Monday, February 1, 2010

Big January 2010 Ends At 101 Species

I went into this weekend needing just a handful of birds to pass the 100 mark that I reached last year. On Saturday I made a stop at Hammonnasset and ran into a group of birders that were in the midst of a Hartford Audubon field trip. It was so cold that the eye cups on my binoculars were freezing to the material on my ski mask. I saw some interesting birds during the short time I spent there. Birds included a Great-horned Owl a jumbo Cooper's Hawk with fluffed up feathers, American Pipits, Horned Lark, Cedar Waxwings, and Fox Sparrows. I was able to add the waxwings and Fox Sparrows, to my January total. After I left Hammo I was able to locate Monk Parakeets in Old Saybrook.
Sunday was not as cold as Saturday as the bright sunshine made it much more comfortable. For my final day, I chose to visit Pease Brook Wildlife Management Area, a place I had tried this past fall . The habitat consists of open fields, powerlines lined with cedars, and woods with a very shallow brook running through it. I thought that I would have a chance to find Brown Creeper, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Field Sparrows, Ruby-crowned kinglet and Eastern Towhee at this location.
I decided this was the place I was going to end my Big January whether I found the birds I was looking for or not. I was going to cover this area thoroughly and enjoy a beautiful winter morning observing birds and nature. I was tired of driving around the state all month so this was where I would was going to finish.
So I watched Eastern Bluebirds taking turns picking berries from the bush...........
.........and a Downy Woodpecker that was searching for food close to the ground.
I searched the cedars near the powerline carefully and caught a glimpse of a kinglet on one. If this was a Ruby-crowned kinglet on the branch, it would be a new January species for me. I raised the binoculars to my eyes and what I saw was--fog! My binocular lenses completely fogged up at the wrong time. The kinglet had moved on to another area but I think it was a golden anyway.

After I missed the kinglet, I found a Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers near the top of a tree and shortly after that a Brown Creeper at the base of a tree. This brought my total to 101 which was one more than my 2008 January total. Earlier in the month I had higher expectations but on the last day of January I was quite pleased to reach 101.
I kept on birding for a while after that. It was fun having the whole place to myself. There was no sign of any human footprints in the snow. I watched as chickadees, goldfinches, and bluebirds took turns sipping water from a stream. Big January was a great way to make the month pass by more quickly but it was a relief to be finished. Now I can go back to watching birds for the simple reason that I like to.
click to play
The list: Brant, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Common Eider, Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Wild Turkey, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Cormorant, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, American Coot, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Glaucous Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Monk Parakeet, Great Horned Owl, Belted kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, American Pipit, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Tree Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Lapland Longspur, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, House Finch, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow.


Ruth said...

Congratulations on your 101 birds. I think I will have to visit Connecticut (or further south) next January :-)

Chris said...

I'm amazed that your are seeing in on month the number of species I see in one year... Not even that, i only saw 94 last year... You are living in a very rich environment!!!! The eastern bluebird picture is my favorite tehre... i love this bird and really have to travel to see it one day... Thanks for sharing this nice January month with us!

FAB said...

Hi Larry. Thanks for sharing your January count. I took a more relaxed approach last month and only found 99 but there will be plenty for us both to enjoy during the rest of 2010. FAB.

Larry said...

Ruth-Connecticut welcomes you. We'd be glad to have you visit. I understand that you are in a totally different zone and the birds that you see are all relative to where you live and the time of year.Thanks for being a good sport and participating.

Chris-That is something. I guess I should be thankful for the number of species that are possible in CT. It certainly isn't the best birding areas but I guess it is better than some areas. I wish I could send you a few extra species in exchange for some of your photography skills.

Early birder-Relaxed approach? If you saw 99 species without trying hard you must be in a good area or be one heck of a birder-probably both.

Jayne said...

Now, THAT sounds toooooo cold Larry...brrrrrrr! :c)
Congrats on passing the 100 mark!

Dan Huber said...

Larry, glad you found the creeper and yellow bellied, Pease sounds like a nice spot, will have to check it out. It was nice birding with you again sat.


Anonymous said...

Hi Larry,
Congrats on reaching your goal. Thought I would check in and say, "Hi!" Hope life is treating you well.

Dawn Fine said...

Excellent! Congratulations..

FAB said...

Hi Larry. My home County is landlocked but with varied locations plus a 70 mile drive to the coast always helps to add to the list any time of year. To put my UK year total into perspective a 'real' local birder already has a County total of 107!!
Cheers, Frank.

Kathie Brown said...

Congrats Larry! I think we were both trying to beat our last year's total and both trying to remember to just enjoy the birds and the birding experience. Once I got the scaled quail in Sycamore Canyon I was so happy I didn't care anymore. Then, when I found out I had missed a rarity with Gus I really kicked myself! My post is up (in an hour from now) and I finsished with 113!

Unknown said...

Congratulations on a productive month. It was somewhat of a mild month, but everytime I planned to get out, the weather did not cooperate.

Larry said...

forestal-Pease is nice along with Bear Hill WMA which is just right down the road.Yes-it was fun birding with you again.I'm sure we'll cross paths again before the year is over.

Vern-My family is doing well thanks-I hope everything is going well down your way too. I know you are a Pats fan like I am. Does that mean you'll be rooting for the Saints?

Early Birder-Sounds like there's plenty of birds to be seen in your parts too.I wonder how many species we share that are common to your area and mine?

Kathiebirds-I enjoy your great enthusiasm. Sorry I wasn't able unable to present a challenge to you.The birds are here but it was a little tougher for me this year.Maybe next year.

mathew-Spring will soon be upon us and then you won't have to fight the weather as much. Maybe you should make a list of the humber of different types of boats you encounter in a month since you're not into birding.

Lana Gramlich said...

Congrats! I knew you could do it. ;)

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Congrats on 101! Sounds like a lovely last day of Big January.

We finished the month at 116. Competitive birding is fun, but we too are glad that it's over and we can go back to watching birds because we like too.

Come on spring!
Warren and Lisa

ksdoolittle said...

Larry, these are lovely shots. I especially like the lead photo of the heron. Have you been over to RockPaperLizard? He has a special page just for heron pictures and information. Bet he'd love to add that photo! ~ks

dguzman said...

Wow, an impressive January list, Larry!

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, I think that perhaps we should have a contest to beat our own records next year. I know I live in an amazing place with so many winter bird species. It's not quite fair for someone who lives in the north to compete with someone who lives in the south. Anyone in Texas or Florida could beat us both also. Another idea would be to compare our list to the species seen and recorded on eBird for that new year/month. What do you think? I know I beat my record from last year, but next year it will be even harder to beat that! You are the one who got me eBirding and I am so thankful for that. Perhaps I can finally meet you when I come to CT this summer. Dawn says you are really nice and funny too.

Larry said...

kathiebirds-Arizona or not-you still beat me fair and square. The top lister in the Hartford Audubon saw like 140 species in January so it's not like I didn't have a chance.Either way it's just a good excuse to get out and see lots of birds. We'll see how it goes next year.-Let me know when you're coming to CT. Maybe we can get in some birding.