“Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.
Since then, more than 100,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.”
Since the rain we’ve been getting has kept me from getting out to bird, I was glad that it let up to allow me to participate in this year’s GBBC. “Backyard” is loosely defined as anywhere you can bird. They have made it easy to send in data. All you have to do is Ebird during the 4 day event. If you go to their website you can see the maps light up in real time as you submit data. You can also see what’s happening in your county or anywhere else. Their website is here. You can participate anywhere in the world. Think about that for next year.
I decided to do an off season SOS Shorebird Survey at Virgin Creek Beach to start with. Did my usual truck to bus stop in Mendocino, bus to Haul Rd. and bike to Virgin Creek Beach. Not a busy shorebird day at Virgin Creek. I did find 7 Least Sandpiper trying to rest on a rock in the creek.
Most of the shorebirds were at Laguna Point further north. It was there that I found the best bird of my GBBC. It was a Black-legged Kittiwake among the gull flock. I had looked for but failed to find them during my green year. Got a distant picture of it. A small gull in the company of the big ones.
There was also a California Gull that looked like something had taken a chunk out of it’s breast. It could still fly but you can see the blood coming out of the wound.
The next day there was a White-throated Sparrow in my yard at my feeders. This has been a poor year for them. Normally I have two or three during the winter. This one showed up about a week ago. Sorry no picture.
Saturday it rained so I birded the Little River Airport on Sunday. The path to the airport was flooded. This happens during a good rain because of the clay soil. I rode my bike up to the airport entrance to start my morning of birding. Last year during the GBBC I had 62 Red Crossbills and 8 Red-breasted Nuthatchs. I wrote about it here. Both birds are an irruptive species. This year neither showed up. Had 36 species at the airport which included a Merlin, 4 Ring-necked Ducks and a female Belted Kingfisher which behaved very strangely. It called repeatedly, perched on top of trees and continued to fly off into the woods. It didn’t stay anywhere near the water.
Finished the weekend with 62 bird species. Only used 10 carbon producing truck miles. Did so well that GBBC gave me a certificate for my efforts. Amazing how fast they can get them to you :>)
Last Thursday I got this picture of a Snowy Egret at Big River. It had been sitting on the wood post in the picture and I was able to get it just after it took off. Thought it was a good picture.