Master Naturalist Jack Chiles,
Master Naturalist 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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July 26: Bird Census Results
It was another very warm day and we started the day off by walking Harris Creek trail to the first pond by the photo blind. There we found 3 of the Red-headed Woodpeckers that nested in the area. Then we proceeded on to Dead Woman Pond and located 2 of the Tricolored Herons that have been using that area for several weeks now. We also saw a couple of Blue Grosbeaks there and were surprised to find a late season singing Bell's Vireo there in the willows by the lake. Early on there were a large number of Canada Geese feeding in the field north of headquarters. We finished the day with a count of 195 Canada Geese. The lake level is receding very slowly but there was a thin sandbar to the left of the end of Tern Pad and it produced a nice variety of shorebird species including 4 Snowy Plovers, 2 Short-billed Dowitchers, 3 Stilt Sandpipers, 2 Baird's Sandpipers, some Least Sandpipers, 2 Western Sandpipers, 4 Semipalmated Sandpipers and a Spotted Sandpiper. There were also Forster's Terns and Black Terns there. Other sandpipers we saw were, a couple of Solitary Sandpipers in Silliman Marsh, and 8 Pectoral Sandpipers in Mineral Marsh. We finished the day with 12 shorebird species. We also saw a Caspian Tern flying over Muleshoe Marsh, disappearing to the south. Near Short Road we saw an early season American Kestrel and a Loggerhead Shrike. Purple Martins are flocking and we saw 74 sitting on the power lines at the end of the middle pad between Tern and Egret Pads. There was a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in the marshy area to the west of Deaver Pond. We finished the day with 66 species, a good count for a hot day in late July. Photo is the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron that we almost overlooked at Deaver Pond. Thanks for looking.
juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
July 19: Bird Census Results
It was another sweltering day so we finished up about noon. There are not many birds singing in this heat. At Dead Woman Pond we found three Tricolored Herons and a couple of Wood Ducks along with some Little Blue Herons. At the entrance to Tern Pad we found a Solitary Sandpiper and a Spotted Sandpiper. On the crossover between Tern and Plover pads we saw several Least Sandpipers and a couple more Spotted Sandpipers as well as 22 Neotropic Cormorants. We saw a total of 145 Canada Geese. At Deaver Pond we found a Belted Kingfisher and a Red-headed Woodpecker both in the same dead tree close to the dike. There was not much activity out west of the refuge, just a few Meadowlarks and a few other species. Lake levels have dropped a bit and we should soon have some mudflats for returning shorebirds. We finished the day with 52 species. Today's photo, Wood Ducks in eclipse plumage in Mineral Marsh. Thanks for looking.
Wood Ducks in eclipse plumage in Mineral Marsh
July 12: Bird Census Results
The day heated up quickly but we did see good numbers of several hard to find species. Some of the better sightings were, 4 Tricolored Herons two of which were at Dead Woman Pond, 8 green Herons, 7 Red-headed Woodpeckers and 6 Blue Grosbeaks. We finished the day with 13 Painted Buntings. 4 of the Red-headed Woodpeckers were the ones that have been seen a lot lately near the photo blind on Harris Creek Trail. We also heard a Common Yellowthroat singing there. There were 2 Wood Ducks near the first bridge on Wildlife Drive. We saw a Swainson's Hawk on Raasch trail just past the bridge. The Inca Doves are still calling near headquarters. Still no mudflats but we did see a couple of Spotted Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers. We saw a Belted Kingfisher and a Pileated Woodpecker at Dead Woman Pond. We finished the day with 67 species, a good total for summertime. Photo is Tricolored Heron. Thanks for looking.
July 05: Bird Census ResultsThe heat is turning up so we did an abbreviated census this morning. In the heat of the afternoon many species become inactive and find a place in the shade. Lake level has gone down a little but there are still no mudflats. So we did not see a single species of shorebirds today. It is getting late in the breeding season and a lot of the species are not singing much. However the Painted Buntings were still singing in many places. We only saw 1 American White Pelican today but small flocks are starting to move thru the area. We found 4 Least Terns flying around in the vicinity of Tern Pad. We had Inca Doves calling at Headquarters. Inca Doves are a species that did not fare well in the freeze of 2021. I had about seven regular Inca Doves at my home before the big freeze last year and have not seen one here since. We finished the day with 50 species. Hopefully the lake will go down a little so we will have some mudflats before the returning shorebirds come thru. Today's photos, an Inca Dove, the smallest dove in our immediate area. Notice the scaly appearance of the feathers on the back. This bird's call is a repeated two notes interpreted by some as "no hope". The other photo is a Cottontail Rabbit. Thanks for looking.
Inca Dove Cottontail Rabbit
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