Saturday, February 18, 2006

BR Audubon society field trip...

Cold and rainy Saturday morning. When I got up, I looked outside at the gloomy weather and *almost* crawled back in bed. Then, I thought, "nothing ventured, nothing gained" so I bundled up and hurried to the meet point. The group was small but willing :-) We stopped a few times along Ben Hur road on the way to Richfield Riversilt as we caught sight of birds. Lots of hawks along the way, and great flocks of mixed blackbirds. We also stopped a couple of times along river road at the woody areas. Our leader had a recording of a screech owl that he used as a lure. It brought in half a dozen birds easily!

Had forgotten to account for wind down on the river -- it was cold and much breezier down there, not to mention muddy. I was wishing I had my gloves and another layer of jacket! We made a wide circle at Richfield Riversilt...veering off the left off the main road at first to pick up water birds in the pits. It's positively amazing how well camoflaged those shorebirds are! Sparrows were abundant -- we picked up eight different species over the course of the morning. Here are links to videos of two of the sparrows we saw today -- both of which were lifers for me:

Le Conte's Sparrow:(19Mb file)
Le Conte's Sparrow (9Mb file, excerpt from above)
Le Conte's Sparrow (18Mb file - different angles)

Vesper Sparrow: (8Mb file)

We picked up 50 species altogether. Here's a complete list:

Double-crested Cormorant - 3
Great Blue Heron - 1
Great Egret - 3
White Ibis - 30 (Observed on Lee Drive on drive back to Coffee Call)
Northern Harrier - 1 (possibly 2)
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1 (or Cooper's)
Red-tailed Hawk - 10
American Kestrel - 1
Killdeer - 25
Spotted Sandpiper - 1
Western Sandpiper - 2 (debate about Western or Semipalmated, but I think the consensus was Western)
Least Sandpiper - 4
Common Snipe - 1 (St. Gabriel)
Ring-billed Gull - 5 (flyover, so hard to tell, but probably)
Rock Pigeon - 12
Mourning Dove - 6
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Eastern Phoebe - 2
Loggerhead Shrike - 1
Blue Jay - 1 A
merican Crow - 8
Carolina Chickadee - 2
Carolina Wren - 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1
Eastern Bluebird - 3
American Robin - 1
Northern Mockingbird - 4
Brown Thrasher - 1
European Starling - mixed flock with RWBB
American Pipit - 50
Orange-crowned Warbler - 2
Eastern Towhee - 1 (heard not seen)
Chipping Sparrow - 50+
Field Sparrow - ~10
Vesper Sparrow - 3
Savannah Sparrow - ~90
Le Conte's Sparrow - 3
Song Sparrow - 4
Swamp Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 10
White-crowned Sparrow - 1 (St. Gabriel)
Northern Cardinal - 12
Red-winged Blackbird - 100's maybe 1000's
Eastern Meadowlark - ? (heard not seen)
Common Grackle - 4 (but may have been more in mixed flocks)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 100's (separate and mixed flocks)

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