GBBC 2009 Day 2 results

by John Briggs on February 14, 2009

in Bird Photographs, Blog, Weekend Birding

White-breasted Nuthatch | Click for larger view

White-breasted Nuthatch | Click for larger view

Day 2 of the 2009 Great Backyard Bird Count is nearing an end. At first light this morning, Sharon and I drove to three count areas here in Sagadahoc County, Maine. Ft. Popham / Atkins Bay, Cox Head and Parker Head.

Although not particularly birdy this morning at these locations, we did tally several species. It was amazing that we did not see more… the weather was absolutely beautiful. Winds were a little gusty, but cobalt blue skies and temperatures in the low to mid 20’s should have made for a banner day.

Our first stop was Ft. Popham, on the shores of Atkins Bay. Upon first look with the naked eye, it seemed barren of any life at all. Bobbing to the surface mere feet from where we parked, were several Bufflehead. Using the binoculars, several other species came into view. We were treated to a Fish Crow flying directly overhead and calling. (Just about the only way to distinguish between the American Crow and the Fish Crow are when they are calling).

Downy Woodpecker | Click for larger view

Downy Woodpecker | Click for larger view

The next stop was Cox Head, on the North side of Atkins Bay. Canada Geese and American Black Ducks were numerous, with most of the Geese sleeping in the lee of a small cliff. Most of the birds seen out on the head were at a feeder on private property.

Earlier in the fall, we noticed that several crab apple trees had a bumper crop. Because of deep snow and ice on the dirt road, we were unable to go to Cox Head to look for Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings who love this fruit. Today was the first time this winter that we ventured out there and the crab apple trees were bare.

Our third and final stop was Parker Head, which is along the shores of the Kennebec River approximately 10 miles south of Bath. This location was a little more interesting. Just north of the old dam, 46 Bufflehead were counted. The males were displaying and chasing after females.

Less than 100 yards north of this location were 21 Red-breasted Merganser. Like the Buffleheads, the male Mergansers were displaying and chasing the females. It’s comical watching these displays. It’s like a game to see who gets a female, “I can spin around faster than you!” or “I can scoot across this river faster than any of ya!” and “”Let’s see you tip your head back as far as I can.” The females seemed like they wanted nothing of this displaying yet. They were busy diving for food.

Our total number of species from these three locations were 33. I really expected more for these three birding hotspots in our county. There may have been several reasons for the low numbers, one of which was that the tide was very low. Although a low tide has nothing to do with songbirds and the like.

Tomorrow is forecasted to be cloudy with snow showers. We will probably just hang out at home, count yard birds and make something tasty in the crockpot. I will post today’s and tomorrows yard bird results sometime Sunday afternoon.

Blue Jay | Click for larger view

Blue Jay | Click for larger view

Camera: Canon 40D
Lens: Canon 100-400mm IS L
Photos from our yard during day 2 of the 2009 GBBC

Here are our results for day 2 of the 2009 GBBC:

Locality: 04562, Phippsburg, Sagadahoc County, ME
Ft. Popham / Atkins Bay
Observation Date: FEB 14, 2009
Start Time: 8:30 AM
Total Birding Time: 30 minutes
Party Size: 2
Skill: excellent
Weather: excellent
Snow Depth: 2 – 4 in (5.1 – 10.2 cm)
Habitat(s):
rural
salt water
Number of Species: 9
All Reported: yes
Checklist:
Canada Goose – 16
American Black Duck – 5
Common Eider – 4
White-winged Scoter – 2
Long-tailed Duck – 2
Bufflehead – 4
Rock Pigeon – 8
American Crow – 6
Fish Crow – 1

Locality: 04562, Phippsburg, Sagadahoc County, ME
Cox Head
Observation Date: FEB 14, 2009
Start Time: 9:15 AM
Total Birding Time: 30 minutes
Party Size: 2
Skill: excellent
Weather: excellent
Snow Depth: 2 – 4 in (5.1 – 10.2 cm)
Habitat(s):
rural
salt water
Number of Species: 12
All Reported: yes
Checklist:
Canada Goose – 22
American Black Duck – 11
White-winged Scoter – 2
Mourning Dove – 4
Downy Woodpecker – 1
Blue Jay – 6
American Crow – 11
European Starling – 6
Song Sparrow – 2
Northern Cardinal – 3
Pine Siskin – 2
American Goldfinch – 2

Locality: 04562, Phippsburg, Sagadahoc County, ME
Parker Head
Observation Date: FEB 14, 2009
Start Time: 9:45 AM
Total Birding Time: 15 minutes
Party Size: 2
Skill: excellent
Weather: excellent
Snow Depth: 4 – 6 in (10.2 – 15.2 cm)
Habitat(s):
deciduous woods
coniferous woods
rural
freshwater
salt water
Number of Species: 15
All Reported: yes
Checklist:
Canada Goose – 30
American Black Duck – 7
Bufflehead – 46
Red-breasted Merganser – 21
Mourning Dove – 12
Downy Woodpecker – 1
Blue Jay – 10
Black-capped Chickadee – 2
White-breasted Nuthatch – 1
American Tree Sparrow – 2
Song Sparrow – 3
Dark-eyed Junco – 6
Northern Cardinal – 2
House Finch – 2
American Goldfinch – 8

Happy birding!

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