Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
Today ended up being an inadvertent Big Yard Day. In the morning I managed 18 species mostly looking out the window. 3 Rock Pigeons were FOY on the flyover, along with the normal feeder birds. The unbelievable 40 House Finches flagged as a high count. I know I have a lot of them but never this many. Ring-billed and Herring Gull flyovers helped to add to the list, and the cismontanus female Dark-eyed Junco showed up again.
The little surprise was a small sparrow that settled not 12 feet from my eyes outside the window. I thought "That is awfully small for a Tree Sparrow", and put my binoculars on it. Sure enough this bird had a pink bill (not yellow lower, black line through eye, not spot on chest and a weak mustache. A rather lost Chipping Sparrow was in the yard. It flew next to the house and I lost it. Never saw it again the rest of the day, nor when I went outside to see if I could find it next to the house. It is a first eBird January record, assuming it is accepted.
I went out later in the afternoon to see if I could beat the high day of 20. Trumpeter Swans flew past calling and I knew I'd get to 20 with the Canada Geese that would fly in. Now I had to just get out and find some additional bird to get to 21. It wasn't long before a Brown Creeper was seen out the window. Now I just had to see how far I could push it.
Sure enough Canada Geese did show up as well as Mallards flying in/out of Beadle Lake. A Cooper's Hawk streaked across the backwater shortly after. To top it off I saw a large flock of birds flying behind the trees. They turned back towards me and land right above and in front of me. 29 American Robins had looked to potentially roost for the night in the yard. They did eventually move on, no doubt due to my presence out there. The Robins pushed me to 24 for the day. Not bad considering coming in to this year my high for the month was only that. I now sit at 29, and should be able to get that 30th bird with more than half the month still left. Still have fun with the Big Yard and looking forward to seeing what else shows up.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)