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Weekly Report - 2016-12-23

The ground crunched under my sneakers as I ventured down the frosty trail on my last Friday morning bird walk of 2016. The walk produced 17 species, a respectable total for a cold winter morning. I observed lots of Canada Geese movement on my drive in, and there were many small flocks flying over the trail as they congregated on our local fields. The Northern Mockingbird was not in the shrubs behind the Basswood when I made my first pass on the main trail. However, I did have a Hairy Woodpecker chipping in the woodland section by the trailhead, which I believe is a first for that location. On my morning walk, I ran into my former student Ben’s father, Ron, and their two dogs! After catching up, I made my return walk on the trail. As I looked at the Basswood tree, a male Northern Cardinal was perched up looking handsome in the increasing sunshine. Suddenly, a harsh chip came from the tree line above and the Northern Mockingbird took a swipe at the Northern Cardinal, reclaiming its usual perch. Good to see many friends this morning at the end of 2016!

Another noteworthy observation includes a large mixed flock of blackbirds over the Francis Harvey Green grounds. The mixed flock contained multiple species including Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and European Starlings. This time of year, we see these large blackbird flocks heading to local farm fields to feed. Keep an eye out for these flocks at dawn when they are on their way and again at dusk when they are heading back to their nightly roosting sites. Where are they coming from? I’m not entirely sure, but I’ve been told they roost in marshes in Delaware and Maryland overnight. If you can see one of these flocks, it’s a truly incredible sight!

Here is the eBird checklist from the morning:

Bethel Springs E.S.--Nature Trail

Dec 23, 2016

7:35 AM


0.25 miles

14 Minutes

All birds reported? Yes

Comments: Brisk morning with a good amount of bird activity! Also, very fun to walk the nature trail in my pajamas.

Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.4.1 Build 113

38 Canada Goose

1 Hairy Woodpecker -- Heard in the forested section to the left side of the main trail right by the trailhead. Might be a first for that location

1 Northern Flicker

6 Blue Jay

5 American Crow

1 Carolina Chickadee

2 Tufted Titmouse

1 White-breasted Nuthatch

2 American Robin

2 Northern Mockingbird

1 European Starling

3 Dark-eyed Junco

6 White-throated Sparrow

1 Song Sparrow

3 Northern Cardinal

3 House Finch

2 American Goldfinch


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