Monday, January 2, 2017

Christmas Bird Count

I am catching up on happenings. It is hard enough to find time to bird over the holidays, let alone follow-up writing about it. But I did want to catch up.

The Wichita Falls Christmas Bird Count  (CBC) was December 17, sponsored by the North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club. The weather was absolutely beautiful on December 16. Not so much on count day. I was naively thinking the cold front might not come through until afternoon, but the temperatures started dropping early in the morning. That would have been okay, except for the wind, which makes the weather seem so much colder and keeps the birds down. Consequently, the count was lower than usual, both in number of species and numbers of individual birds. We worked hard for these birds.

I started the count on the Lake Wichita dam, where it is always windy and can be downright miserable when it is cold. I was joined by Fred Koberg, from Graham, joining me for his first CBC. We birded from 7:30 AM to around 3:00 PM in our area. We walked about 5.3 miles and drove 82 miles. We later met the other teams for the count supper at Sue and Warren King's home.

My favorite birds of the day were the Wilson's snipe, prairie falcon, and white-throated sparrow.

I am including only the birds seen by me and Fred in our area, which is the southwest section of the circle. Debra Halter is the official compiler for our count and submitted final totals for the count after the count week.

Canada goose, 88
Gadwall, 76
American wigeon, 6
Mallard, 67
Northern shoveler, 53
Ring-necked duck, 29
Bufflehead, 1
Duck sp, 54
Pied-billed grebe, 5
American white pelican, 77
Double-crested cormorant, 100
Great blue heron, 5
Turkey vulture, 1
Northern harrier, 2
Sharp-shinned hawk, 1
Cooper's hawk, 1
Red-tailed hawk, 5
Buteo sp, 3
American kestrel, 8
Prairie falcon, 1
American coot, 41
Killdeer, 10
Wilson's snipe, 4
Ring-billed gull, 144
Rock pigeon, 21
Eurasian collared dove, 70
White-winged dove, 6
Mourning dove, 4
Belted kingfisher, 3
Red-bellied woodpecker, 1
Ladder-backed woodpecker, 2
Downy wooodpecker, 2
Northern (yellow-shafted) flicker, 1
Eastern phoebe, 4
Loggerhead shrike, 1
Blue jay, 4
American crow, 1
Tufted titmouse, 1
Ruby-crowned kinglet, 3
Eastern bluebird, 1
American robin, 3
Northern mockingbird, 5
Brown thrasher, 1
European starling, 287
Orange-crowned warbler, 1
Spotted towhee, 1
Fox sparrow, 1
Song sparrow, 2
White-throated sparrow, 1
Harris' sparrow, 6
White-crowned sparrow, 18
Sparrow sp, 13
Dark-eyed junco, 5
Northern cardinal, 32
Red-winged balckbird, 218
Meadowlark sp, 23
Common grackle, 4
Great-tailed grackle, 108
Blackbird sp, 230
American goldfinch, 10
House sparrow, 1

Although this wasn't one of the better counts in terms of numbers or weather, it was a great time. After all, I could have been cleaning house.....

Good birding!

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