a CBC. That sounds like it's against the law.

mgstarboard said...

nice pics sis.