Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
What has felt like a weak Fall Migration surely isn't reflected by the numbers. It has been absolutely frustrating on the lack of shorebird habitat. Homer water level is way too high. Duck Lake WTP didn't drop their water level until early October. Far too late to catch most of the birds that should be found there. I have slim hopes of some late Dunlin and Pectoral Sandpiper, along with White-rumped and Baird's Sandpipers. Homer water level needs to keep dropping though.
Back to the numbers. September didn't "feel" like it was particularly great. When you look at the numbers though, it was my best September species wise ever. The 111 species seen topped my previous high of 103. A Swainson's Thrush being the only FOY added is what made it seem like it was less than spectacular. But the numbers don't lie. I saw a lot of good birds in September. 9 of which were new for me for September. A Northern Waterthrush being the highlight of those 9.
My takeaway is you can be one of those people who reflexively dismiss any sort of "counting" as less than pure, you can be an extreme about it as just ticks, or it can be used to help balance the subjective. The Northern Waterthrush was a first for the county in September. They just don't get seen on Fall Migration around here. It makes that sighting even more special.
October started out well with my first October Ruby-throated Hummingbird. October also brought my first Swainson's Thrush for that month. The jackpot was when the Cranefest site was finally opened. The year-long nemesis of Common Gallinule finally showed up for me, with two juveniles mixed in with some Coots. A juvenile Northern Harrier also made an appearance over Marsh Lake. The following weekend the American Wigeons I didn't catch the week prior were numerous, as were a pair of Northern Pintails. I dipped on Winter Wren at Baker, but several migrating Bald Eagles made it worthwhile. I was hoping for some Red-shouldered Hawks to pass by, but Red-tailed were the only other raptor.
Things seem like they are later this year. Leaves turning colors, large flocks of Geese are at Homer, but nothing mixed in with them. To hit 200 is still going to take at least 3 of the rare geese we've not seen this year. I'd feel better about it if the Dunlin and Pec would make an appearance though. The path to Duck Lake may end up being a very common place for me in the coming months as Gulls may be needed to push things over. In the meantime Chaos has given me a week off, but felled me with some physical Chaos to try to overcome. Hopefully I can make some good use of this time and find some good birds that are early for Novembird.
This Leucistic juvenile Trumpeter Swan gave me some great looks at D DR S.
Some other bird highlights included some juvenile Bald Eagles playing Red Baron over Baker Sanctuary, a really nice day for Warblers at Woodland on 9/21. I think it was 16 species overall, and a captive Eagle at Cranefest.
Not much for non-bird highlights. The moths have dwindled down quickly this fall. I really need to ditch the LED lights and get a better setup if I'm going to try to just attract them nearer the house instead of inside the garage. I think the Mourning Cloak was new for me. I thought it was just a really roughed-up Swallowtail of some kind. The "inchworm" I have in iNat as a Fall Cankerworm Moth, but not verification yet. The really cool looking one is a Black-blotched Schizura Moth. First one for me. Hoping to see an adult at some point.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)