Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The last few days it has been in the 60's here so on Monday and again this morning I went birding at Mason Farm which is part of the NC Botanical Garden here in Chapel Hill. Both days proved to be pretty good days for birding. Monday I was walking about from 1-2 PM, and today I was out there from 10-11:30. Both days proved to be very good woodpecker days. I saw lots of downy (photo above--click on it to enlarge), red-headed and red-bellied woodpeckers. I also saw a few flickers, 1 pileated woodpecker, and heard a yellow-bellied sapsucker. The only local woodpecker that I missed was a hairy.
The other main bird group over the 2 days were sparrows including white-throated, chipping, fox, field, and song plus lots of juncos. Other birds noted include red-tailed hawk, common grackle (unfortunately no rusty blackbirds were in the flock), blue jay, cardinal, northern mockingbird, brown thrasher, hermit thrush, carolina and winter wren, brown creeper, american crow, eastern bluebird, white breasted nuthatch, carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, yellow-rumped warbler, turkey vulture, great blue heron, canada goose, and the barred owl in the photo just below.
After I finished my walk this AM I gave John Vanderpoel a call to check on how his second graylag goose chase was going. He had missed it on Monday, and again early yesterday morning, but finally had a brief view late yesterday. This morning he, Doug and Liz had better views before John headed south to Albany, NY to catch a flight to TX where 2 brown jays have been visiting the feeders at Salineno for a few days. After seeing a golden-crowned warbler and 2 aplomado falcons in south TX last week, he is now at 737 birds for the year. After his return to TX he plans to go to CA for a pelagic trip, and then next week to Adak, AK to seek out more rarities. With the brown jay plus some good fortune at Adak the ABA area big year record of 745 birds would be in striking distance. We are rooting for you John. Stay tuned!