Monday, February 16, 2009

Great Backyard Bird Count 2009 Live Blog!

Why not? This post will update periodically (ie, whenever I remember) throughout Sunday and Monday, the rest of the GBBC weekend. It's not too late to start participating. Head to their website, print out a data sheet, and keep your eyes open throughout the day for our flight-capable theropod overlords friends.

8:45 AM - Woke up to the usual 15-or-so House Sparrows in the backyard (I already saw 25-or-so on Friday) and a flock of about seven Crows (the most I've seen so far together is three). A quick glance at the stats for my state suggests that there's only one other person in my city doing this. I wonder how many people I know check their email on Sunday?
Martha's Vineyard!!!🙀

10:27 AM - Still nothing but sparrows and the occasional single gull gliding overhead. I do want to note something cute the sparrows did earlier. Five of them hopped over to the one remaining six-inch-long patch of snow and started pecking at it. I've seen birds "drink" snow before, but it's especially hilarious to me that these sparrows weren't the least bit interested in the snow when it was a foot and a half deep.
Did a little exploring in the GBBC's data. Florida is trippy.

2:08 PM - Just got back from a nice little drive around the city, up and down the shore. I can sum it up in one hastily MS-Painted word:

I saw about 21 Common Eiders rafting off of Nut Island (which is actually a peninsula). There was also a flock of about fifty Starlings, another raft of about fifteen each of Mallards and Black Ducks, flocks of another fifteen each of the three different species of seagull that hang out on Wollaston Beach (Great Blackback, Ringbill, and Herring), seven Pigeons, two Mourning Doves, ten Crows, and a Red-Tailed Hawk.
Uh-oh, why is this song in my head again? I won't become one of them!!!
3:30 PM - Well, it's starting to get dark out. I may fill the feeder and call it a day. The White-Breasted Nuthatch couple visited the suet feeder a few minutes ago. Fine time for my camera to run out of batteries.
11:01 AM - Looks like the GBBC is going to end with a wimper for me: nothing so far this morning but the usual 25-50 House Sparrows.
What gets me is that I haven't seen a Chickadee this weekend. At all.
Now, these are older pictures, but on the fairly reasonable assumption that the rest of the season will probably be something like this weekend, weather-wise, I changed the feeder setup from this:
New feeder setup (as of January 7)
To this:
10.28 Snow and Sparrows
(Actual backyard may not currently be as pretty as it is in the above pictures. There's not much I can do about that until spring.)

2:30 PM - Continuing to see nothing but sparrows. Huh.

5:30 PM - Dusk. The female Cardinal visited and a family of Crows flew overhead but I'd already seen them earlier, so all I can do is add individuals. So all in all, the last day of the GBBC for me was a bit of a wash.
Overall, however, the weekend was wonderful. Here's my final tally:

25 Brants
11 Black Ducks
11 Mallards
21 Common Eiders
6 Buffleheads
2 Hooded Mergansers
1 Red-Tailed Hawk
15 Ring-Billed Gulls
29 Herring Gulls
9 Greater Black-Backed Gulls
7 Pigeons
2 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
7 Crows
2 White-Breasted Nuthatches
1 Robin
1 Mockingbird
25 Starlings
2 Song Sparrows
2 Cardinals
50-something House Sparrows

You can see the total stats for Massachusetts birds here.
Thanks to all who participated. I leave you with this gallery of incredibly strange stuff Michael Jackson is auctioning off. I would bother getting my driver's license if somebody bought me item 6/7.

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