Sunday, February 19, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count at Lake Wichita

I  missed the first two days of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) due to a work trip, but hit Lake Wichita first thing this morning. Six of us met on the shore of Lake Wichita behind Wild Bird Rescue and birded from 7:30 - 9:00 AM. You can see  by the photo at the left that conditions were not the best, with dense fog. However, the fog burned off between 8 and 8:30.

Our beaver friend that is often in the cove for the various counts in this location was doing laps across the area when Elizabeth Hawley and I arrived at 7:30. Unfortunately, everyone else missed him. I believe Elizabeth got some good photos though.

The GBBC protocol is to count the largest number of each species seen at one time. For Lake Wichita behind Wild Bird Rescue the count was (listed in the order seen):

White pelican, 39
Ring-necked duck, 3
Mallard, 5
American coot, 4
Red-winged blackbird, 14
Northern cardinal, 1
Ring-billed gull, 32
European starling, 6
Great blue heron, 3
Bufflehead, 2
Wren sp (was fussing in the reeds--we couldn't make a positive ID)
Canada goose, 4
Pied-billed grebe, 3
Blue jay, 1
Common goldeneye, 1
Cedar waxwing, 15
Ruddy duck, 6
Red-tailed hawk, 1
Robin, 1
American crow, 1
Eurasian collared dove, 1
Downy woodpecker, 1
Killdeer, 2
Great-tailed grackle, 3
House sparrow, 5
Double-crested cormorant, 3

During the count, we had a sweet little spaniel escapee show up. Fortunately, little Ben had a tag with his name and his owner's name and phone number. We crated him and when we finished the count, I took him home. He had taken advantage of the wet weather to dig out of his back yard.

After returning Ben to his home, I went on to Lake Wichita Park on my own to bird the chat trail and the barrow pit from 9:15 - 10:20 AM. My count was:

Eurasian collared dove, 9
Eastern meadowlark, 2
European starling, 3
Double-crested cormorant, 6
American robin, 5
Mourning dove, 1
White-winged dove, 13
Blue jay, 1
Great-tailed grackle, 1
Northern cardinal, 3
Northern flicker, 2
Downy woodpecker, 1
Carolina chickadee, 2
White-crowned sparrow, 9
American goldfinch, 4
Red-winged blackbird, 3
Pied-billed grebe, 1
American coot, 10
Northern shoveler, 23
White pelican, 36
Killdeer, 2
Turkey vulture, 1
Ring-billed gull, 1
Great blue heron, 1
Spotted towhee, 1
Harris' sparrow, 4
Fox sparrow, 1

I watched 5 shovelers swimming together, bobbing their heads and making soft clucking sounds. I was very happy to see the Harris' sparrows as I haven't seen many of them this winter.

Altogether, 38 species for the two short counts--not bad. 

For the rest of the day I am going to watch my feeders for Project Feederwatch and then tomorrow I plan to take the morning off work and do a GBBC count at Lucy Park.

If you haven't already, spend some time outside and watch the birds.

Good birding!

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