Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year 2016 - 01 Jan 2016

Happy New Year 2016! May it bring you great birds this year.

As its now becoming customary I find myself at the Nature Center on Belle Isle (Detroit, MI) at 6:45 am waiting to join Allen Chartier, David Boon, Pat Jakel and Don Burlett as part of the Detroit River Christmas Bird Count. Its cold (28F) and winds are blowing at 20 mph. It would remain this way for the entire morning, with snow flying sideways the entire time!

Attempts at owling were futile. We did hear a Great Horned Owl hooting in the distance, but could not coax it (them) in. The rest of the morning was spent fighting the cold winds while trying to count ducks on the Detroit River. An impressive flock of 900 Redhead and 200 Canvasback made the effort worth it. Here is Allen Chartier's eBird list of the day:

Belle Isle, Wayne, Michigan, US
Jan 1, 2016 7:45 AM - 1:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
12.1 mile(s)
Comments:     Detroit River CBC. 8.0 miles driving (3.5 hours), 4.1 miles walking (2.0 hours). Participants: Allen Chartier, David Boon, Don Burlett, Patrick Jakel, Jerry Jourdan.
44 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose  400
Mute Swan  14
Gadwall  2
American Wigeon  2
American Black Duck  1
Mallard  61
Canvasback  320
Redhead  1198     One flock of 980 block-counted by 5s and 10s, one flock of 200 block-counted by 5s and  10s, one flock of 18 counted individually.
Ring-necked Duck  2
Greater Scaup  3
Lesser Scaup  32
Bufflehead  51
Common Goldeneye  170
Hooded Merganser  127     Scattered flocks all around the island, ranging from 5-27.
Ruddy Duck  212     All in one flock, carefully block-counted by 5s and 10s, plus 2 individuals in another area.
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Horned Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  2     Not unexpected given the mild conditions so far this winter. Both juveniles. One offshore of the water slide, and one on the dock at the rowing club. Jerry Jourdan might have photos of one of them.
Great Blue Heron  2
Bald Eagle  1     Adult.
American Coot  63     Exact count, both Don and Allen agreed.
Bonaparte's Gull  3
Ring-billed Gull  140
Herring Gull  62
Great Black-backed Gull  4
Larus sp.  40
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  37
Mourning Dove  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  6
Northern Flicker  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
Blue Jay  20
Black-capped Chickadee  6
Tufted Titmouse  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  5
American Robin  1
European Starling  356
American Tree Sparrow  17
Dark-eyed Junco  4
White-throated Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  8
House Finch  51     Careful count/estimate of birds coming into feeder. Likely more were present.
American Goldfinch  7
House Sparrow  69

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

I returned home and brought the gear into the house at 12:10 pm. I made sure to check the feeders 1st thing, and was rewarded with brief looks at the Harris' Sparrow!  With snow falling and winds gusting the feeders were a nice place to be.

The Cooper's Hawk made a swipe at a Mourning Dove at 2pm, but could not catch it.

At 4:10 pm I spotted the Golden-crowned Sparrow!

At 4:50 pm, just before the last light of the day, both Golden-crowned and Harris' Sparrows were below the feeders. I tried digiscoping both birds in the same field of view, but could not produce shutter speeds better than 1/10th of a second.  Great start to the New Year!

Brownton Abbey, 26340 Higgins Way, Wayne, Michigan, US
Jan 1, 2016 12:10 PM - 5:00 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments:     Feeder survey throughout the afternoon. Number per species based on largest number observed at any one time.
13 species

Cooper's Hawk  1     Made a pass at feeder birds at 2 pm, missed a Mourning Dove.
Mourning Dove  8
Downy Woodpecker  1
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Tufted Titmouse  2
American Tree Sparrow  1
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1     Reoccurring bird made appearance at 4:10 pm and again at 4:50 pm; Large, dark sparrow with yellow forehead, black supralorals and white spot on back of head. Photos taken.
Harris's Sparrow  1     Observed this morning by Dan Ezekiel. Seen at 12:10pm, and again at 4:50pm in company of Golden-crowned Sparrow. Large sparrow, black forehead, throat, chest spots against white belly / sides, and tan cheeks. Photos taken.
White-throated Sparrow  1     Observed 2X; second time in company w/ Golden-crowned Sparrow at 4:50 pm.
Northern Cardinal  10
House Finch  16
American Goldfinch  8
House Sparrow  4

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

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