Christmas Bird Count 2012

Don Castro lake

This year, we had someone else counting the Ward Creek area but no other help. The temperatures ranged from ~45-51F. It was mostly overcast, and didn’t feel as cold as I had expected.

KP, CB and I started at MB’s place at 8:40, looking for the two White-throated Sparrows spending time there,  then quickly drove through Lone Tree Cemetery at 9:36, leaving there at 9:57 to go to Don Castro. We didn’t see the turkeys that MB had seen.

At 10:01, we arrived at Don Castro. We stopped briefly by the dam to look at the Cackling Goose and look over the spillway. A Black-crowned Night Heron slept in a tree. There was a Common Merganser, but no Ring-necked Ducks that day. KD was waiting at the lot.  We birded the lot and lawn areas for about 20 minutes, then took the lower trail around the lake. That end of the lake has filled in, but there was some very shallow water. We followed the perimeter  then along the creek, and got to the bridge around 11:40.

We decided whether to turn around or continue around, which we did upon KD’s recommendation. We took the higher trail in the open area, and at 11:55, reached a large old willow next to an intersection of the trail that leads up to a residential area. KD spotted a woodpecker, and KP identified it as a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! This bird wasn’t even on the CBC list, and we had to document it. After watching it for about 20 minutes, we continued.

Favored bare area with holes weeping sap

Favored bare area with holes weeping sap


Yellow-belled Sapsucker

We finished up there at 12:47 and headed off for lunch, which took longer because we had to write up the rarity.

At about 3:00, we started down Shady Canyon Trail. We went partly around the pond, where there was a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds. Wild Turkeys were around, and we heard Varied Thrush. We finished there at 4:33.

Since it was too late to go back to Don Castro to watch the blackbirds come in to roost, we went to Crestview Court to listen for owls. We arrived at 4:45 and stayed for 8 minutes. Two Great Horned Owls duetted.

Here are some photos from November and on count day.

Here is the complete list.