2018 is was our 4th year of participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. What an interesting weekend it was!
Unfortunately, Day 1 (2/16) ended up being a washout. It was a miserable, dark, rainy day. Here is what we saw on Day 1 last year.
Thankfully the Sun made an appearance for a little while on Day 2 (2/17) . The temperature was around 40, so we ended up birding at two lakes. First up was Smithville Lake in Eastampton.
Every January/February we end up seeing Common Mergansers at Smithville Lake. I was hoping to see them again, but they weren’t around. It was pretty quiet, but we did see a few species. In total we saw 7 species and 22 individual birds. They were:
- 4 Mallards
- 3 Black Vultures
- 3 Turkey Vultures
- 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
- 3 American Crows
- 2 Carolina Chickadees
- 6 White-throated Sparrows
Our second stop was Haddon Lake Park in Mt. Ephraim. Upon arriving at the park, we were greeted by the leader of the welcoming committee:
Clearly he wanted food, but I certainly wasn’t going to feed him (Quick PSA: don’t feed the waterfowl!). We continued on our way to find more Canada Geese, Mallards, and Ring-billed Gulls. We also spotted some of the “strange ducks”, like the hybrid below, who seems to be a mix of a Mallard and one of the white domestic ducks.
Haddon Lake is a GBBC tradition for us. Now that we’ve been participating for multiple years, we can compare what we’ve observed this year to the past. Two species that we saw this year for the count but not past years were the Northern Mockingbird and Double-crested Cormorant. We had the opportunity to watch the cormorant climb out of the water and dry its wings off for a few minutes. Surprisingly, for a bird who’s livelihood is diving for fish, the Double-crested Cormorant’s feathers are not waterproof. Therefore, you’ll commonly see these birds fanning out their wings to dry. I took a video the cormorant preening.
We weren’t the only ones taking a stroll around the lake. It turns out that we were being followed around the whole lake by…
The Canada Goose from the welcoming committee. It was the first time I’ve had a Canada Goose participate in my bird count walk haha! :-p
Haddon Lake Park count (8 species, 233 individuals):
- 130 Canada Geese
- 90 Mallards
- 1 Double-crested Cormorant
- 7 Ring-billed Gulls
- 2 Downy Woodpeckers
- 1 Northern Mockingbird
- 1 Song Sparrow
- 1 Common Grackle
Overall our total count for Day 2 was 14 different species and 255 individual birds. Check our what we saw on Day 2 last year here).
Stay tuned for Part 2!