Monday, December 20, 2010

36th Annual Salmon River CBC

I participated in the 36th MAS Annual Christmas Bird Count Sunday. I was one of a group of 5 birders in the territory. I like this particular CBC because it is very casual. We walked some of the areas but covered much of the area by car. I did spend much time taking pictures but couldn't resist snapping a photo of the goldfinches eating seeds off this plant with the sunlight coming in from behind them. It was taken in the Portland Reservoir area where we also found Golden-crowned Kinglets, a Brown Creeper to go along with the other usual suspects.
One thing that can be a little frustrating about this particular bird count is that we have a few nice ponds in our territory but naturally they are usually frozen this time of the year. Ducks generally seem to prefer open water over ice. It made for nice scenery though.
There were Dark-eyed Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, and even a Red-bellied Woodpecker searching for food beneath a canopy of White Pine Trees.
I took a ride deep into the Meshomasic State Forest looking for more birds. I found plenty of streams but not many birds but I did see a Red-shouldered Hawk near Del Reeves Road the day before which counts on the list.
We ended the day with a search of the Connecticut River from a couple of locations which are within the circle. One of the locations was at the end of Shipyard Road which has some beautiful old historical homes. A couple of the neighbors came out to chat with us. I was pleased by how friendly and supportive they were when we told them what we were doing.
While we were there, we were able to add a Bald Eagle to our list. We also enjoyed watching several Northern Flickers flying in and out of the knotholes in some of the big old trees. As we drove around the area we had a nice sighting of a Pileated Woodpecker from the car as well as an eye level view of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.
We moved down to another public access site at the bottom of Oakum Docks Road. There were 50+ Mallards, 6 Common Mergansers, and one Common Goldeneye on the river. We scanned the shorelines with the scope and spotted a Great Blue Heron looking back at us. We saw two Great Cormorants land in the river but upon further inspection there were another 16 cormorants in a tree. Some flew from the tree to the water and appeared to be Great Cormorants as well.The preliminary number for total species seen is 74. I'll be curious to see what the final tally turns out to be.
You can't tell from this photo but I came across a rafter of Wild Turkeys totalling over 50 in all. Unfortunately, they were 1/2 mile outside of our count circle so they didn't make it onto our list.
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I enjoyed watching the antics of the toms as they walked around Showing off their fancy tail feathers. They came crashing to the ground one by one as they left their roosting spots in the trees. They all gathered in a fenced off area that was occupied by a couple of horses. The horses didn't seem to mind the turkeys and the turkeys paid no attention to the horses. Just one big happy family.


Dan Huber said...

great xmas bird count

Hilke Breder said...

Beautiful photo of the goldfinches! Sounds like very productive day.

Larry said...

forestal-yeah-it was lots of fun Dan.

Hilke Breder-Thanks-I didn't have anything to lean against when I took the photo so I'm glad it came out in focus while I was using full zoom.

Ruth said...

Looks like you had a great day. Our local species count (SW Ontario) this year was 67 (up from an average of 59) I think that is amazing with the amount of snow we have and the fact that the Great Lakes are outside our regional boundary.

Harold Stiver said...

That's a pretty respectable CBC tally for snowy country. Well done!!

Kathie Brown said...

Wished I had been with you! I would love to have seen some of those birds, especially the GREAT cormorants. I have not seen a pileated woodpecker in CT ever and none in the Northeast since returning, though I have kept my eyes pealed for them. Great job Larry! Merry Christmas!