Big May Day Count – SE Johnson County

Sorry for the late report. I should have had this out earlier this week but in one of those rare times life has taken priority over birding. And will continue to do so for the next few weeks.  So postings might be sparse.

I once again covered the SE portion of Johnson County for the annual IAS Big May Day Count.  In a nutshell I was out from 4:30AM to 5:30PM covering Atterbury FWA, Driftwood SFA, Irwin Park in Edinburgh, the south portion of Johnson County Park, and a couple of areas along roads that usually hold particular species.  I birded alone except for an hour or so around lunch when I was with Mike Clay.  The weather in the morning ranged from light showers to heavy downpours at times which severely limited photo taking until afternoon and made several changes in plans on when and where to bird.

My final count was 101 species compared to 95 last year adding 12 FOY species. The difference was a couple more warblers and in the fact we had less participants.  After lunch I went out and found a few more birds we were missing on territory that would have normally been covered in the AM. The preliminary final count for the county was 133 species versus 127 last year.

My highlights were going out early and hearing both Barred and Great Horned Owls.  Black-billed Cuckoos were calling from two different locations at dawn, with one being at a marsh which makes one think Least Bittern. But it is a small marsh and sounded like a cuckoo.  A Double-crested Cormorant was at Driftwood, always hard to find in Johnson County.  A flock of Cedar Waxwings showed up in one spot, the first I had seen all year. Irwin Park had Prothonotary Warbler and Red-headed Woodpecker again this year. A lone Dickcissel was at the usual field north of Edinburgh. The retaining pond on the way into Edinburgh held 7 species of shorebirds including Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpipers, and a Dunlin. And I discovered a new spot for Bell’s Vireo in Atterbury after whiffing at Johnson County Park.

Some of the misses were American Woodcock and Sora, the first time in the last 5 years I haven’t heard either one on a May count. The weather through me off so I didn’t get to the Grasshopper/Savannah Sparrow area.   And the Eurasian Collard-Dove was not in Franklin.

Following are a few photos Mike Clay took on the day at Johnson County Park.

IMG_4080_YB_cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

IMG_4073_willow flycatcher

Willow Flycatcher

IMG_4085_blue grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

And the only decent photo I got on the day – Yellow-throated Vireo.

YTWA Atterbury 051014

 

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