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: Rockford CBC summary (12/15/12)  ( 1657 )

Dan Williams

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Rockford CBC summary (12/15/12)
« : December 20, 2012, 03:04:30 PM »
The Rockford CBC was held on Saturday, December 15. 

With 1 field team yet to report, we tallied 73 species, or about 5 higher than the running 10 year average, and the same total as last year.  This was a surprise, given the fact that it was raining from before dawn until just before dusk, and a pretty stiff wind was blowing the rain around, keeping eyeglasses and bins in constant need of defogging and cleaning. 

Highlights were 12 Tundra Swans (5 A, 7i that have been hanging around for about a week in northwest Winnebago County), Merlin, 38 Sandhill Cranes at Nygren Wetland Preserve, 4 Red Crossbills (the early influx seems to have dissipated for now), 6 Pileated Woodpeckers (even though we couldn't access one of the best sites this year), a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (these are starting to show up more frequently on our northern counts), 2 (only !) Lapland Longspurs in a situation where there was no snow cover, so this was pretty good spotting, 3 Short-eared Owls, 37 Bald Eagles and 57 Rusty Blackbirds.

Big misses were Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser,  Fox Sparrow, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Yellow-rumped Warbler, which were everywhere 2 weeks ago in the forest, feeding on poison ivy berries.  The berries are now gone, and so are the warblers.  Waterfowl numbers were very low despite open water all over, but maybe because of it.  Normally, still water is mostly frozen and it drives the birds to the rivers.  So, no Common Goldeneyes or Common Mergansers.  No snow cover resulted in very few birds, particularly sparrows, concentrated at feeders.

I really appreciate the effort and endurance of our counters in very adverse and uncomfortable conditions.  Special thanks to the 2 counters whose team logged 17.5 miles on foot in the rain! 


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