Same Water, Same Birds, Same eBird Report

The first snow of the year turned out to be a little heavier than anticipated.  I should have headed out earlier Saturday morning but the forecast said that first rain and then snow would be here early morning. It never got here until around noon. So by then I thought I would go out and check the local area but then it finally started to snow. And it snowed big, heavy flakes limiting visibility to a few yards. So I waited.

With cabin fever setting in I finally went out around 3:30.  The highlight in the freezing wind and cold was adding BALD EAGLE to one of my local patch totals.  It explained why the few GADWALL on the pond took off.

Sunday was sunny but cold, so I waited to noon to head out.  I was going to head to Johnson County Park but Mike called and said he was already there and not much happening except for 7 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS.

And Mike saw the exact same waterfowl I saw 2 weeks ago at Honker Haven – MALLARD, GADWALL, GREEN-WINGED TEAL. And in almost the same quantities.  Otherwise the lakes were clear.

So I decided to stay local.

A pair of American Kestrels at the local grassland. Greenwood – 11/22/15
A Savanna Sparrow checking to see who was out in the cold weather. Greenwood – 11/22/15

So I headed to my local ponds.

And just like Mike I saw the same waterfowl on the same ponds that I did 2 weeks ago. MALLARD, GADWALL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, AND PIED-BILLED GREBE.  The same species on the same ponds in about the same numbers. I should have just copied my eBird report from 2 weeks ago. And like Mike the other ponds were clear.

Really kind of creepy.

In the years I have been birding I can remember things not changing much in November. But I don’t remember things remaining this static like this for a few weeks.

Maybe the cold will make things move.  I hope so since we are getting close to the Christmas Bird Counts.

But there were a few changes this week. One was the lack of TURKEY VULTURES. I think this was the first weekend I hadn’t seen Turkey Vultures since last winter.  And AMERICAN ROBINS numbers went from flocks of 100+ to a couple of birds.

And there was one addition.  I saw a flock of birds across the field that I assumed was the local European Starling flock.  They would fly up and land like distant starlings do.  When I eventually made my way to that area the flock flew up out of the grass.  Not starlings but my first AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS of the winter and a largish flock at that. My estimate was 55 birds. It was too bad they were distant and the sun was the wrong angle to see of they had any other species mixed in with them.

The American Tree Sparrows were too distant to get a photo or to show their large numbers. Franklin TCP 11/22/15
A Red-tailed Hawk taken through the car window. I only post this photo because I’m sure it is the closest I have ever been to a Red-tailed Hawk. Kind of like being in a rehab facility where they are close in a cage. It flew in and landed by the car. I watched it for a few minutes and then it moved on. Greenwood – 11/22/15

I spent the rest of the afternoon walking the local park.  It was good to be out in the sunshine since I can’t stand the dark, depressing, shorter days of November. Not much outside of the expected species at the park although YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS still remain albeit in smaller numbers.

A Northern Mockingbird enjoying the sun. Just like me. Franklin TCP 11/22/15