Master Naturalist Jack Chiles,
Mike Petrick and Dr. Wayne Meyer
Each Tuesday a team of experienced birders, including Master Naturalist Jack Chiles, traverse 35 miles of refuge roads and hiking trails, documenting every bird they encounter. This Bird Census is reported to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology for use in research, and each week we will bring you a link to their actual bird count, and a summary of their adventures.
Thank you, Bird Census Team!
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June 29: Bird Census ResultsIt was a very pleasant, mostly cloudy day for the census. Egret and Plover pads are now open. Tern pad is closed for nesting Least Terns. We did see a total of 10 Least Terns feeding. There is an abundance of herons and egrets around the pads. Red-shouldered Hawks were abundant today with a count of 12. We saw Red-Headed Woodpeckers at both Deaver pond and the crossover between C pad and Sandy Point road. There was a good number of Painted Buntings with at least 16 sighted. Northern Cardinals were abundant with a count of 33. We saw over a hundred Canada Geese. There were 3 American White Pelicans near Goose Point. We finished the day with 56 species. Today's photos, Lark Sparrow that we saw in the Butterfly Garden and a pair of Wood Ducks spotted near Goose Point.
June 22: Bird Census Results
We had a beautiful, cool summer day for today's bird census. The main pad roads off of Wildlife Drive are still closed awaiting cleanup and repairs. We walked to the photo blind on Harris Creek Trail and saw the resident Red-headed Woodpeckers, a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher and numerous Painted and Indigo Buntings. There was also a singing Orchard Oriole there. In the field on the left just after we turned onto Wildlife Drive we saw a good number of Killdeer, a bird that has been unusually scarce this year, up until now. There we also found a Willet a large shorebird that you usually don't see here in early summer. As we proceeded down Wildlife Drive we saw a Wood Duck sitting in a dead tree near the entrance to Plover Pad. We saw a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron on the road to Meadow Pond and a couple of Green Herons at Meadow Pond. The Lotus at the far end of Meadow Pond are now blooming nicely. There was a Prothonotary Warbler singing at the low water crossing on Bennett. The approaches to that low water crossing have been repaired but it is still covered by some water. The young Barn Owls were still in the maintenance shed. We finished the day with 70 species. Today's photos: Neotropic Cormorant showing the green eye and the V shaped white feathers below the eye and the lack of yellow on the lores which distinguishes it from the Double-crested Cormorant, a Snowy Egret showing off its yellow toes, an Indigo Bunting and a Greater Roadrunner.
June 15: Bird Census Results
Summer has not arrived yet but it sure did feel like summer today. It was very still making it seem that much hotter. Notable sightings today included a family of Pileated Woodpeckers that we saw flying in and out of the trees on the road ahead of us on the way to Meadow Pond. There is now a family of Barn Owls in the maintenance shed. They have nested there before. We saw a couple of Wild Turkeys and a Greater Roadrunner. The lake is still above 620" and some of the pad roads are still closed. Also I would not advise attempting to cross the low water crossing on Bennett. There is a deep washed out area at each end of the crossing. We did not see a single shorebird today and the absence of Killdeers is puzzling. Wildflowers are really putting on a show this year and it is worth a trip to the refuge just to see them. We finished the day with 63 species. Today's photo is a Green Heron that perched up for us at Deaver Pond.
June 8: Bird Census Results
The good news is that we did not have to contend with the rain this morning. The lake is over part of the pad roads but the main road is still open and the low water crossing on Bennett is still passable if you have a vehicle with high clearance but be sure and don't take any chances. We did not see any unusual birds today, only the usual summer breeding birds and a few non-breeders including 3 American White Pelicans. There are lots of Canada Geese spread out over the refuge with a count of 145 today. We only heard one Prothonotary Warbler. We did see one mature Bald Eagle sitting in a tree across the lake from Sandy Point. Buntings were present in good numbers. We saw a couple of male Painted Buntings displaying for females. We finally saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Hummingbird numbers seem to be very low this year. We finished the day with 64 species. Photos opportunities were few today. Today's photo is a female Dickcissel, one of our local breeding birds.
June 1: Bird Census Results
The first bird census of June started out on an unseasonably cool cloudy day. The lake is rising threatening to cover the main road. Several of the pad roads are already closed and the low water crossing on Bennett was barely passable for the van. Most everywhere you look there is water. We did not see a single shorebird and only heard a single Killdeer. We saw a pair of Wood Ducks up close at Deaver Pond and also saw several Red-headed Woodpeckers there as well as a Barred Owl. Buntings were abundant and were singing at many locations. We heard 2 singing Eastern Wood-Pewees. Cliff Swallows were abundant and we also saw a couple of Tree Swallows, a Cave Swallow and some Barn Swallows. We finished the day with 12 Eastern Bluebirds including at least 6 young bluebirds which is encouraging after losing so many to the severe cold this winter. . We saw a Green Heron at Meadow Pond and a couple more on the west side of the refuge. All of the birds we saw today were birds that breed here in the spring and summer. We finished the day with 70 species. Today's photos, Tree Swallow, White-eyed Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Wood Ducks, Mallard family, Canada Geese.
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Special thanks to Nancy Miller for the amazing photo of the Visitor Center