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Weekly Report - 2017-11-17 - Ode to the American Robin

This week's notes are dominated by one species in particular: the American Robin!

When I arrived for my weekly walk, they were everywhere I looked. Every turn I made, I flushed groups of American Robins. Everytime I raised my binoculars or camera to the trees, robins would pour out to perch elsewhere. This was great practice in photographing American Robins, but it was also a great exercise in studying their individual variation. I was able to muster up an estimated total of 130 individuals. Looking back on eBird records, I had a similar occurrence to today's phenomenon on nearly the same day two years ago:

November 15th, 2015:

133 American Robin

No flyovers this time. Robins peppered all over the trees and shrubs on the trail. Exact count, but there could have very well been more.

Pretty cool to see that now we have so many records that we can go back and start to see patterns in bird behavior! I didn't observe this in 2016, but it is likely I wasn't out birding the morning that American Robins dominated the trail. I will try to be out next year on a more regular basis to see if this phenomenon is a reliable pattern this time of year!

Aside from the American Robins, there were a few other interesting observations including eighteen Cedar Waxwings. I was able to snag a few photographs of some of them!

Another noteworthy observation was one Bald Eagle seen soaring over the Kindergarten playground on Friday 11/17. The bird was observed by Mr. McLaughlin's 5th grade class and Mrs. Uniacke's 1st grade class, and they even got photos and videos of it! This is the sixth record of the species on the property and the first record of this species that was photographed. Of all six records, five of them occur between late October and mid-November.

Bald Eagle by Mrs. Uniacke's 1st Grade Class, 2017-11-17

Here's the checklist from this week's walk:

Bethel Springs E.S.--Nature Trail Nov 17, 2017 7:34 AM Traveling 0.25 miles 20 Minutes All birds reported? Yes Comments: Sunny morning with temperatures in the high 40s. American Robins dominated the morning. They were everywhere I looked from the parking lot to the trails. Observed a very similar phenomenon almost one year ago on November 20, 2015. Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.6.1 Build 25 2 Canada Goose 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 American Crow 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 130 American Robin -- Estimated total, possibly more. All birds were observed on the ground foraging in the parking lot, along the Deer Meadow Lane trail, and all the treetops in between. A constant flurry of bird activity, nearly overwhelming! Looking back on old records, our high count of this species was on 11/20/15 with 133 birds. In the notes of that checklist, I remarked a similar observation to this one. 20 European Starling 18 Cedar Waxwing -- Possibly more 6 Dark-eyed Junco 1 White-throated Sparrow 1 Song Sparrow 2 Northern Cardinal 1 American Goldfinch


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