Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Bird Count - Area 8

I participated in Audubon's Christmas Bird Count for South Whidbey yesterday. It was my first time birding. I told them I couldn't identify birds, but I could count. I was on Nancy's crack team of birders for Area 8. I was assigned the job of note taker, recording the counts of every species we spotted. It was 37 degrees, windy and raining. Nasty conditions for finding birds or for being a bird, I would imagine.

After a while I had to draw the line. Literally. I turned the bird count book over to someone else, stayed in the car to warm up and sketch at this location.

Maxwelton Valley
The real birders are those dark scratches in the distance huddled together looking for birds in the freezing wind and rain.

Counting birds at Maxwelton Beach

I do believe I distinguished myself as a novice birder by identifying a brand new species at the Maxwelton Outdoor Classroom, the Chartreuse-Crowned Hawk. Can you spot her? She's quite magnificent.

A rare sighting of the large, but elusive, Chartreuse-Crowned Hawk

 The only other bird I identified turned out to be a leaf.

When I bailed after a lunch of the best chili and cornbread I've ever had (note to self: must get Nancy's recipes), we were up to 40 species, which I am told is quite low. The most prevalent birds we found were Pine Siskins and Canada Geese, I think.  Last year they did the South Whidbey bird count on a beautiful sunny day and our team identified 60-some species.

1 comment:

  1. There we are, immortalized in Sue's sketch, looking like tender saplings in beautiful surroundings. Despite the cold, wet, windy day, it was fun, especially when we got to go inside and eat Nancy's delicious chili. It wasn't a very birdy day, but everyone was a good sport. And there were some nice bird moments when we saw the beautiful Hooded Mergansers, when some of the group saw 100 American Widgeons, and when six Golden-crowned Kinglets led us on a trail through Whidbey Institute. The Kinglets were as interested in us as we were them. Thanks Nancy and David for organizing and hosting us. And thanks Sue and Dan for posting the sketches and photos