Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Birdy New Year

January has started and gone, all the lists have been wiped clean and we start afresh.  A new year to try for as many birds as possible, simply in an effort to get outside when you would rather be inside and warm.  A new year list is started for campus trying to see how this year will compare with the past few years of great birds.  It seems a fitting and unsurprisingly good time to do a recap of 2012 as we welcome in 2013.

Something Surprising:
Winter Wren finally made it on the list.  This small wren is seen most often in winter and likes to find little wooded moist areas to winter in.  They are not uncommon species but can be tough to track down especially in certain years.  Luckily, we had a migrant stop right out our front door while it was migrating south.  Then another was heard on the Christmas count illustrating that there are decent numbers of this species around this winter (Nov. and Dec.)

Winter Wren- (actually from out west)

Something Exciting:
A Nashville Warbler!  New to the WC list and a beautiful bird.  This little warbler is fairly common and we got ours.  We had a decent push of spring warblers this summer including Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, and Yellow Warbler to name a few.  The Nashville Warbler made us smile the most though!

Image borrowed from

Something Outstanding:
Well it's actually two somethings, two birds that were both new for our West Campus list and one that was a life bird for both Sue and myself.  I spotted a Sandhill Crane one day while returning from a lunchtime walk.  The crane was a flyby and fairly distant but still falls within our 'protocol' for what we put onto our list.  The second bird a Lark Sparrow, I first spotted it on my drive in and then Sue and I quickly turned around and went to relocate it.  This is a definitive life bird for me and a pseudo-life birds for Sue. Luckily we had some great looks at this one!

Lark Sparrow- super zoomed

Something Amazing:
It's a number 106.  That is the number of species that made it onto our year list this year.  When you look at the list to the right in this blog you can see that we have only seen 128 species in the four years we have been birding on campus and we saw 106 of those 128.  I would say that's a fantastic percentage.  If we could only spend more time outside and less time inside working I'm sure we could make that number even better.  ;-) 

Hope you all had a great 2012 of birding and we wish you all an even better year of birding for 2013!  It's not the numbers the count, it's the birds.