Christmas Bird Count 2011

This year, we had some help, so HF, CB and I passed on Hidden Lane and Lone Tree Cemetery, and Sulphur Creek Nature Center and Carlos Bee Park and the back part of Don Castro RRA to others.

We started off at 8:24 and got to Don Castro at 8:33. The far end of the lake was dry.

Don Castro RRA

On Friday, I’d only seen one duck, a Ring-necked Duck. There were only a few Mallards on count day, and we missed the two Belted Kingfishers, two Great Egrets, Hutton’s Vireos, Common Ravens, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and a Townsend’s Warbler from Friday. Conspicuously missing were Cedar Waxwings, and there were much fewer American Robins and Northern Flickers. We heard a “Dairy” woodpecker (my name for an unseen Downy or Hairy), and I guessed Downy because that’s what we saw last year, but I was fooled. Looking back, we did have Hairy in 2009.

We made it halfway down the Ridgetop Trail to the bridge, and turned around to head to Five Canyons. We left the lot at 11:33.

Our next stop was the Shady Canyon Trail, arriving there at 11:49. We made it to the far side of the pond. The female Bufflehead was still there from Saturday. The Varied Thrush were difficult to discern, but we heard at least three. A surprise was another Hairy Woodpecker. Since it hadn’t rained much, there were only a couple small patches of old fungi. I did find a cluster of tiger beetle larvae burrows of various sizes on Saturday, and a Buckeye butterfly. We returned to the top at 2:04 and headed to lunch.

We made our afternoon run through Five Canyons. Our first stop, by accident, was Boulder Canyon at 3:35. This steep hill has a snag that almost always has a raptor, and this was no exception. An American Kestrel, as well as a Northern Flicker, were perched in the snag.

Next, we headed to where we meant to go, Century Oaks. It was almost 4:00 by then, maybe too late in the afternoon, as we found no Rufous-crowned Sparrows or Western Bluebirds. There was a Lincoln’s Sparrow though, and a Bewick’s Wren which had made a nest at the top of someone’s downspout.

We made a quick stop at Crestview Ct. at 4:45 to try to get some bluebirds. We heard none, but did hear at least one Great-horned Owl. A couple of deer were browsing, and a Red-shouldered Hawk flushed out of one of the near oaks. We left there at 4:58, finishing a cold, but dry day.

Here are more photos. And, the bird list is here.

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