Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
Not quite as Big a Day as yesterday, but I'm starting the Yard focus today. Surpassed my previous December Yard-high of 17 within 90 minutes of the start this morning. Between window watching and standing outside for well over an hour I managed 22 species. Highlight being a new Yard Bird with two of the Cackling Geese from Beadle Lake sighted flying over. I had that as a target considering the Geese fly out of there right over the house regularly. I also tallied 827 Canada geese both flying out and flying in, along with 31 Trumpeter Swans. The Swans coming in groups of 2, 7, 15, 5 and 2 overhead. FOY for the yard Herring Gulls along with some Ring-billed Gulls also floated above. Finally a male House Finch with a head that reminded me of Peppermint Candy made a brief appearance at the feeders.
My next focused birding time after noon brought the returning Dark-eyed Junco (cismontanus ssp.), along with a White-crowned Sparrow. Checking my past sightings it looks like this is a latest date for the White-crowned for me. Nice surprise on the ground, and for the day.
My last outing before dusk had 531 Canada Geese flying out of Beadle Lake, a few Sandhill flying in, and the White-crowned Sparrow returning. I was sitting at 23 species at this point. A very high pitched squeak coming from a woodpecker put me on a Hairy Woodpecker for #24. I had several instances where the birds vacated the feeders quickly, but never could find what was causing it. Likely missing the Sharp-shinned Hawk setting up nearby. Just before I had given up for the night I caught #25, Red-tailed Hawk soaring just over the tree tops. The only yard birds I had had previously this month, and missed today, were Carolina Wren and the Sharpie.
Looking forward to seeing what else shows up with some more concerted effort in my yard in the coming year. It was still just as relaxing and enjoyable as driving 100+ miles searching around the county, or walking around one of the local hotspots for 4 hours. The Herring Gull and Cackling Goose gave me 117 for the year, and the Cackler was number 145 in total. Herring Gull, Eastern Bluebird and White-crowned Sparrow pushed the Month to 27, which is higher than previous high of 24 for December in the yard.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)