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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Travel – Day 2


Last night we stayed in Rolla, Missouri.  Today we traveled thru Missouri, then thru Oklahoma and into Texas.  Another 750 miles (1200 kilometers).  These are very long days and I have developed a stiff neck as a result.

The part of Missouri we drove thru is very rugged and hilly.  I believe it is referred to as the Ozarks.  The part of Oklahoma we drove thru was quite a bit different, much flatter and very grassy.

My binoculars are packed away and I have not stopped once to look at birds.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not keeping my eyes open for them though.  Crows were seen all along the way in small numbers.  A few Common Grackles were in flight here and there.  Lots of hawks were seen perched and a few in flight.  I am assuming they are mostly Red-tails.  It is not easy to get a get look while negotiating traffic and traveling along at 120 km/hr.  I did see one that I believe was a Red-shouldered.  The other bird I was able to identify as I zoomed along was a Loggerhead Shrike.  There are lots of ponds and small lakes along the highway in Oklahoma.  And I saw quite a number of ducks sp.  I saw some geese also that looked a little small for Canadas.  I think they may have been Cackling.

Shortly after getting into Texas, darkness fell.  Driving was a bit of a nightmare around Fort Worth/Dallas, down to Waco and beyond where we are staying tonight because I was very tired and there was a lot of construction.

Stopping at a rest area outside Oklahoma City, I heard some chickadees as they flitted about high in some trees.  They sounded different and I wondered if they might have been Carolina Chickadees.  I have seen them before (in South Carolina, where else??).  But I can not remember what they sounded like.  They are resident in Oklahoma.  I checked on the computer tonight.  And it turns out that Black-capped Chickadees are seldom found in Oklahoma.  So I can add Carolina Chickadee to my 2014 year list – my final 2014 bird.

One more thing I learned.  There are numerous “free restrooms” in Oklahoma.

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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Travel – Day 1


Left Strathroy at 5:30 this morning.  The route was a little different this time around.  We went thru Michigan on Highway 69 and then 94.  In far southwest corner of Michigan we crossed over into Illinois on Highway 94.  Then it was south on Highway 55 from Joliet down to  St Louis in Missouri.  Then we cut over to Rolla, Missouri.  That is where we are staying for the night.  This is a little over 1200 kilometers (745 miles).  Made for a pretty long day.  Of course we stopped now and then for breaks.  But I feel good about it.  Traffic was pretty good for the most part.  The worst was in St. Louis.  We arrived there at rush hour.  But even that wasn’t really that bad.  Certainly, no where near as bad as Cincinnati or Houston traffic can be.

Temperature ranged from -8 C ( 17 F) to -3 C (26 F).

Gas was $1.96/gal is Port Huron, $2.08/gal (somewhere in Illinois and $1.77/gal just north of Rolla.  Pretty good when you can fill up for about $40.

I didn’t see much bird life along the way (practically none) until we got to the Highway 55 corridor from Joliet down to St Louis.  Along this corridor, there were numerous Red-tailed Hawks.  They were everywhere.  The neatest sight, however, when a HUGE flock came into sight in the distance.  Turned out to be SNOW GEESE.  There must have been 10,000 birds.  (Carol said, no, only 5,000).  There were as many in the field as there were swirling around in the sky.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Texas is not far away


Up early this morning and will be leaving for Texas in about 1/2 hour.  Although I did manage to say good-bye to family and most friends, there were some I just wasn’t able to speak to due to the busy nature of the Christmas season.  So to those I missed, I hope you have a good winter.  Drive carefully on the wintry roads.  And keep your feeders full.  Will be back at the end of April.  So long for now.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

4th Christmas Bird Count of 2014 for me


Today I participated in the Wallaceburg Christmas Bird Count.  I teamed up with Pete Chapman and Lori Clancy.  The area we cover is the middle portion of the top half of the count circle.  It was little colder today, but still mild for this time of year.  And still no snow cover.

Our team located 35 species today.  This is what we found:

1 Great Blue Heron

11 Canada Geese

45 Tundra Swan

2 Northern Harrier

1 Sharp-shinned Hawk

1 Cooper’s Hawk

8 Red-tailed Hawks

1 Rough-legged Hawks

2 American Kestrel

41 Wild Turkey

55 Rock Pigeon

18 Mourning Dove

6 Eastern Screech-Owl

4 Red-bellied Woodpecker

23 Downy Woodpecker

2 Hairy Woodpecker

2 Northern Flicker

63 Blue Jay

22 American Crow

4 Horned Lark

44 Black-capped Chickadees

3 Red-breasted Nuthatch

12 White-breasted Nuthatch

3 Brown Creeper

2 Turfted Titmouse

2 American Robin

259 European Starling

120 American Tree Sparrow

2 Song Sparrow

75 Dark-eyed Junco

17 Northern Cardinal

330 Brown-headed Cowbirds

37 House Finch

112 American Goldfinch

120 House Sparrow

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Merry Christmas y’all


 

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Strathroy Christmas Bird Count


On Tuesday, December 23, 2014, the 18th Strathroy Christmas Bird Count was conducted.  The 18 mile diameter count circle includes Strathroy, Kerwood, Appin, Melbourne, Mt. Brydges and all points in between these towns.  Longwoods, Clark Wright and Strathroy Conservation Areas are within the count circle.

There were 16 field participants tackling the circle, that was divided up into 6 portions.  There were also two people that watched the feeders at their home and contributed their sightings to the count.

Over-all, the total number of individual birds counted was the lowest ever for this count, with only 7,170 birds tallied.  However, the number of species found was 58,  which is two more than the average number of species on this count.

Since the first Strathroy Count, in 1996, 101 species have been located within the count circle.  This year another new species was added to this cumulative total — a female HOODED MERGANSER was located in amongst the many Canada Geese at the Strathroy Conservation Area.

There were high counts of 3 species seen this year:

  • SNOWY OWL (4 located; this is tied with the 4 birds located last year)
  • TUFTED TITMOUSE (4 located; this species has been found on each count since 2008)
  • RUSTY BLACKBIRD (2 located; the second time this specie has been found on the count)

There were low counts of 5 species seen this year:

  • SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (2)
  • AMERICAN KESTREL (1)
  • HORNED LARKS (6)
  • HOUSE FINCH (101)
  • HOUSE SPARROW (469)

Of additional interest:

  • CACKLING GEESE (2 individuals located amongst the many CANADA GEESE at the Strathroy Conservation Area)
  • WOOD DUCK (1 bird; also seen at the Strathroy Conservation Authority)
  • NORTHERN PINTAIL (2 birds at the Strathroy Sewage Lagoons)
  • BALD EAGLE (5 birds; prior to 2006 not recorded on this count, since 2006 they have been seen on each count)
  • MOURNING DOVE (205 birds; 2nd lowest number for this count)
  • SHORT-EARED OWL (3)
  • EASTERN BLUEBIRD (10)
  • WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (none seen this year, only 2nd time they have been missed)
  • DARK-EYED JUNCO – OREGON FORM (1 )

A big THANK YOU goes out to all the participants that made this another successful count.

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Uncategorized