Posts Tagged With: GBBC

Snow day

The view from Kestrel Hill today is horizon-to-horizon snow. 18 inches on top of half a foot already on the ground — that’s a whole world of white.

We had a new roof installed last year, a metal roof. You’ll love it, the  builder assured us, no maintenance and the snow just slides right off! And just as promised, for the several moderate snows we’ve had, the roof clears itself quite efficiently.

Well, this was the first heavy snowfall of the season. And it was impressive, all right: a full rolling broadside as the entire front thundered down. Maybe too impressive! The sleeping cat shot off my shoulder and into the basement. As for me, every time it happens I have to laugh, it’s so exhilarating.

One small problem. I hope no one’s standing on the stoop next time it cuts loose!

Is this the year our reprehensible shed will finally collapse? (One can only hope!)


Since I wasn’t going anywhere anyway, I worked at my Great Backyard Bird Count. I had lots of help:


Lots of couples out for lunch, including the Cardinals.



House Finches…



… and Purple Finches. You wouldn’t believe how many years it took me to tell them apart.



40 or more Robins in the sumac grove.



Two Song Sparrows have stuck it out all season. Angry Birds, anyone?



As well as two Carolina Wrens.

I don’t know how we’ll scale those mountains to keep the feeders full, but I’d hate to disappoint the patrons.






Categories: Bird photos, Feeder birds, GBBC, Usual suspects | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Great Backyard Bird Count

This was my first year participating in the GBBC. It really is different from just watching birds out the window. You have to count the maximum number of a species seen at one time, which is really hard with flitty little buggers like chickadees. I also learned after two days not to enter my data until after dark, or sure as starlings that flock of 30 redpolls will show up as soon as I press ‘Send’.

On the first day, I walked around the yard and gave a tally for one hour of watching over a period of six hours. The other three days I did the 15 minute timed watch of the feeders. My totals across the 4 days of the watch (max at one time for each, remember):

Red-tailed Hawk: 1, American Crow: 30 (harassing the hawk), Northern Flicker: 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker: 2, Black-capped Chickadee: 20, House Finch: 6 (one female looked to have conjunctivitis), Tufted Titmouse: 5, Dark-eyed Junco: 15, Northern Cardinal: 3, American Goldfinch: 2 (that was low), Hairy Woodpecker: 1, Downy Woodpecker: 3, Red-breasted Nuthatch: 3, White-breasted Nuthatch: 1, Mourning Dove: 7, European Starling: 10, Common Redpoll: 1 (and the hordes swept in as soon as I hit ‘Send’), Blue Jay: 4, American Robin: 1 (foraging where the ground was clear under the pines), Carolina Wren: 1 (my little friend who’s been here all winter), Tree Sparrow: 1, Song Sparrow: 1.

Here are the results so far for my town, West Sand Lake. I saw 22 of the 24 species observed, and I was the only lister for six — Red-tail, Flicker, Robin, Redpoll, and the two Sparrows. Not bad for the northland in winter! Of course, then you look at records from places like Corpus Cristi, TX with 193 species, five of them Hummingbirds, and I really want to take a roadtrip. Until that’s possible, I’ll keep the feeders full and enjoy my visitors bringing life and movement to the whitened world.

Yes, even you, starlings.

Categories: Feeder birds, GBBC, Species count | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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