Birding in Calhoun County and beyond
Having the day off on Monday November 6th, and a cooperative forecast I decided to try if I could try for more than 52 birds, my high for a November day. I set off for D DR S Wetlands, wanting to work my way down the right side of the county first. The small pond on Carver Road had a large group of Swans, that in the dark I thought were all Trumpeter. Upon closer inspection it turned out there were some Tundras closer to the the road, with some Trumpeter's in the back of the pond.
The wetlands at D DR S started out slow, but picked up pretty quick with 25 species sighted there. I reported one as a rare Clay-colored Sparrow, but have been told it is a Swamp Sparrow. It is the oddest Swamp Sparrow I've ever seen with very clear facial markings on it. Could be the sun and the position of its head, but it sure looked like it matched Clay-colored. Dark-eyed Junco, Fox Sparrow and Gadwall were first for this hotspot. Pine Creek Wetlands offered up very little, it was incredibly quiet there.
Short Road I didn't pick up an early Rough-legged Hawk as I hoped, but did get a group of 7 Ring-necked Pheasants there. It has been a great spot in the past, for 1-2 birds, but never a group of this many. Shortly after this I came across a scene from Hitchcock's The Birds. An incredibly large group of Red-winged Blackbirds, European Starlings, and a ridiculous amount of Common Grackles. I reported it as 600, but I'm sure there were way more than that. The group of birds was so large in the corn field across from the below yard, that is sounded like thunder when they lifted off. I wasn't able to discern anything but the above birds, and one Brown-headed Cowbird. No Rusty, or Brewer's Blackbirds to be found.
Homer still had Cackling Geese there, but the other Geese were much less abundant in the larger lagoon. A nice other mix of waterfowl, with a lone Northern Shoveler, some Gadwall, Mallard, Redheads, Buffleheads, Ruddy Duck and a couple of Canvasbacks. Double-crested Cormorants continued at this site also. This is the latest they have still been in the county.
Duck Lake WTP had a large group of Buffleheads with 87 there, but nothing else on the water. 4 groups of ~50 birds flew over, with them being mostly Rusty Blackbirds. Duck Lake gave me some good looks at a pair of American Coots, and a lone Ring-necked Duck, Common Goldeneye, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Horned Grebes and a Common Loon to add to the day count. A small fluddle on 21 Mile and R DR N brought the latest Dunlin to the county.
Last stop for the day was a walk around Baker Sanctuary. I had hopes for White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows, but neither were to be found. A juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker was a good sign for there. 2nd year in a row I've seen a juvenile there. It was a great bird to end the day with. 62 birds for the day, 10 more than my previous high for a day in November. Bonus it was a day away from Chaos.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)