I was accompanied by Josh Bouman for my section, starting at Bear Creek Marsh just before sunrise (under cloudy skies!). Our first bird was a Great Blue Heron which I think was one of only two on the count. Like most bird species this winter, they are scarce!
This spot is always a good vantage point for waterfowl flying over St. Anne's Island. Some uncommon birds are also found here. We did not get much today, but 4 Common Grackles were somewhat noteworthy.
One of the private properties I walk in my area was on the west edge of town. It borders a creek which is better in colder years when you can walk on the ice!
Here we added the only Carolina Wren of the count. We also had a Common Redpoll fly over, but then a few others were seen on the count. First ones I have heard of in the general area.
Up at Stewart Wetland, several ducks were in, which was a bonus. A Redhead was with some Mallards (been there a few days), but also a female American Wigeon which turned out to be the only one for the count. A Mallard X Black hybrid was also in the mix.
One of the surprises of the day seen from Stewart, was a flock of 18 Sandhill Cranes flying over Walpole Island--a count record high needless to say. We have only had the species twice before on the count (4 in 2011). The noisy flock was seen by the counters on Walpole as well...as I expected! It was a surprise because they were the first ones I have seen in the area for perhaps 7 weeks or more.
I only had the G16 camera for today's pics, so the Sandhills are just specks in the above photo.
At Peers Wetland just east of town, we found a White-throated Sparrow (somewhat noteworthy there) and heard a flicker calling across the creek.
Then came the Snowy Owls. We had 3 along Langstaff Line. Two were regulars I knew about, but the third was closer to Brigden Road.
This is one of the whiter ones I have seen this year.
Later in the afternoon, we had an impressive 5 south of town. These I did not know about, but then I had not looked previously.
This was the first one seen south of town:
Two other Snowy Owls were seen in the northerly part of the circle bringing the day's total to 10. Needless to say it was a record high for the count (previous high only 2).
One of the last for the day.....
Tundra Swans were record high as they were continuously flying all over the place all morning.
Other good birds on the count included Common Yellowthroat (3), Marsh Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Another notable bird was a "Greenland" rostrata Common Redpoll as seen by Rob Simpson.
Total species for the count at time of this writing was a respectable 80.
|Late afternoon at Bear Creek|