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Weekly Report - 2017-02-24 - I Thought There Were Going to Be Six More Weeks of Winter...

February 25, 2017

This morning's unseasonably warm day made for the birdiest morning of 2017! Winter birding is generally slow on the Nature Trail at BSES, but today's conditions broke the streak and produced an absolutely spectacular!

 

I hadn't even made it out of the parking lot when I observed Eastern Bluebirds perched in a tree on the lot's perimeter. I even heard them singing their springtime song that they use to attract a mate, and upon my arrival, it seemed the male was doing just that. The male Eastern Bluebird landed on a nearby bird box and begin doing a courtship display for the female, which seem to reply favorably by landing on the box with the male. Then, the female jumped down and begin to explore the nest box. I'm hopeful that these birds take up residence in this box, but I'm shocked to see such behavior happening in the month of February!

 

Next, I walked to the trail itself for my usual route. I was greeted with a flurry of songbird activity. Song Sparrows singing from eye-level shrubs, White-throated Sparrows scurrying among leaves in the understory, and Northern Cardinals perched high to announce their regal presence! Looking high in the sky, there was even more action overhead! Lots of migrating geese were heading north to their breeding grounds in northern Canada. There were quite a few Canada Geese, but the morning flight was dominated by Snow Geese! Among a flock of Canada Geese, I found two white geese. The first was definitely a Snow Goose, but one next to it was smaller in size with shorter, thinner wings. A very similar species, Ross's Goose, shows some of these features and looks almost identical to a Snow Goose with the exception of a few minute details. I could not tell if this bird was for sure a Ross's goose, but it was certainly a very strong candidate. As much as I wanted to identify it as such, I wasn't able to see any other identifying features to make the call. If it were confirmed a Ross's Goose, this would've been bird number 116 for the trail checklist! But alas, it is yet another one that got away...

 

Finally, a bird that was marked as a rarity this time of year in eBird, two Killdeer were circling over the trailhead singing their very distinct song. I first heard the two birds overhead, and then I spotted them as they flew lower and snapped a few photographs. They do breed here in Delaware county, but they typically are not found in this area during the winter. Perhaps the warm weather caused for their early arrival. Oddly enough, there were two other observations of Killdeer in Delaware County this morning!

 

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34762807

Bethel Springs E.S.--Nature Trail

Feb 24, 2017

7:28 AM

Traveling

0.25 miles

23 Minutes

All birds reported? Yes

Comments: Unseasonably warm temperatures made for a super active morning! Highlights included two flyover Killdeer and one bird that looked  potentially good for a Ross's Goose.

Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.4.2 Build 114

 

121 Snow Goose -- An estimate for a flock of 120 individuals +1 individual with a flyer flock of Canada Geese.

1 Snow/Ross's Goose -- Photographed flyover that looked good for Ross's but could not be confirmed.

21 Canada Goose

2 Killdeer -- First heard then observed two high flyovers circling the parking lot at the trailhead.

3 Mourning Dove

2 Red-bellied Woodpecker

1 Hairy Woodpecker

1 Northern Flicker

8 Blue Jay

7 American Crow

3 Carolina Chickadee

2 Tufted Titmouse

1 Carolina Wren

2 Eastern Bluebird

5 American Robin

4 European Starling

4 Dark-eyed Junco

5 White-throated Sparrow

6 Song Sparrow

2 Eastern Towhee

4 Northern Cardinal

2 Red-winged Blackbird

12 Common Grackle

2 Brown-headed Cowbird

2 House Finch