Friday, December 18, 2009

Cold and clear.

A very bright, very cold day - so we sought shelter down in the river bottoms. Sounds like Louisiana... The floods from last Wednesday had receded and any remaining standing water was frozen! Our goal was to explore upstream from the Nature Reserve footbridge as far as we could go. The Oyster River itself was flowing along, but mostly under thin ice. Just as in warm weather, water can be a bird magnet - so there was some activity along the edges of the stream.
John James Audubon's Canada Goose

Today's birders: Lynn and Sue
Today's birds:
Canada Goose
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Red-tailed Hawk - two
Mourning Dove
Downy Woodpecker
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
American Crow
Blue Jay
American Robin
Northern Cardinal - a group of 12
Black-capped Chickadee
American Goldfinch (heard)
White-throated Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird

The cardinals were actively flying about, from the brushy slope down to the water, from there up into the cottonwood trees then back to the bittersweet tangles. There were several females, with their subtle golden-gray coats and bright red bills, but mostly males, in varying shades of bright to dusky red. Their strong clear "chip" notes followed us as we made our way along the river bank.
John James Audubon's Cardinal Grosbeak, our Northern Cardinal

Tomorrow is the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count in our area, and though we will not be counting birds here at West Campus, we will submit a list of birds we've seen to the area compiler. If nobody else counts a Barred Owl tomorrow, then Lynn and Scott's sighting of OUR Barred Owl - again - two days ago, will be added to the area list! Most of our other birds are very common, and will likely be counted elsewhere.

To all of you who will be participating in Christmas Bird Counts this weekend - good luck, and have fun!

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