Sunday I was joined by Megan Bowman and Jules Erwin as we counted the SE Quadrant of the Johnson County CBC. The weather was mid-20’s with a 15-25 mph wind and overcast. In other words it was cold.
We started off well with 3 Eastern Screech-Owls, 2 Barred Owls, and 2 Great Horned Owls calling. Well, starting off well as long as you don’t mind one of the screech owls swooping down and thinking about taking taking your hat off. We then had good luck at Irwin Park in Edinburgh including a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a hit or miss bird on this count. On leaving Irwin Park I spotted a lone Ring-billed Gull flying down river. A very rare bird for the count.
On to Driftwood SFA which turned out to be frozen over except for a seep at the east end of the south lake. This turned out to be productive with the only Killdeer, Wilson’s Snipe, and Eastern Phoebe found on the count. Of course I had to verify it was a seep by walking on the edge and sinking into the muck up to my knee. Somehow I didn’t get wet, just muddy. I am sure it was pretty humorous for the ladies watching.
On the way to the Kokomo Grain Elevators Jules spotted an immature Bald Eagle and we picked up numerous sparrows and finches. At Kokomo there were a couple hundred Horned Larks, 20 Lapland Longspurs, and 100 House Sparrows. But no Snow Buntings. We left one House Sparrow short when a American Kestrel appeared out of no where for Sunday Brunch. It attacked right when we were leaving. I wonder if it was using the distraction of our vehicle to put the other birds off guard? If so, it probably has been using that tactic with grain trucks for sometime.
A few photos of the American Kestrel with its catch.
Megan spotted a Red-shouldered Hawk as lunch approached.
As the noon-thirty lunch approached the skies cleared and the winds picked up. The total tally was in the low 60’s with our group in the high 40’s with no waterfowl. We went out after lunch but it seemed colder and we didn’t add any birds except for the fore-mentioned snipe and phoebe that I found on a double check of the seep on the way home. And no, I didn’t walk out to check if it was frozen this time.