Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
The last 10 days of April really started to bring on the birds. It also brought on a trip beyond the driveway or the first time in over 4 weeks. April 20th brought the FOY Osprey flying over. April 21st a Red-tailed Hawk took a hard pass at the feeders and had to do an abrupt pull-up about 20 feet away from the house. I finally was able to see quite a bit of exactly how it goes after the feeders. It does dive down from a high soar at the feeder, not just waiting in a tree and attacking.
This spring also bring about some surprising aggressiveness in species. I've seen the following aggression this past couple of weeks.
April 26th I escaped the driveway and went to 12 Mile Road to check to see if the flooded pasture was shorebird viable. It was way too flooded. It did get me a County FOY Blue-winged Teal and Barn Swallow. Beadle Lake had some FOY Ruddy Ducks. I just cannot get them on the backwater though. There was also a FOY Double-crested Cormorant. I decided to keep driving since I was out, and hit up D DR S Flooded Field. I located a Lesser Yellowlegs on 1/2 Mile Road on the way. D DR S Flooded Field gave up a FOY Ring-necked Pheasant, American Wigeon, FOY White-crowned Sparrow and FOY Eastern Meadowlark. I then hit up the fluddle on H DR S and found a FOY Dunlin, Greater Yellowlegs and Horned Lark. It was nice to get out, but very eerie. Even for a Sunday it was extremely quiet out.
Chimney Swift on the 24th and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on the 25th seemed like a weak weekend for FOY for the yard. The real big wave of migrants wasn't until I was still in the midst of the busiest time of Chaos. Partially normal busy time, but also the microscopic menace caused Chaos. Squeezing time in very early, and late, after the Chaos had been dismissed brought in 7 FOY between the 28th and 29th.
The 28th brought FOY Palm Warbler, Warbling Vireo, female Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a nice flyover of 6 Double-crested Cormorants. The 29th had Black-throated Green Warbler calling, Gray Catbird and a Green Heron calling from the backwater. These birds brought the April total to 77 birds. Above the high of 68 previously. I continued to push new highs for April Big Days. April 23rd I managed 45 species, and then amazingly I managed 48 species on April 28th!! I really was hoping I could push that to 50 species, but it wasn't until May 1st that I broke 50, with 53 and then 51 on May 2nd.
April 29th had 44 species, of which were a Cooper's Hawk that came straight down at the feeders. Again I heard a smack on a window right after it came down, and I went to check out the front door. The COHA had nabbed a female Cardinal and was covering it, but took off as I opened the door. I have belatedly tried to remedy that situation this weekend with some parador strings across the windows now. Hawk need to eat, but they should earn it. As the COHA took off it looked like something smaller was chasing after it. I walked out there a little after the incident, and sure enough a Sharp-shinned Hawk was perched up in a tree in the direction the COHA took off towards.
May 1st turned on a FOY switch with 6 FOY popping up.
While May did bring some good birds, they didn't carry over to today, May 3rd. It was extremely quiet this morning. I was expecting way more Warblers to start showing up. Also no FOY showed up in the yard today. Still it is a good start to the year, and a good start to May. I sit at 63 birds already for May, with a target of 100. 97 birds for the year. A really good start on the target of 150. With Chaos being home-based for at least another 2 weeks, and probably extending beyond that, and a mandatory absence of Chaos due next week, I should be able to catch prime yard migration timing.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)