Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
The year started out with a bang, literally. Fireworks in the area just past midnight spooked up some Trumpeter Swans and Canada Geese. This was just the start to a new high for a day with 17 species. A Sharp-shinned Hawk glimpsed outside the window as it went after the feeders was followed shortly after by Red-tailed Hawk making a weak attempt itself. This Red-bellied Woodpecker had the most extensive red I've seen before. I've not caught it since though.
January 2nd was even more fruitful with 19 species. Cooper's Hawk soaring with some Red-tailed Hawks was a nice surprise. Mallards and a Hairy Woodpecker were new additions to the monthly total. The female cismontanus Junco also made an appearance. January 3rd was dominated by Chaos, but January 4th proved to be the biggest January day yet with Belted Kingfisher and a pair of Bald Eagles adding to the monthly total. 20 species in total were observed on the 4th.
The highlight/lowlight on the 4th was the Sharpie was successful in nabbing what looked like a Junco based on the grey feathers. It was down the hill about 120 feet plucking feathers. The photo opportunity was weak, but I decided to let some video run off the camera. It wasn't especially exciting or even the best shot, but it does show it taking just over 11 minutes of plucking feathers and devouring the bird. I only managed to find a few bits of innards and feathers after it flew off. I only caught just the flash of it coming at the feeders and then chasing something down the hill. By the time I got glass on it, it was sitting on the downed log surveying the surroundings. It wasn't till I saw feathers fly I knew it was successful. It was inevitable it would get lucky at some point. There isn't much in the way of cover right now. One junco bumped into the window trying to get away, just feet from my face. Even with the paracord to try to break up the reflection.
I did a little less birding on the 5th, but still managed 18 species with Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull and quick looks at some Cackling Geese pushing me to 25 for the month. 5 days in and have surpassed my previous high for the month in the yard. I have a goal to hit 30 before the end of the month. Should be doable with Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, Rock Pigeon, Great Horned Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Eastern Bluebird still highly likely.
Not sure if the Big Yard will continue to be as interesting and fun as it has been for the extent of the year. 5MR may be a next level limiting factor, but for now going to dig what I'm doing. There is still Beadle Lake with open water to hit that is not out of the way to hit when I do have to go out. I have my sights set on getting to 150 for the full year and pushing the lifetime up a bit closer to 160.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)