Sunday, December 18, 2011
Christmas Bird Count December 17
We had a good day on the Christmas Bird Count yesterday. It started out a little chilly with temperatures in the uppers 20's, but since there was no wind, it was a nice morning. It warmed into the low 50's by the afternoon.
We divide our count circle into thirds and have different groups cover each one in order to get good coverage of the area. I have the Lake Wichita area. Sue and Warren King and Elizabeth Hawley started the day with me, covering the area on foot from the spillway, along the dam, around the barrow pit and down the chat trail in Lake Wichita Park. The highlights from this section of the count were 3 rock wrens (I think the first rock wrens of a Christmas Bird Count in our area, although they have been sighted in the area before) and 10 wood ducks.
My chat trail and barrow pit let me down during the count. I have been having excellent results lately at both places. On the day of the count, although we had some decent birds, we didn't get the variety of ducks I have been seeing lately on the barrow pit, and we didn't get the numbers of species or birds I sometimes get on the trail. Oh well, if the birds were a sure thing, there wouldn't be nearly the challenge. We did see an albino Canada goose in a flock that flew overhead. Elizabeth Hawley got a good picture (see below.)
They then left for other activities, and I conducted the driving portion of the count, as well as Camp Stonewall Jackson near Holliday, TX. Stonewall Jackson is normally a great place for woodpeckers and the little birds like brown creepers, nuthatches, titmice and sparrows. It was pretty much a bust yesterday, except for some eastern bluebirds, which are very common there.
After 7 1/2 hours of birding, I went home to make dessert for the count supper. Jimmy and Jeannette Hoover were once again kind enough to open their home for a pot luck spaghetti dinner and compiling the count numbers from the three teams into one report. Katherine Smith of Smith's Gardentown Wild Birds Unlimited store donated goodie bags for the count participants--always nice to have more feeders to fill up (good marketing, Katherine!)
I am waiting for the official count results--I'll post them when I get them from the count compiler, Debra Halter. I imagine that will be later in the week.