Inookshuk of the Inuit Peoples

Inookshuk of the Inuit Peoples
Inookshuk of the Inuit Peoples

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Big Backyard Bird Count at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

We took part in the Big Backyard Bird Count today.  I managed to get started in time to catch a last glimpse of the full moon, before it was buried in clouds. And I was sooo happy to find turkeys right beside the boardwalk restroom grounds. No one showed up for our 7:00 A.M. start so I left a note and went down the boardwalk.  A group of ibis flew over soon after I started.  They turned out to be the only ibis seen today.


Setting moon

The only turkey that would give me a side view

This was one of my early birds and first of several Carolina wrens

The day was beautiful and quite warm, and I was just in a sweater and a hat.   But the little fifteen minute rain shower we had at five o'clock was the edge of a little cold front, and the day got windier and cloudier. I had to add a windbreaker for a few hours.  Finally the sun prevailed and we got clear skies before noon. The high winds helped to keep the birds down out of sight. I found some sandhill cranes and great egrets hiding in the grass.


The light was beautiful until the clouds filled the sky

One of a few sandhill cranes I found trying to stay out of the wind

I got accidental help form the Jacksonville Audubon Club who had scheduled a field trip here. A few other people also counted at different times during the day. One family gave me the only great blue herons we saw, and several other people supplied new species.

I got real excited in the afternoon when I had to go cover the visitor center and started looking at my pictures.  One of the little birds I had taken turned out to be a Palm Warbler.  And the storm knocked down some branches and cones and had some kind of food that the chipping sparrows, yellow-rumped warblers, and pine warblers were eating right on the road.  So I was able to get lots of pictures of them quite easily.


We had scores of yellow-rumped warblers

My most exciting little bird - a palm warbler

The usual high up feeding pine warblers were mostly found on the ground today

Chipping sparrow - the first I've seen here

Had to take this sign of spring I found while walking the woodland trails around Chesser Homestead

We had numerous red-bellied woodpeckers


This very cooperative bluebird came to the restroom while I was sitting beside it

Here's what we saw:

Species
48 speciesN total
6
Wood Duck
1
Ring-necked Duck
8
Wild Turkey
1
Pied-billed Grebe
1
Double-crested Cormorant
3
Anhinga
1
American Bittern
2
Great Blue Heron
12
Great Egret
1
Little Blue Heron
7
White Ibis
22
Turkey Vulture
1
Northern Harrier
1
Cooper's Hawk
2
Bald Eagle
2
Red-shouldered Hawk
10
Sandhill Crane
1
Mourning Dove
7
Common Ground-Dove
Smaller, fatter dove than mourning dove. Always seen on the ground and runs into taller grass when flushed. Usually see three in this location. Second observer found 7 later in the day at the same location, the grass behind the boardwalk restroom.
1
Belted Kingfisher
15
Red-bellied Woodpecker
1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
3
Downy Woodpecker
1
Northern Flicker
3
Eastern Phoebe
1
Blue Jay
1
Purple Martin
7
Tree Swallow
1
Carolina Chickadee
1
Tufted Titmouse
3
Brown-headed Nuthatch
14
Carolina Wren
2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
3
Eastern Bluebird
1
Hermit Thrush
250
American Robin
12
Gray Catbird
4
Northern Mockingbird
3
Orange-crowned Warbler
5
Common Yellowthroat
3
Palm Warbler
25
Pine Warbler
1
Eastern Towhee
10
Chipping Sparrow
1
Red-winged Blackbird
3
Rusty Blackbird
3
Common Grackle
This great blue heron was just outside the count - we counted two
Now I'm late getting to bed.  I have to get up at 3:45 AM so I can meet, my friend, Cindy and drive with her to Jekyll Island, GA.  We are going to count birds, take lots of pictures, eat out, and then play with taking night pictures.  Monday I have to leave at 6:30 A.M. to go to Jacksonville to get a broken window fixed on my car.  I'm already starting to look forward to having to work Tuesday.  Perhaps I'll get a little rest during work.