I did my third Big Monthly Walking Day today. I wanted to go Saturday but with the weather I knew it wouldn’t be productive. So I had to go on Sunday. The problem was it was my wife’s birthday and my daughter went to work at two. So I had to cut the morning walk to be home by 10:30 or so. I then planned to go back out later in the afternoon.
I started the day in a different area, a little farther out in the country. I figured I would get grassland and country birds. Wrong choice. I only heard a group of Horned Larks and nothing else that I wouldn’t get in the city. But I did find a Red-tailed Hawks nest only a half mile from home. And an Eastern Meadowlark was at the edge of town.
The morning turned out to be what I expected, no great surprises or misses.
The only real surprise was a Swamp Sparrow where I didn’t expect one and there was a pair of Eurasian-collared Doves instead the usual one I have been seeing.
I walked a little over 5 miles and ended up with 37 species.
For the afternoon I needed to go to the Lowes pond – 3.3 miles – a little over an hours walk with no where to bird in between. I decided to forgo the walk but keep it in the spirit of BIGBY, so I rode my bike which only took 20 minutes to cover the distance. The pond had the usual birds with a changing Horned Grebe the best looking bird.
And to think it was frozen only a little while ago?
I then rode out to the local high school to pick up the remaining grassland birds. With that accomplished I was done for the day and started what I thought would be the half hour ride home.
Riding through the industrial area I went by a new building that has a retention pond that is filling up. I saw some white birds and figured they had put out some fake swans to scare off the geese. I then got closer and the white geese moved. They were by some Canada Geese and heading over the edge but from the distance my first thought was Ross’s Geese!
I then had to ride around the back of the building and and walk through some mud to get a better look.
By their small size they sure looked like Ross’s. A closer look showed the small bill with no discernible “grin patch”. Looked good for Ross’s but since I have seen so few of them or even that many Snow Geese for that matter, and then usually at a distance, it still is a tough call.
The best picture of the day.
I then headed home having walked over 5 miles, biked over 11, seeing 54 species on the day, and another county first for me.