Cold, wet and blustery weather drove us to change the location of the Big Sit from its traditional spot at the Brilyea Access to the relative shelter of the observation platform at the Goose Viewing Area. Still, a consistent wind which was frequently blowing horizontal rain made for unpleasant conditions for birds and birders alike allowing us to find only a paltry 24 species in five hours. Birds were so hard to come by that Ted Murin resorted to using his massive scope to peer into distant farms to find House Sparrows.

But the day was not without its rewards. Among the better sightings were a large flock of Blackbirds that would pop up from the corn and disappear back into it in waves. Peregrine Falcons made repeated, sometimes very close appearances in the area. An American Bittern also made a very close pass by the platform before disappearing in the grass beside a nearby pond. There was also a remarkably large flock of 90-100 Turkey Vultures circulating with Ravens south of Gage Rd. The best sighting of the day came when we were scanning the horizon for Gulls, of which none were found this day. I spotted four birds flying north along Dead Creek and my first reaction was that they were Gulls but when Ted got on them with his scope he immediately called out that they were shorebirds. Large and gray with long bills, a white rump and white lines on the wings, they were Hudsonian Godwit! That provided a very nice late-afternoon capper to our day.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to help us find birds or just say hello, and a special thanks to Ted Murin who toughed out with me for most of the day.

A full list of species seen follows below.

– Ron Payne

Snow Goose
Canada Goose
American Black Duck
Mallard
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Hudsonian Godwit
Pectoral Sandpiper
Rock Pigeon
American Crow
Common Raven
American Robin
European Starling
Savannah Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Sparrow

 

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