Monday, December 30, 2013

big day highlights

in honor of Neil Hayward's record-breaking big year, I thought I'd take advantage of mild weather and a day off to do my first "big day" (see list below). 

kicking things off at the Huntley Meadows Monday walk did not disappoint, as I picked up a life bird (American Wigeon) and many other lovely water birds.

made my way up to Dyke Marsh/Belle Haven in hopes of more water birds, and though the weather was gloomy, the second life bird of the day (Canvasback; part of the raft shown below with buildings for scale) lifted my spirits. the raft of Canvasbacks was massive, as were the numbers of Great Blue Herons and Ruddy Ducks.

after lunch and coffee, I finished the day at Riverbend Park, where water birds were in full display. from Common Mergansers to Buffleheads to Pied-billed Grebes to a flock of well over 50 American Coots, there was plenty to keep my mind off the quickly-dwindling temperature. this, by the way, was the second time in two weeks that the group of American Coots were present at Riverbend. you can find them on the northwest side of the island (south of the boat ramp).

in all, I managed 60 species (I'm sure the number would have been much larger were I more skilled at IDing). a good day indeed.

list with locations
Canada Goose (all 3 sites)
Gadwall (all 3 sites)
American Wigeon (Huntley)
American Black Duck (all 3 sites)
Mallard (all 3 sites)
Northern Shoveler (Huntley)
Northern Pintail (Huntley)
Green-winged Teal (Huntley)
Canvasback (Belle Haven: huge raft!)
Redhead (Riverbend)
Ring-necked Duck (all 3 sites)
Bufflehead (all 3 sites)
Hooded Merganser (Huntley)
Common Merganser (Riverbend)
Red-breasted Merganser (Riverbend)
Ruddy Duck (all 3 sites)
Pied-billed Grebe (Dyke Marsh; Riverbend)
Double-crested Cormorant (Dyke Marsh)
Great Blue Heron (all 3 sites)
Black Vulture (Riverbend)
Turkey Vulture (Riverbend)
Bald Eagle (Riverbend; Huntley)
Red-shouldered Hawk (Huntley)
American Coot (50+ at Riverbend!; 1 at Huntley)
Laughing Gull (Belle Haven)
Herring Gull (Belle Haven)
Ring-billed Gull (Belle Haven)
Great Black-backed Gull (Belle Haven)
Rock Pigeon (all 3 sites)
Mourning Dove (all 3 sites)
Red-headed Woodpecker (Huntley)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (all 3 sites)
Downy Woodpecker (all 3 sites)
Hairy Woodpecker (all 3 sites)
Northern Flicker (all 3 sites)
Pileated Woodpecker (Riverbend)
Blue Jay (all 3 sites)
American Crow (all 3 sites)
Fish Crow (all 3 sites)
Carolina Chickadee (all 3 sites)
Tufted Titmouse (all 3 sites)
White-breasted Nuthatch (all 3 sites)
Winter Wren (Huntley)
Carolina Wren (all 3 sites)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Riverbend; Dyke Marsh)
Eastern Bluebird (all 3 sites)
American Robin (all 3 sites)
Northern Mockingbird (Huntley)
European Starling (all 3 sites)
Eastern Towhee (Huntley)
American Tree Sparrow (Dyke Marsh)
Song Sparrow (all 3 sites)
Swamp Sparrow (Dyke Marsh)
White-throated Sparrow (all 3 sites)
Dark-eyed Junco (Riverbend)
Northern Cardinal (all 3 sites)
Red-winged Blackbird (Huntley)
Rusty Blackbird (Huntley)
House Finch (Dyke Marsh)
House Sparrow (Riverbend)

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