An Amateur Birdwatcher's tally
Did you participate in the Great Backyard Birding count? I did. Two days last weekend I counted birds in the area. It was interesting, though I didn’t come across any unusual birds. I enjoy doing feeder watch and GBBC counts. It makes me feel like a part of a community. Also, I feel I am contributing to science. I am not a scientist, but I can help real professionals with data about birds, where they are, how many and what they are doing.
So, on Saturday, I visited one of my favorite spots near Emerald Downs in Auburn, WA. I’ve spoken of this rural like spot in my blog before. I saw three types of ducks, a Hawk, a blue Heron, a Robin, and a whole bunch of crows. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon and all the crows were settling in for the night. Also, there was a batch of Canada geese surrounded by hundreds of starlings. I wished that there was killdeer but, though I looked hard, I saw none. That was my first count.
Then, on Sunday, I went out to Flaming Geyser Park. Of course, I took my dogs, as usual. Maggie and Katie had not been out to the park for 2 weeks because of the snow. Katie particularly was excited. Flaming geyser park is her favorite place in the world except for home.
We counted five species even before we left home. At the feeders were white crowned sparrow's, house sparrows, juncos, scrub Jays, and chickadees. As we drove through the city streets, we saw pigeons, Seagulls, and crows on lawns and lamp posts. A big red-tailed Hawk also perched on a lamp post off the freeway. That made 9 before we started our birding properly.
Along the way, we saw 2 blue herons, mallard ducks, Canada geese, another Hawk- not sure what kind, and Robins mixed with starlings. The temperature stayed steady at 36 degrees. Much of the water, in ponds and in the fields and in the streams, was iced over.
But Katie and I walked in the park. The songs of 2 Red Wing blackbirds followed us throughout the stroll. The ferns were frozen, disappointing my little dog who absolutely loves those ferns. I thought I saw a wren, but I wasn't sure, so I didn't count it. We wandered for about 30 minutes, more dog walking then bird watching.
A kingfisher hung out over the marsh. A blue heron stood in the icy water undisturbed by the chill. Here in the park, snow still rests on the ground. Little Katie Hops and leaps like a Jack rabbit. She doesn't seem to mind the white stuff. But it is awful chilly. So, we pull back into the car and head home.
For the past several weeks we've witnessed to 2 kestrels on wires but this week they are missing. 17 species of birds aren’t a bad deal. Later, at Walmart, I watched blackbirds and snapped some pictures. But I didn't count those in my Sunday list because it was later. Check out my gallery of pictures on bird paparazzi.
This week, author Pamela Murrey broke her right wrist. She is right handed so some of her posts over the next few weeks maybe delayed.
My birding notebook
It was a snowy weekend. We could not get out of the driveway for much of it. So I filled my feeders and watched for the breakfast crew. Here is the start of my birdwatching experience. Later, I added pigeons, crows, gulls, and starlings. It was a slim week. But the snow is good for all in the long run.
I started updating my bird journal. This year I want to be on the lookout for birds common in King County, WA that I don't see much. I'm using check lists to figure out what I have seen and then check off what to seek. This weekend gave me a chance to start that project on paper. Maybe this next weekend I can get back out with my dogs for some real birding!
As I said last week, I bird watch in a different way that a lot of experts do. Parking lot birding, for example, can entertain me for hours. I use my camera far more than I use binoculars, especially the zoom. Some days I meander through, counting birds. Last week I identified more birds on Saturday than I did in my actual birding journey on Sunday!
On Saturday, I saw 3 types of sparrows, 2 types of chickadees, juncos, scrub jays, stellar jays, mallards, two types of hawks, seagulls, crows, robins, pigeons, a flicker, Canada geese, starlings, an eagle, and a blue heron! Quite a birding day!
In a quick jaunt to Flaming Geyser park on SundayI saw:
Seagulls. House sparrows
Red tail hawk. Pigeons
Blue heron Mallards
2 hawks in a tree. Robins
1 starling - which is very odd in farm country! Starlings can be nuisance birds in the country like pigeons can be in the city. They like a crowd. Did this lone bird not get a memo? Everyone else met on the wires in Kent? We'll never know.
I love birdwatching. It's relaxing and fun. Even though I've been birding for over 10 years I classify myself as an amateur birder. I plan to write a blog a week about my experiences. Hope you enjoy them!