Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Meager GBBC

This weekend the Great Backyard Bird Count is going on. Last year I had a lot of fun birding the neighborhood and submitting my counts. I was looking forward to it this year as well. But due to schedule conflicts and being too busy at work, I was only able to get out for about an hour this evening to participate. I looked out the window and saw that the sun was out for the first time today, so I dashed out to the T&C playing fields and birded the flood plain property. It was really neat being outside -- there was rain to the east and the west with some lightening and thunder, but blue sky was overhead. Here's a picture of the footbridge I took when the sun was out. You can see the dark storm clouds behind it.

I found 20 species of birds. Unfortunately I couldn't find the Grey Catbird and Green Heron that have been around here this winter. But I did find a few interesting birds. An Inca Dove was in the dense brush near the end of Braeburn Glen. I found a single Field Sparrow near the new parking lot. And by the footbridge this Sharp-shinned Hawk flew overhead. I got this picture of it which shows the classic silhouette of a member of the Accipiter family, with relatively short rounded wings and a long tail. It's tough to tell this species from Cooper's Hawk when they're flying overhead but this photo shows 2 key differences. First, the tail is squared off at the end where the Cooper's tail is often rounded. And second, the wings are slightly forward set, so that the head barely protrudes in front of them (if at all). A Cooper's Hawk's head sticks out in front of its wings.

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