Today I ventured down to the Tidal Basin and Hains Point to look for birds. The Tidal Basin was almost completely frozen over, with only a few ring-billed gulls standing on the ice. The Washington Channel was also mostly frozen. It was frozen across in some places, open in others, and partly open with chunks of floating ice in other places. The areas around the boat docks on the far side of the channel were mostly open; these patches held small groups of mallards and coots. Hundreds of the three local gulls huddled in large flocks on the ice. Other waterbirds included a red-breasted merganser on the channel and a dozen lesser scaup on the Potomac. I was surprised to find seven great-blue herons during my walk; they must have fled from other areas in D.C. to find open water. About half way to the point, I saw a merlin perched in a tree. It was quite close to the road and did not flush when I approached. A juvenile bald eagle was perched on the large snag at the end of the golf course, while crows mobbed around it. Not too many songbirds were visible around the park. Most of the songbirds I saw were clustered in a few areas sheltered from the wind.
In the late afternoon I walked over to the Indian Museum to see what was around. Mostly the birds were the same as on Friday, but I did find a couple swamp sparrows in the museum's wetlands area. As I stood to watch them, a snow shower suddenly arrived. The flakes fell so densely that I could not see the Capitol from the Museum. The snow fell furiously, but the shower did not leave much behind.
Checklist from Hains Point and the Tidal Basin:
|Great Blue Heron||7|
|Great Black-backed Gull||90|
Checklist from the Indian Museum and Capitol grounds:
Birders in Washington, D.C., have now broken the record for species reported for the GBBC in this city. As of 8:30 pm, the count for D.C. stood at 60 species; the record had been 59, set in 2005. That year also set a record for the number of submitted checklists with 51. So far this year, 32 checklists have been submitted, so we are unlikely to reach that record. However, this year will have the highest number of individual birds reported, with 6,216 so far. Below is the distribution map as of Sunday night.