Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Great Start to 2019

Many birders including myself enjoy starting the new year birding. There's something undeniably fun about wondering what your first birds of the year will be. This morning I slept in, and I think the first bird I perceived in any way was an American Crow that I heard cawing while I was still laying in bed. I finally got out of the house around 9:20 AM with the plan to do some "street birding." Our neighborhood has so many mature native trees that you can find great birds just by walking the streets, especially in the winter when year-round and winter resident species come together in mixed-species foraging flocks.

After initially hearing some Blue Jays and an Eastern Phoebe call note, the first birds I actually laid eyes on were American Goldfinches, a distant small flock of about half a dozen birds making their "tutu, tututu" call as they flew between treetops. These were just the first of dozens of American Goldfinches I encountered, mixed with dozens of Cedar Waxwings and American Robins mostly just west of Broadmeade between Chesterforest and Shady Oaks. There were lots of other cool birds with them in smaller numbers, including most of our expected winter-resident songbirds. Species I was most excited to find were Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (a beautiful mature male), Pine Warbler, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Pine Siskin! The nuthatch was in the same area I'd seen one a couple weeks ago, near Stillforest and Hazelhurst. I unexpectedly found 3 sparrow species (White-throated, Song, and Lincolns) in the reeds of the tributary creek that Broadmeade crosses just north of Meadowheath.

I didn't take my camera with me because light was bad for photography, and because people seem to be more suspicious of me when I have a camera. But here's a photo from late 2012 of a Red-breasted Nuthatch I found in the same area as this morning:

Red-breasted Nuthatch

I covered about 2 miles in a little under 2 hours and found 34 species of birds.

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