Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jake's Landing Road, Bald Eagle Survey, and Get out Your European Field Guide

Jake's Landing yesterday evening had 10-plus Northern Harriers, Bald Eagle and a Wilson's Snipe, but did not produce any Short-eared Owls for me or Karen and Brian Johnson, though none of us stayed out at the end of the road until the bitter end. I decided instead to walk the road back towards Route 47. Near dark, most of the expected species were saying their goodnights, including Golden-crowned Kinglets and Winter Wren. Large numbers of American Robins, 500+, came to roost in the mountain laurel at the east side of the tall white pines along Jake's Landing. With the snow, ground foraging birds concentrated along the road almost until you couldn't see. These included a half-dozen Fox Sparrows and a similar number of Hermit Thrushes among the dozens of White-throated Sparrows. A Great-horned Owl hooted where the woods meet the marsh as darkness fell. I did not detect any "marshy" birds at all, other than Swamp Sparrow, no Clapper Rails or even Marsh Wrens, though surely those species were there, as (likely) would be salt sparrows. It was cold and quiet on the marsh.

Yesterday Scott Whittle called our attention to interesting developments across the pond - much of Europe is experiencing an extremely harsh winter and the birds are responding. 3-4 Northern Lapwings have appeared in Newfoundland, and conditions seem ripe for more of them, and perhaps other species, e.g. this post from Dermot Breen on Surfbirds: ". . .we are experiencing a particularly cold snap this side of the pond at the moment. Huge numbers of Redwings all over Ireland at the moment especially here in the west of the country followed by Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, Fieldfares, Mistle Thrushes in that order. Dermot." Also check out this announcement by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds , which begins: "The savage wintry weather is pushing Britain's wildlife to the brink of a crisis, says the RSPB. To help wildlife struggle through potentially the greatest single wildlife killer of the new millennium, the Society is publishing a four-point plan to help the most vulnerable species." And we thought our weather was tough!

Today is the first day of the annual mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey - highlights will be reported here.

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