300 Birds in 50 Miles and 9 hours
September 27, 2014
September 20th I participated in the Klickitat County Bird Count at Conboy National Wildlife Refuge, one of my favorite places. We arrived just as the sun rose on a cool morning with mist hanging in the air below the hills. An explosion of birds took off as I pulled my car into a sheltered spot – sorry, I didn’t mean to wake or alarm you! We counted over 300 birds, traversing just over 50 miles in 9 hours time. A long but very fun day with 1954 images on my memory cards!
Flying high in the sky, we could clearly see that two of those black silhouettes were Turkey Vultures.
We counted three Wood Ducks – not these three, but aren’t they cute?!!
We watched several groups of Mallards take off – in one blurry photo that I blew up I counted 84!
I do not know ducks so asked for help with these Green-winged Teal. Hope that’s what they are so I don’t mess up the official bird count with wrong identifications!
We counted one Ring-necked Duck, but think we saw 3 more. I had help identifying her also, thanks so much to the Backyard Bird Counters!
We watched 10 or 11 Northern Harriers hunt from the sky and in the marshes.
I spotted an American Kestrel on a utility wire with another on a stump nearby – love these little guys!
We saw 8 wild turkeys, but not until we were leaving, late in the afternoon.
One American Coot identified, but there were probably more in the canals.
We heard 1 or 2 Sandhill Cranes but did not see them. I’m hoping to see hundreds at Ridgefield’s Birdfest next weekend!
Forgive this blurry shot, but I’d not seen a California Gull before! At least not here in the Pacific Northwest.
As we waited quietly in the canal area hoping more waterfowl would appear we heard a loud rustling in the tall grass. Much to our shock and awe, a herd of Elk appeared instead! We startled them as much as they startled us.
Our attention turned back to birds – six Northern Flickers tried to hide from us, but we spotted them.
We couldn’t find, but heard 1 Pileated Woodpecker through the woods. This shot is a snag outside my back door.
There were so many Ravens that again I had to blow up a blurry picture to count all 30 but I think there were more. American crows in the fields were just as plentiful, more than 40.
Three Mountain Chickadees were scampering from cone to cone.
We counted four Western Bluebirds, but there were more that we couldn’t properly identify.
Only two American Robins presented themselves to us.
We counted nine sweet little Yellow-rumped Warblers.
The sparrows gave me a headache trying to identify them! I think this one is a Rufous-winged…
I had help with this Savannah…
and more help with this Lincoln’s Sparrow.
At the end of the day a swarm of dragonflies captured our attention and away we went on a new adventure…You can see more dragonflies in my Facebook album.
Between our notes, photos, Peterson’s & Audubon’s field guides and help from birding groups on Facebook I finished our report and turned it in. Hoping to have helped in some small way even though we weren’t at all sure what we were doing!
Over 300 birds within about 50 miles in 9 hours time…whew!!