A (mostly) friendly competition between 2 avid birdwatchers that are also friends/co-workers. Who can observe more bird species in Idaho in 2009? Will they still be friends at year's end? ;-)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bruneau Christmas Bird Count

We’ve decided to begin posting some of our birding-adventures from earlier in the year. So here goes!

Heidi’s first real day of birding in the New Year was the Bruneau area CBC on January 3rd. After the infamous blizzard on the Boise CBC the week before, we were all glad to see that the weather was going to be much better! Clear blue skies and not much wind either! We had a great turnout of counters too! (from what they tell me compared to previous years)
I tagged along with Dave H, Sue N, and Kathle to area 1 which included the area below the dam and many places along the shore of the reservoir.

I saw 58 species total that day! (and most of them were year-birds)
Some of my fav’s included:
-Bohemian Waxwings! Kathle was the first to spot them in a flock of 25 at the bottom of the dam. They were a LIFER for me! yay!!

-Marsh Wrens! They were the first ones I'd seen (last one I had only heard) First I heard one talking, then when I found him he sat for almost a whole minute all fluffed up and preening in the sun. Very cute! I like wrens :) (a very adorable ‘half- LIFER’)

- Great-tailed Grackles! I spotted them in the same trees at the bottom of the dam where Jay had found them on a GEAS fieldtrip a month or two before. There turned out to be 3 of them, and they're a first for the Bruneau CBC! It was also fun that a bunch of the groups got to check two of them out at the end of the day near the wooden bridge (although Louie was saddened to have missed them yet again!—don’t worry, he’s since seen them twice)

-Harriers and Rough-legged hawks: our group saw about 15-20 of each of these, and got to watch some cool hunting by both species. We also saw two ferruginous hawks! (and tons of Red-tails!)

-2 Pied-billed Grebes and a female Red-breasted Merganser. These species were life birds on the Nampa CBC just a few weeks before, but I was excited to get some much closer looks at them this time around.

-a very good close-up view of 2 Snipe in a empty canal pretending we couldn’t see them :)

-we ended the day standing on the bridge at the base of the dam, watching all the Goldeneye making their exodus from the reservoir to the river. It was amazing how many groups of 100’s of birds we saw fly over, and it was so cool listening to all those whistling wings!

Also of note, our area had a Northern Shrike, spotted by other groups at the end of the day, but too dark for us to find by the time we got there :/ (And so began my determination to find a shrike)
altogether it was a pretty sweet day!