Friday, December 31, 2010
New Year's Eve 2010
It is the afternoon of New Year's eve and almost the end of my big birding year. I have been home since Christmas eve, thoroughly enjoying spending time with my family. I did go birding this morning with my local birding buddy Pam. We hit 3 spots that we have visited of late to see what was about, always hoping to get better looks at rusty blackbirds which are around Chapel Hill in the winter, but are not found in great numbers.
At our first stop we counted probably 3-400 common grackles that flew over. There were also a few red-winged blackbirds. Moving onto our second spot, which is only about a mile away from the first site, we also saw lots of grackles but this time they were out in the marsh feeding. We kept scanning the grackles that were up in the trees and located a couple of female red-winged BB. Then we found a group of 7 female rusties which we watched for a bit until they flew high over our heads.
The rest of the morning was spent at our 3rd spot where I was able to get the photo above of a hermit thrush which winter in our area (click on it to enlarge). The morning also gave us red-bellied, downy, pileated and red-headed woodpeckers plus a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Some other birds seen included golden-crowned kinglet, carolina chickadee and wren, tufted titmouse, eastern bluebird and phoebe, brown thrasher, white-throated sparrow, american goldfinch and crow, turkey vulture, hooded merganser, mallard and canada goose--all local birds for us during the winter.
So week #52 + 1 day is nearly over with 47 birds seen or heard. My year to date total remains at 704 birds seen. Bob Ake has ended his full ABA area year at 731 birds, and his friend John Spahr saw 704 birds for his full ABA area year. This is the 2nd time 3 birders have seen 700+ birds in the same calendar year in the ABA area. At the bottom of the right hand column I have added a new section listing the birds I saw this year but were not ABA countable. I will be doing a few more blog entries over the next few days to offer some reflections and musings on this past year of birding, eating and travel. Stay tuned!