Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Christmas Bird Count Without Birds?

White-throated Sparrow in Donaldson Park
Yesterday was the Raritan Estuary Christmas Bird Count, my local CBC. As in past years, I participated along with my mother and sister, and we worked a section of the count circle that includes my patch, as well as a few other locations. Unfortunately, the birding yesterday was as slow as I have ever seen it in my area. Even Canada Geese and gulls, two mainstays for my area, were relatively few compared to past years. Common land birds were sparse as well; we only recorded four American Robins in the course of the day.

At least the starlings showed up
The highlights for the day were all in Johnson Park. They included a Wood Duck and two Common Goldeneye on the river, a Bald Eagle that flew overhead, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker across River Road from the tennis courts. Also in Johnson Park, a Cooper's Hawk was harassing a Red-tailed Hawk. In Donaldson Park, I noticed that some of the Canada Geese were harassing a European Starling. I would have thought that a starling would be too small for the geese to care about it, but these geese were very aggressive. The count ended with 41 species and about 2,900 individual birds for our section.