Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Sky Opened Up! With BIRDS!

Hokey Smokes! What a delightful morning! We had our biggest turnout of birders (22 at max) and our biggest turnout of birds, both in terms of the number of species and of individuals. Flocks of Blue Jays poured through.

Blue Jay

Flickers were everywhere.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

I've never witnessed such a huge number of Bonaparte's Gulls on the move before!

Bonaparte's Gull

We had at least 30 Brown Creepers, and I had to confirm that because the number was considered high for eBird. None cooperated for photos! Neither did any Yellow-rumps or kinglets, but we did have one semi-cooperative Palm Warbler.

Palm Warbler

Sharp-shinned and Broad-winged Hawks streamed through.

Broad-winged Hawk

A few cormorants streamed by.

Double-crested Cormorant

There were lots of Horned Grebes far out, and some a bit closer to us.

Horned Grebe

We also had a John Richardson sighting. He's a great birder and a wonderful human being—a guide I strongly recommend, who made sure we knew about the Northern Mockingbird that has been hanging around near the airport. It's possible we actually saw 2—our first bird seemed to be moving toward the airport, and then when we moved further north up the point, we had one closer to the main parking lot. I counted it as one because I couldn't be certain, and with a rare bird it's better to err on the side of caution.

Northern Mockingbird

And because one good Mimid deserves another, we had one or two Brown Thrashers as well!

Brown Thrasher 

We of course searched for the Smew and Avocet seen yesterday, and the Willets that were seen this morning, but no luck. With so much on the move, including voracious raptors, it's not surprising that they weren't lingering.

Our most cooperative critter of the day was a frog. I'm thinking it's a Northern Leopard Frog, but if someone tried to tell me it was something else, I'd probably believe you.

Northern Leopard Frog

48 species (+2 other taxa)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  6
Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)  4
Redhead (Aythya americana)  6
Greater/Lesser Scaup (Aythya marila/affinis)  50
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  4
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)  6
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)  2
Common Loon (Gavia immer)  1
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  2
Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)  50
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  20
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)  30
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  2
Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)  10
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  1
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)  1
Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)  1200     Huge flocks calling and flying overhead and along both the bay and the lake
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  40
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  6
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  50     Many flying over and calling from trees everywhere
Merlin (Falco columbarius)  1
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  800     Big flocks flying over entire time we were present. This is a minimum number
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  15
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  1
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  15
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  6
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  2
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  30     Probably an under-count--they were all over today, by the recreation building, the dunes, and on the bay side in the trees.
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)  10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  35
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  3
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)  2
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  1     John Richardson saw first and told us where it was hanging out, and sure enough!
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  8
Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum)  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  10
American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)  1
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  2
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  4
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  8
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  20
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  6
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  8
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)  1     On ball field. We heard it give the chatter call note a few times, and saw the yellow throat with creamy, not yellow, malars.
Rusty/Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus/cyanocephalus)  6 flying over
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  10
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  25

After the main bird walk, a few people hung on to check out the birds at the Yacht Club, behind where the old Bayside Market used to be. We added 6 more species!

Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)  6     Flock flew rapidly overhead away. All were very dark, including belly. I studied them as they moved along, having trouble getting a clear look at the wings, but when they finally banked, they didn't have the large white patches in wings of White-winged Scoters. They did have white on nape--some very intensely white-- and some with female's face patch.
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  2
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  2
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  2
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  1