Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
April has been pretty good, despite an excessive amount of snow this past week. At least it cleared up for the weekends. It really is amazing what happens when you focus on birding one very small area. I've had 2 more Common Loon sightings of birds flying over. On 4/12 I had only the second Broad-winged Hawk sighting for the yard, and then today I had 4 of them fly over.
4/12 ended up being a new big day for me with 43 species for the day. 3 birds that day for FOY, in Pine Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Broad-winged Hawk. Chaos ruled most of the rest of the week, and the cold temps and snow prevented much else beyond a FOY White-throated Sparrow. Waterfowl remains mostly Ring-necked Ducks with a few Lesser Scaup mixed in. 4/10 I had my first big group of Turkeys show up, with one trying to strut his stuff, despite the strong wind at his back. On 4/12 I had a very weird observation with 2 Tufted Titmouses chasing after a Red-bellied Woodpecker. RBWO are usually the most dominant birds at the feeders, but it apparently doesn't translate to the rest of the yard during spring. This wasn't just chasing away from one spot they chased it all over the yard.
4/19 I spent over 5 hours out in the yard in the morning. It was very active, and a nice southerly wind gave me some hope for some migrating raptors. I did manage the 4 Broad-winged Hawks, 2 Cooper's Hawks, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, and mid-afternoon finally had 3 Red-tailed Hawks. The best bird during that time period was 1-2 Bonaparte's Gulls. I recorded it as 2, but it could have been a single headed West the first time, and then East maybe an hour or so later. This was a new yard bird for me to put me to 147 lifetime. It also helped to contribute to 43 birds during that time period. A number I thought was a new Big Day high or April. It wasn't until I sat down to right this I found it was a tie. Luckily 2 Trumpeter Swans started calling at around 2125, making it 44 species for the day.
I should be able to set a high for April as I sit at 67 birds, with 68 being the previous high. Still a lot of birds missing potentially. It is really weird to see reports of Red-necked Grebe or even just Blue-winged Teal and not be chasing anything. I've gotten so comfortable just going out my door and birding I don't even desire to go chasing after anything like that. We shall see if it continues that way for the rest of the year, or even into next year. Chaos is beyond chaotic, and the Microscopic Menace continues to impact all facets of life. At least the birds just continue on like they normally would.
I had 90% of this post finished up when the tab decided to crash without saving anything I had written. This will probably end up being a "long story, short" post then.
February I didn't manage to hit a new high for the month. The water stayed frozen over so waterfowl ended up not being an option for the backwater here. I also only managed a tie of 22 species for a day. For some reason I was thinking I hit 25 in a day, but eBird doesn't reflect that in my summary. Maybe when I pull the data I can get it to make sense.
March turned out much better. 60 species for the month, and a new high of 40 species in a single day on March 8th. Well above the 50 and 33 as my previous. I also finished the month as the leader for the year, and the month in the state. Not that it will/would last for long.
April has started out good as well. I have been a little disappointed the waterfowl hasn't been as diverse as I expected. Still high numbers of Ring-necked Ducks, but no Northern Pintail, Greater Scaup, Canvasback or Ruddy Ducks have shown up in the backwater.
Highlights from the past 8 weeks since my last post.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)