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: Eastern Knox County CBC – preliminary report  ( 854 )


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Eastern Knox County CBC – preliminary report
« : December 16, 2012, 01:23:34 PM »
The 11th annual Eastern Knox County CBC was held on Friday December 14.  It was a beautiful day to be in the field, starting with crisp but still conditions before dawn lit by an abundance of stars and enlivened by frequent meteors.  The daylight hours remained fairly calm and warmed into the 50s – not quite shirtsleeve weather, but I did take off my jackets and made do with just 4 layers!

The excellent owling conditions helped to boost our owl tally as we counted 19 Barred, 9 Great Horned, 1 Eastern Screech, 2 Short-eared, 1 Long-eared and our first ever Northern Saw-whet Owl.  Diurnal raptors were also well represented, including 10 Bald Eagles, single Sharp-shinned and Red-shouldered Hawks, and a scattering of harriers and Rough-legs.

Waterfowl were scarcer than normal as the mild temperatures have not forced them into our area or onto Spoon Lake, but the group did provide some highlights.  Greater White-fronted Geese, with 1266 counted, smashed our previous record by more than 1200!  Two Wood Ducks were the first recorded on count day, having only been seen during ‘count week’ in past years, and brought our all-time species total up to 111.  Two Northern Shovelers and a Hooded Merganser gave us a couple of species that are missed more often than not.

Landbirds included a few surprises that should be either farther north or farther south at this time.  Two Northern Shrikes, 2 Common Redpolls, and a Red-breasted Nuthatch represented the north while a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, one Yellow-rumped Warbler and 4 Fox Sparrows (plus a count week Winter Wren) still lingered. 

Notable high counts included 59 Eurasian Collared-Doves (especially since my scouting the day before turned up zero!), 15 Pileated Woodpeckers (previous high 6), 14 Carolina Wrens (improving on a low of 2 in 2011), 51 Eastern Bluebirds (bouncing back from a low of one last year), 54 Pine Siskins and 161 Eurasian Tree Sparrows.

In the end we tallied 71 species, an average result for us, but I don’t think ‘average’ is at all appropriate to describe a very enjoyable experience with lots of hits, some misses and plenty of birds to admire.

Jim Mountjoy


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