Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Madison Christmas Bird Count Week

Talk about flat-lining this blog. Here's to some resuscitation... Even though I've been out using my old lug-of-a-camera, the Canon DSLR with its heavy ass lens and also playing with my new camera, the much more portable Nikon 1 V3, I can't seem to find the interest to sit at the computer to process images these days.

However since the pouring rain has thwarted my plans to gull at the dump today, I find myself with time to pull together some recent images from the Madison Christmas Bird Count.

Count week for the Madison Christmas Bird Count ended yesterday. The week was good to me. I added three species to my Dane County list for the year, Common Redpoll, Northern Saw-whet Owl and Northern Mockingbird.

I caught up with a flock of Common Redpolls feeding on catkins in Stoughton on Friday. This group had been previously reported by Steve Theissen.

On count day, the Golden-crowned Kinglets were rather confiding or perhaps just too busy foraging after our sub-freezing temps overnight to care about my close presence.



One of the young birders who joined us for the count also found a Ruby-crowned Kinglet which is a decent bird for any Wisconsin CBC. No photos were had.

I was amazed how close I was able to approach these Cedar Waxwings who were also busily gulping down calories to combat the cold weather.




Funny how an American Robin sighting can fire-up the team. Everyone was unusually eager to get on this bird, a phenom reserved only for count day.


Multiple Northern Saw-whet Owls were found roosting on count day. I was fortunate to observe this one with some appreciated intel from my birding friends. This is only my second daylight sighting of this species and my first in Wisconsin. While it wasn't the most satisfying look, an owl is an owl and I was pleased to see it.

A Northern Mockingbird was likely the most notable bird seen during the Madison CBC. It has continued to remain in the Eagle Heights Community Gardens since being reported by Daniel Schneider on count day. I easily refound this bird yesterday.


A few White-crowned Sparrows were also enjoying the gardens along with the many American Tree Sparrows.


I scoured the garden area for a Merlin reported earlier in the day, but alas was not successful in finding it. Merlin would be a year bird for Dane County for me. With a little time still remaining in 2015 I hope to add a few more species to both my Dane and Jefferson County lists. I could have done better this year. But does it really matter and to whom? My interest has definitely waxed and waned as to the importance of achieving some high total on any county list. Chasing a number can feel so empty and it causes birders to behave in unappealing ways. Keeping it simple (a LOADED statement in my mind) definitely has its merits...and seeking accolades has never been my thing.

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