Birding in Calhoun County and beyond
April started off slow until April 9th when Duck Lake paid off with not 1, not 2, but 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Pretty rare gull for this far inland, let alone to have multiples of them. 2 Osprey returned to the nest at the Cell Tower on F DR N on April 10th.
April also saw extremely high counts of Lesser Scaup at Duck Lake WTP. I had a high of 606 on April 9th there. Doug McWhirter had 950 there on April 16th. The lagoons there were packed with ducks for an extended time period this spring. It was amazing. It made it even more challenging to try to pick out the Long-tailed Duck each time there.
April 12th Dr. Dale Kennedy located a Snow Goose at Homer WTP. Homer would pay off again on April 15th with a lone Caspian Tern there. A second Long-tailed Duck for the spring was at Homer on April 21st with a smaller group of Lesser Scaup.
Also on the 21st one of the more unique birds to show up in Calhoun County was found at Duck Lake WTP. Along with the continuing Long-tailed Duck, I noticed a very odd looking Blue-winged Teal. The crescent on the bill was unusually narrow, the bill was fairly large and its sides were extremely rufous. I put it down as a Blue-winged Teal, but took plenty of pictures. After some review of the pics there was no way it was a full Blue-winged Teal. My notes from my checklist:
Dan Toronto and Leah Dodd found a Black-crowned Night-Heron at Meijer retention pond. About 3 years after I found 2 of them in the same spot. This bird may have been hanging around for longer as another one was reported at the nearby airport on May 12th. Another excellent bird for Calhoun this Spring.
Because of the cold weather we endured for most of the Spring I was well behind getting the soft top on my Jeep to do some "mobile hawking". Luckily while leading a Kellogg Bird Sanctuary field trip on April 28th at Woodland Park, an keen-eyed observed noticed a raptor across Gethings Road in some trees. FOY Red-shouldered Hawk was in view for a few minutes before taking off. I was definitely sweating getting this bird this Spring (still have not seen another one as I write this in late June).
One last highlight for April was Yard Bird #136, Great Egret on April 18th. It was a good April, but lacked any extremely high numbers. No record High Day, or record pace. That was about to change with a truly great May for birds in Calhoun.
Here on the first day of summer I will try to play a lot of catchup. Chaos has ruled the day/week/months. It has been through some extra effort I've tried to get out there and not let the Chaos rule every day. It was a very good migration for myself and the County, topped off by a first county record in the past week.
Since my last update I've found 118 FOY birds within Calhoun county, quicker pace for the year 2 months in a row, 2 new monthly high numbers and 2 new Big Day in a month highs (including a milestone I thought might be possible).
For the rest of March some highlights:
I need to do plenty of catch-up, but wanted to put this up and see how the GIF looked. I was taking some pretty decent pictures of a Drake Mallard that was swimming by the Duck Lake boat launch dock. He was nice and close, with some great low sunlight shining through. After he swam by I got back on the scope, when I suddenly heard a loud commotion near shore. The Mallard was attacking a second Drake Mallard by the shore. I started to snap some bad pics of the altercation. It wasn't until about a minute later I realized there was a third bird at the bottom of this mix spending quite a bit of time under the water. The second Drake was intimately involved with the female, and this time of year that apparently didn't sit well with the other. It took quite a while until the three of them took off in flight, one pursuing the other.
The next day I arrived at work, and meandered towards the far side of the parking lot to check out the drainage pond in front of our building. I notice a small white goose, mixed in with some CANG. I head back to my Jeep, pull it around to the far side of the parking lot, and put my scope on it (luckily I had left it in there). Sure enough another Ross’s Goose (or maybe the same one as the two sightings were about 4 miles away). Best work bird ever. Unfortunately a couple of birders doing big years in that same county did not make it there in time before the visitor traffic likely spooked it.
Not much else during the week despite hitting up flooded field on D DR S once more. Wild Turkeys are back to being somewhat regular yard birds now that it is warming up, a little. Several nights of freezing weather have iced over most of the flooded farm fields, and many of the lakes.
March 10th I hit up the airport, hoping some Meadowlarks might finally show up. No dice there, and the ponds were iced over. D DR S was iced over, but did get a large flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds mixed in with Red-winged Blackbirds on the way there. Unable to pick out anything else. Finally nabbed Cedar Waxwings, and had a bird I thought might be a candidate for Brewer's Blackbird. When I was able to get the photo in Lightroom the rust on the feathers showed themselves. Q DR S had little to offer either. Was thinking maybe I could try for some groups of blackbirds to sort through. I might be a couple of weeks early.
Homer WTP was iced over, but a group of 19 Greater White-fronted Geese were hanging out in the grass near some Canada Geese. Gordon Lake just offered a nice opportunity to snap a pic of a pair of Trumpeter Swans, but did have some open water with little on it. Duck Lake also had little to offer in numbers, but some decent diversity. Surprisingly Wood Duck was a new one for me there. Lake of the Woods did give me some flushed FOY American Wigeon, but again heavily iced up.
A last ditch trip to Ackley Lake proved to be a great last trip of the day. Some minor icing up (was worse on Sunday), but lots of diversity and some decent numbers. The 159 Ring-necked Duck tagged as high. Finally got FOY American Coot, and Herring Gull. One interesting Herring Gull I have posted to Whatbird.com for help. Just seemed like a bit dainty for a Herring Gull, but I think too many other field marks rule out a thayeri (Iceland Gull). All in all I netted 55 species of birds today, besting my previous high of 53. Not a bad day at all.
The sunny days continued on Sunday, unfortunately it was DST (not a fan), and it just felt like I was later than usual to everywhere. There were no blackbirds on my usual spot of A DR S and 12 Mile Road, again I think I am looking to early. Upper Brace Lake had some decent numbers and diversity, but they were mostly in the back again due to icing on the lake. I hoped Stuart Lake at the Brooks Nature Area may have more open water. It did not. It did give me a decent look at a "Grey Ghost", male FOY Northern Harrier. Stuart's Landing was also a bust with only a pair of Swans and 4 Canada Geese on the river.
I headed to 23 Mile Rd and O DR N to see if maybe I could get some better pics of the Northern Shrike. I didn't locate it yesterday, and dipped again today. It may have moved on. I did manage a FOY Eastern Meadowlark. I almost was going to leave the area without recording it. There were numerous European Starlings in the area, and they do spot on imitations. I did put my eyes on one signing though, so was able to "count it".
Duck Lake, again, was quite disappointing. Long-tailed Duck was seen there last weekend, but it didn't stick around. Still no Common Loons for the year, and it remains the best chance for a county first White-winged Scoter. I hit up Ackley lake again, and it was about 80% iced over. The birds were concentrated, but had some really good diversity again. It was a little early for the Gulls to come in and roost though.
I've spent quite a bit of time trying to get the focus adjusted on my camera. Haven't been happy with several pictures lately. It seems to be front-focusing. I think I have it dialed in now, but have to get back outside and see if the adjustment improves things.
Didn't realize I never did any update in February. The beginning of the month started very slowly after adding a pair of Hooded Mergansers on the Millpond in B.C. on 1/31. A vacation day on 2/2 allowed me to catch a FOY Cooper's Hawk out the window. Birds were extremely sparse on Saturday 2/3. Bailey Park had 9 species, Grever's only had 8 species. One lone Northern Pintail drake at Bear Lake stood out of the day as a FOY. I still managed to escape the chaos and be home in time to get checklists put together, although some days tougher than others.
Spent the following weekend on home projects, and clearing out from a ridiculous amount of snowfall. Finally on the 17th I was able to get out and do some birding. The rivers were still somewhat open, but not so much on the lakes. Bailey Park had a pair of Hooded Mergansers that flagged as rare. Other spots including Bear Lake really didn't yield much in terms of diversity. I decided to hit the area around R DR N and 19.5 to 23 Mile road. I was missing Lapland Longspur for the year and decided to see if I could find some mixed in with Snow Buntings.
T DR N near a nice S Curve flushed a Red-tailed Hawk that I watched head to the North into some trees. When I put my eyes back on the road, there was a second Red-tailed Hawk on some road kill. Turned out to be a really nice abieticola specimen. I was able to grab some decent photo, of a truly gruesome nature.
As I moved down O DR N checking for Snow Buntings I had a thought "If I ever find a Northern Shrike, it will probably be up here". Here being at the East end of O DR N where it runs into 23 Mile Road. This is one of my favorite spots, that isn't a hot spot. It is my go to spot for Bobolinks, and was a huge spot for the Dickcissel irruption last year, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Eastern Meadowlarks. I also expect to get Upland Sandpiper in this area, when I finally get one. It is a hayfield on the North, scrubby brush-land dotted with small trees and bushes to the South, and on the East of 23 Mile road a large cow pasture with multiple smaller trees and a small cattle pond. As I get within 100 yards of 23 Mile Road I see a bird take off from one of the small trees along the south side. It looked like a Blue Jay, but didn't fly the same. I turned South onto 23 Mile Road where it looked like the bird flew. I located the bird at the top of one of the large trees in the cow pasture. Put my binoculars on it, and was not expecting to see a bird with the black mask. Finally my lifer Northern Shrike!!!
This is a bird I expected to pick up a while ago, but just was never lucky enough to run across one. It is a code 2, and ranked 195 through 2017 data. This bird was without a doubt my most "Birding Mojo" bird ever. I literally "willed" the bird into existence, at this spot <muwahahahahaaaaa>. Really wish I could have gotten better pictures of it at the time. As it turns out I probably could have considering as of today, 3/4 it was still being found in the same area.
Barnes Park gave me FOY Carolina Wren, and the Red-breasted Mergansers at Whitehouse were still present on the 17th. Prior to leaving for a trip out-of-state on the 20th I finally nabbed Sandhill Crane and Red-winged Blackbirds in my yard.
While I was gone the area experienced some heavy flooding, and turned many of the local farm fields into mini-lakes. On March 1st I was able to get out on time and hit up one of these large "fluddles" on Betz and Beckley road. 4 FOY followed here with Northern Shovelers tagging as rare to go along with some Canvasbacks, Lesser Scaup and finally some Killdeer. Beadle Lake gave up FOY Horned Grebe, along with Pied-billed Grebe the next day.
On March 3rd I decided to hit up Homer WTP hoping the influx of waterfowl would have this place teeming with potentially good birds. So very wrong. Just a handful of Canada Geese, Buffleheads and a lone Common Goldeneye. Barnes Park didn't offer up much else, except a FOY Common Grackle. From there I decided to hit up the spot on O DR N where the fluddle brought us the Long-billed Dowitchers, and Caspian Terns. I figured this would also be flooded, and boy was it. FOY Green-winged Teal, Gadwall and finally Ring-billed Gull. Not sure if there was too much other in there unique, as a juvenile Bald Eagle swooped in and kept harassing the ducks that did hang around. Duck Lake WTP gave up some early Northern Shovelers that tagged as rare. I tried for the Shrike briefly but was unable to relocate. FOY Rusty Blackbird flagged on P DR N, with some good looks.
With the sun slated to be out a second day in a row I headed back out on Sunday 3/4. I decided to check out the damage at Woodland Park. It was not good. Lots of flooding throughout the park. Much worse than I have ever seen it there before. A distant Ring-necked Pheasant called while I was there, but not much else there other than the normally expected birds (although Song Sparrow numbers here and at the airport flagged as high at 3 or more). Hart's Lake had the opposite with the water level down for the most part, and very minimal waterfowl there.
From there I decided to hit up the flooded field on D DR S. It was good for some waterfowl last year, so I decided to try it again. I noticed a small white bird mixed in with some Canada Geese, and my initial look I thought I finally got my FOY Herring Gull. As I pulled up closer and was able to get my scope on it I observed a small white goose with a very small bill. Ross's Goose!!!! Really nice find for the county, as it is a Code 4 bird. This site was not done yet, as I kept scanning there were 2 Cackling Geese mixed in with the small flock. 3 Tundra Swans, and 10 Wood Ducks added to the FOY count for this site. Upper Brace Lake and Brooks Nature Area, brought nothing significant so I called it a day. 17 FOY birds within the past 4 days was a nice jump to the number for the year.
We finally had the first Code 3 bird show up for the year this week...and I dipped on it of course. On the 24th two Snowy Owls were reported at Kellogg Airport. The checklist stated it was in a restricted area, but I recognized the buildings in the background. It was an odd location, but viewable from East Airport Road. When I arrived I was greeted by a cacophony of cawing American Crows. Approximately 500 of them on the near side of the runway. I drove to 3 different spots to try to look for them and found nothing else but a large family group of Trumpeter Swans do a flyover (2 adults and 6 juveniles).
Chaos seemed to take hold a lot this week as my feeder counts were extremely lacking in quantity and quality. Saturday morning, 1/27, I was awakened by a Great Horned Owl calling from the woods. Was worried something happened as it has been some time since I've heard one call from there (looks like I heard one on 10/22/17, and prior to that was nearly exactly a year prior on 1/27/17. I hit up Bailey Park trying for the female Gadwall that had been reported there, and I dipped on last weekend. No luck trying to pick it out there, but the Redhead and Ring-necked Duck were still there. I noticed a small, chunky bird hanging out in a tree over the river. I though accipiter at first, but when I got my glass on it I saw the heavy streaking on the chest. Turned out to be a Merlin hanging out there. Nice and unexpected find.
From there I hit Grever's Nature Preserve, where it was unbelievably quiet. Definitely no chance for any winter finches there. After traveling around some backroads I decided to give Pine Creek Wetlands a shot for some raptors. Talk about quiet, there was near nothing there (Crow, Jay, and Chickadee). The highlight was my first interaction with an LEO while birding. Nearly 4.5 years, and have been mostly left alone. Apparently this spot is a place "where people do, what they do". A couple of minute delay trying to explain, briefly, about birding, eBird, citizen science and I was on my way. I decided to give Marshall a shot since the weather had warmed up hoping for some open water. Stuart's Landing was extremely promising but just Mute Swans and Canada Geese on the water. I gave up on Brooks Nature Area after 19 minutes with the ice still thick enough to support a fisherman, and nothing calling out. On the way home I found 17 Trumpeter Swans in a farm field, with 8 adults and 9 immatures. An extremely large group together for this area.
Sunday I had somewhat of a plan, and it started with Grevers. Much more birdie in the morning this time. Finally snagged a FOY Brown Creeper. Also still nice to see a Red-breasted Nuthatch show up there. From there I hoped maybe some Gulls would be hanging around the Landfill. Again no such luck. From there I decided to try for Red-headed Woodpecker at Baker. I had a few calls and drumming that may have been it, but not enough for me to call it. I heard several Trumpeter Swans calling from the marsh areas. A couple of times I thought maybe there were Sandhill Cranes calling, but it was never clear. I swung by Lake of the Wood remembering that it is fed by a small creek so there was a chance for open water. A small patch held a small family group of Trumpeter Swans, 2 adults and 2 immature. Duck Lake was packed with ice fisherman still, and completely covered.
I received an eBird alert on 3 Greater White-fronted Geese (finally) and tried for them at Bear Lake. The curse of the sunshine was between the mirage and accursed back-lighting I couldn't pick those or Red-breasted Mergansers out. I decided to try to see what Homer looked like. Upon arriving on the south side of the Treatment Plant I scanned through the large clock of Geese and found 3 Greater White-fronted Geese (GWFG) hanging out there. Finally a rare bird for me for the area. Although not as apparently rare as I had thought.
Upon looking at my coding the Merlin actually ranks rarer than the Geese, by 1 (199 versus 198). Both are Code 2, but look like they are close to Code 3 birds. The Merlin surprised me that it ranked that high, and the Greater White-fronted Goose that low. Last stop was trying for Hooded Mergansers at the Millpond in Battle Creek. Again, dipped on those. The GWFG were my 48th bird for January. I don't have high hopes for picking up number 49 before the month runs out. Unless something magically appears at my feeder when I am home, or I get up the gumption to go after a Barred or Screech Owl one evening.
The Red-breasted Merganser and GWFG made 74 for the county so far this year. Again a great start considering there haven't really been any really rare birds pop up until this week, just early for timing on a few. At this time last year Calhoun was at 56 birds. Maybe we can get to 220 by the end of the year.
I redid my checklist from Whitehouse Nature Center from last week. The White-throated Sparrow I thought I had, could have possibly been the Swamp Sparrow that Kiehl Smith had a couple of days later. Very similar look from the front, and I now think it probably was a Swamp Sparrow based on behavior I observed prior. But with me being unsure of it, I changed my checklist to sparrow sp., thus making my "Big Day" for January only 32 birds.
A cold kept me from doing much this past week. I did manage to run to a couple of places on Saturday that I could hit with just sitting in the Jeep, and not walking around. Bailey Park had some decent waterfowl show up. I dipped on the Gadwall, but managed FOY Trumpeter Swan, Ring-necked Duck and Redhead. This pushed me to 44 for the year so far. Still a chance to surpass my high of 48. Still quite a few birds I could have chased had I been able to get out more, and actually do some walking. Pine Siskins have shown up, off and on, throughout the week at my feeders, but not Redpolls yet.
Similar to last year the year is starting out good for the County overall. Top 15 currently in the state, and really without any rare birds, in terms of other than timing. This time last year, which was a fast pace to start, Calhoun had a count of 54 species. With 3 unconfirmed species reported this weekend (Sandhill Crane, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Northern Pintail) we are up to 71 species seen so far this year.
After a few day of warm-up, melting of all the snow, and then a small storm and quick drop in temps I worked from home on Jan 12th. Occasionally checking the feeders I spotted 2 Pine Siskins at the nyjer seed feeder. They were there just briefly, and have yet to appear again. Nice pickup for early in the year, but about 12 days too late for last year's count.
After just feeder counting on the 13th I hit the road on the 14th. As I headed out I noticed a bird flying across a small farm field. It flapped continuously like a Crow, but seemed way too big. Shortly after it glided a bit, and the white tail and head started to appear. Nice way to start the day with a Bald Eagle. Reports of Red Crossbills in Jackson had me hoping that maybe we had a chance for some here. I checked Grever's out in the morning. Found yet another trail there I've never been on before. Overall it was relatively quiet there with only 10 species seen. However some Red-breasted Nuthatches were noisily calling in the pine trees. Nice to have a somewhat reliable spot for these birds nearby.
I drove around a few other of my familiar haunts around the R DR N/19.5 Mile Road area. I was hoping to find a Snow Bunting group that might have some Lapland Longspurs mixed in. No luck, but I did get some decent shots of another abieticola Red-tailed Hawk near 23 Mile Road and O DR N. O DR N also brought me FOY Mute Swan flying out over the field.
Having seen some open water at Bridges Park and 11 Mile Road, I checked 25.5 Mile Road and B DR N for waterfowl. Plenty of Canada Geese, Mallards and Common Goldeneyes. McClure Park had a FOY Common Merganser. Barnes Park had a much smaller area of open water, and only gave up a small group of Canada Geese. From there I hit up Whitehouse Nature Center. In recent weeks that area has had Common Redpoll (nemesis lifer for me), White-throated and White-crowned Sparrow, and a Hermit Thrush. I stalked the feeders for a bit, and spooked up over 200 Canada Geese that were on the river. Did manage to briefly spot the White-throated Sparrow. A short walk down the main trail and a bird moving around in the bush I initially passed off as another American Robin based on size and shape. A closer look as it turned toward me, and just as it started to call, I realized it was the Hermit Thrush.
All in all Whitehouse turned out very well for me with 23 species there. A Common Goldeneye with what initially looked like a very odd bill caused me to give it some closer looks. The head feathers flattened contributed to the bill looking much bigger than normal. In addition to the Hermit Thrush and White-throated Sparrow, I spotted FOY Great Blue Heron and American Robins. This put me at 42 birds for the month/year so far. High being 48 previously, and 2 more weekends to go I think I'll try to see if I can break 50 for January. The Hermit Thrush also put me at 32 birds for the day, tying my high for a day in January. Driving through downtown Albion I didn't manage a European Starling, to get above it. As I stopped for gas I yet again was unable to find one in a typically reliable spot. It was as I neared home that I spotted 5 of them in a tree near the train tracks. 33 birds for the day for my unintentional Big Day for January.
Maybe we will get some more water opened up before the end of the month so I can try to score some waterfowl. I probably need to hit up Kolb Park for Carolina Wren. See if I can nail the Peregrine Falcon downtown. After that Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Brown Creeper, and Trumpeter Swan are probably my best bet, outside of trying for some owls.
Hard to think about goals for this year for the county, knowing the available birds are getting harder and harder to locate. As I wrote last time I saw 8 new ones, and dipped on 7 others. So I do believe getting to 235 is within reach. Not sure I am going to stretch that too much farther. I also think I will try to get to the #300 ABA, and with no out of state travel plans this year I will need to be more willing to just head somewhere else in the state to pick up those 6 (or less) birds. So 235/300 will be what I am aiming at for the year.
Most of the beginning of the year was focused on trying to achieve my other goal of seeing daylight at home every day. It did allow me to catch birds on the feeder, and start out the year with an eBird checklist every day. It brought nothing very interesting except the normal winter birds. It wasn't until Saturday the 6th I went to head out and spooked a Red-tailed Hawk into the trees. I watched it fly up, and then stepped back inside after turning the Jeep on remotely. I looked back out in the yard and saw what I thought was a pile of leaves, which was odd considering the amount of snow we have. Suddenly a second Hawk flew up from the ground and headed up into the trees. I grabbed my binoculars and observed a dead squirrel in the spot the hawk had been. So at least one of them had some good hunting.
After heading out I decided to check out the state of the river in the area. Very frozen everywhere I looked. Not much hope for some winter waterfowl. I decided to continue to try to find my first self-found Snowy and hit up the G DR S area. Upon heading down E DR S I observed a Red-tailed Hawk in a tree, possibly abieticola, but too far away to tell. A little bit farther down I had a large bird with a dihedral flying above a farm field. Now oddly enough the expected bird this time of the year that would be similar would be a Golden Eagle. Which of course I'd have to say "Where were you a week ago?". Alas it start rocking slightly in flight, and the bright flight feathers meant I had a January Turkey Vulture. Something I never expected to see this time of the year. It beat my earliest sighting by over 2 months. Shortly after that a Bald Eagle came floating across the same field.
On January 7th I stopped at Bridges Park after seeing some Mallards in the small amount of open water there. FOY Mallards, and a very hardy Belted Kingfisher were there. I then hit my main target of Grever's Nature Preserve. I will likely be hitting this area up at least once every weekend this winter. Red Crossbills were observed in Jackson county, and this Preserve has a small collection of conifers. It is likely my best bet for any of the winter finches. I took some trails I've not taken before, and one took me back to an area overlooking a large wetland area, where I had a FOY Song Sparrow. This Preserve has some very promising areas I've not been too before and I look forward to hitting it up this Spring and Summer. I'm especially intrigued by the wetland area. I knew there was one back there, but didn't realize the Preserve had trails that could take me back to it. Always trying to think of places to find American Bitterns, Least Bitterns and other wetland birds.
Grever's gave up a couple of Red-breasted Nuthatches and a Pileated Woodpecker. A large group of Crows near the Landfill caused me to stop there and see what action, if any was going on. The Crows were joined by Starlings, a lone Red-tailed Hawk and Bald Eagle. No Gulls there at all. Hitting up the northern part of the Count of Snowys brought me a FOY Rough-legged Hawk on T DR N. The nice spot on O DR N gave up a flock of Snow Buntings, but not Longspurs.
From there I worked my way down to the Kalamazoo River and 25 1/2 Mile Road to try to finally get a Canada Goose for the year. I was sick of the eBird alerts for one of the easiest birds. That and to check to see what else may be on the River. On B DR N, near the Longspur spot from last month I found no snow birds, but did locate a group of Mallards with one American Black Duck mixed in. The River did give up a single Goose and some Common Goldeneyes. One last bird of note was a Hairy Woodpecker in the yard on the 7th. It never stopped on the suet, just landed on the tree long enough to ID it, and then it was off.
Sitting at 35 birds for the year. Not a bad start, and maybe a chance for hitting record of 48 from 2016. Something potentially to shoot for. Would probably take quite the effort though, especially with little to no open water.
Warning "number-nerd" stuff ahead. Going to do a review of my year, the year for Calhoun County and some updates to the data I use from the 8 county South-Central Michigan area from eBird (Branch, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Barry, Eaton, Jackson, Hillsdale and Calhoun).
My goal for the year was to get to 230 birds for lifelist for Calhoun. I managed to do this with the help of an armchair add, and 8 other new birds found this year. The 9 new birds I added to my list were.
The first 3 were all found on the same spot on O DR N in a flooded farm field that Dr. Dale Kennedy first located. Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Black Scoter were firsts for the County. As far as potential County lifers I missed out on last year:
35 birds I go new Earlies dates in 2017, not including the 8 new birds for 2017. 38 birds with new late dates in 2017, not including the 8 new birds for 2017.
Calhoun County had its best eBird year yet with 218 birds reported, 2 more than last year. There were 3 County firsts added over the past year, including the Iceland Gull. I now have the overall list at 274 birds (I think I need to take out Blue Grosbeak and add Passenger Pigeon based on some information I found today). There have been some historical records added to get eBird to 255 birds listed though. So a good year for Calhoun overall.
For data for my area there were 8 new birds added to the eBird data, to bring the total for this area to 309 species. I know the number should be much higher as Kalamazoo Nature Center has over 330 for Kalamazoo alone, but I'm just going off eBird data. Birds added to the dataset:
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)