For me, it is a way to give back something to the birds for all the enjoyment they provide, learn more about how to identify birds by going out with experts, and have a social occasion with old and new friends. My favorite way to bird is by canoe or kayak, and this year I'll be able to do 3 of the 4 counts by canoe.
On Tuesday I did a nineteen-mile paddle on the Trinity River near Cleveland, Texas with a paddling/birdwatching friend, where our personal highlights were seven bald eagles and two greater yellowlegs. Yesterday we did a 14 mile paddle as part of the Old River Count. This area is in my favorite paddling area - a lot of wild places with many routes that may or may not be open at any given time. We only found 43 species of birds but several hundred yellow-rumped warblers and several hundred American goldfinches. We also found about one hundred white-winged doves, a species which has moved into the U. S. with a vengeance. I had to go to the Rio Grand Valley to see my first white-winged dove. Now they are urban yard birds in places like Houston and Austin, Texas.The day was mostly overcast so my pictures are not the best but here are a few if them.
|Our Route from Old River to the Cut-Off to Pickett's Bayou.|
|Bruce Scans for Birds at the Put-in Under Old River Bridge on Hwy 1409|
We got our only house sparrows around the Old River Bridge.
|Looking and Listening for Birds|
Most of the time we were paddling, we could hear myrtle warblers. Kingfishers, grackles, American goldfinches, crows, and blue jays were also common voices along our route.
|Bruce Catching Up on Species Counts|
|Palmettos Growing at Edge of Old River|
|An Osprey with a Big Fish on the Cut-Off|
I'm off to get ready for my last long day of paddling and counting birds.