Monday, February 19, 2007

GBBC Day 4: National Zoo

This afternoon I visited the National Zoo to see if I could round up any additional species for the Great Backyard Bird Count. I was successful in finding a red-shouldered hawk, a species that had gone unreported in D.C until today. It was perched high above the the bird house. Overall, it was a good afternoon for raptors. Aside from the red-shouldered, I also saw two red-tailed hawks and two Cooper's hawks, both species down by the creek. Separating Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks is always tricky; this afternoon one of the hawks assisted the identification by calling repeatedly. (Cooper's hawks have a deeper and wheezier call.)

My strangest sighting of the day was a great blue heron. It was not particularly close to a body of water - either the creek or a good fishing spot. Instead, it was perched in a tree about fifty feet above the eagle enclosure.

Wood ducks and mallards were present in good numbers. A very large flock of mallards was feeding in the flamingo pond. I estimated about 120, though it was hard to count them because they were so densely packed together and moving around quickly. Almost all of the wood ducks were along the creek. The path by the creek, by the way, is still covered with snow and ice, though it is not as treacherous as the ice around Hains Point or the Arboretum.

I do not have photographs from this afternoon because I forgot to bring my camera with me.

Here is the checklist I submitted:

Wood Duck45
Great Blue Heron1
Cooper's Hawk2
Red-shouldered Hawk1
Red-tailed Hawk2
Ring-billed Gull2
Red-bellied Woodpecker4
Downy Woodpecker3
Hairy Woodpecker1
Pileated Woodpecker2
Blue Jay1
American Crow3
Fish Crow4
Carolina Chickadee2
Tufted Titmouse4
White-breasted Nuthatch1
American Robin60
Northern Mockingbird2
European Starling200
Song Sparrow1
White-throated Sparrow13
Northern Cardinal4
House Sparrow120

As of 8:55 pm, Washington is up to 63 species and 7,847 individuals for the count. So far 50 checklists have been submitted; this is just one short of the D.C. record. You can follow the D.C. results here. Data entry will be open until February 28, so you still have time to submit a report from this weekend if you have not done so already. I will post the final total at that time.