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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Great Backyard Bird Count: Day 2

I got out for two and a half hours of birding this afternoon in the sunshine, out to see how many species I could find in my bigger backyard of San Juan Island. It was chilly and unfortunately with the wind a lot of the passerine birds were either hunkered down or difficult to detect in the waving branches. As a result I wasn't able to top the 44 species I saw during the GBBC two years ago the island, but finished the day with a respectable 38 species.

My first stop was Jackson Beach where the highlight was my only western gull of the day. The yellowlegs was no where in sight, but I did also see my only three green-winged teal in the lagoon. American Camp and South Beach were pretty quiet, but there was good birding to be had at Cattle Point where I found a flock of 17 black turnstones. Out in the turbulent waters of Cattle Pass were a lot of sea birds, including a red-necked grebes, horned grebes, pigeon guillemots, harlequin ducks, surf scoters, double-crested and pelagic cormorants, and my first Pacific loon (126) of the year.

I stopped by False Bay, and though it was high tide there wasn't much bird activity. The large flock of mew gulls was mixed in with the large flock of pintail, both of which seemed to be foraging on the sandbar that was still out of the water. I spent the rest of my birding time driving around some of the inland roads of the island, mostly looking at some of the freshwater lakes and ponds. I turned up many of the expected ducks, and had to pull out my camera for a close encounter with some trumpeter swans:

Adult trumpeter swan in the sun

Pair of immature trumpeter swans in the shade
Toward the end of the day, I also found a single common merganser, which made for a three merganser species day, which is always cool.

Here's my species count for the day:
  • Canada goose - 18
  • Trumpeter swan - 22
  • Mallard - 2
  • American wigeon - 50
  • Northern pintail - 100
  • Green-winged teal - 3
  • Ring-necked duck - 30
  • Lesser scaup - 10
  • Harlequin duck - 8
  • Surf scoter - 6
  • Bufflehead - 115
  • Hooded merganser - 2
  • Common merganser -1
  • Red-breasted merganser - 12
  • Pacific loon - 3
  • Common loon - 2
  • Horned grebe - 10
  • Double-crested cormorant - 20
  • Pelagic cormorant - 30
  • Bald eagle - 10
  • Red-tailed hawk - 1
  • Black turnstone - 17
  • Mew gull - 100
  • Western gull - 1
  • Glaucous-winged gull - 120
  • Pigeon guillemot - 4
  • Belted kingfisher - 2
  • American crow - 25
  • Chestnut-backed chickadee - 6
  • Red-breasted nuthatch - 1
  • American robin - 6
  • European starling - 120
  • Song sparrow - 1
  • Golden-crowned sparrow - 2
  • Dark-eyed junco - 6
  • Red-winged blackbird - 10
  • House finch - 2

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

A good effort Monika, just failed! That gives you an average of 41 species, thats the target for next year, also a tilt at beating 44 species, something to look forward to in a dull February :-)