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Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Bird Count

This weekend we joined in on a couple of the Christmas bird counts, which met getting up early to be out before the birds were up.
We enjoy doing the counts as it is an opportunity to learn more about birds.
Our first count was in the Bahia Grande unit of the NWR, a closed area to the public so it was a treat to be able to visit it. It is an area that has been reclaimed between the Brownsville ship canal and Port Isabel. They have dug canals though in the area to create lakes and marshes, as it had become a dust bowl.

We saw two Aplomado Falcons, 12 Nilgai, hundreds of Meadowlarks, hundreds of Sanderlings and several

Northern Harriers plus many more species.
Sunday we joined the Laguna Atascosa bird count.
We were assigned an area again where the public can not drive in but they can ride a bike through, it was about 22 mile area.

We spotted 71 species of birds on this count and 2 alligators, a few deer and 4 feral hogs. I got to be the list keeper on this count marking down the birds as they were seen. The greater number of birds of course is the Mockingbird but on the laguna the big number was the Coots est. number of 5000. We did see our first Canvasback ducks, they were in the distance but we could make them out with the help of the better birders.
Earlier in the week we finally got to see the Rufus backed Robin at Laguna Atascosa along with a Clay colored Robin, Wood Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Ovenbird, Olive Sparrows, Cardinals, Green Jays, Altamira Oriole, Indigo Snake, Armadillo, and 2 Javelinas all at their water feature in front of the visitor center. It only took us 4 visits and about 20 hours of sitting at the water feature to finally see the robin. Are we dedicated birders or not now?
Maybe this week we'll catch the Greater Peewee we didn't see over in a McAllen cemetery.
It is so nice this morning, sun shining the windows are open and I can hear the Sandhill Cranes in the field across from us, earlier this morning I listened to the Great horned owl. It makes it hard to believe that Christmas is only a few days away.
Have a good week!

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