Sunday, December 18, 2011

Event Update: Cocoa Christmas Count

A very long, but awesome day out birding. I was surprised that at the end we had only walked about 3-4 miles. As our count area is so large, we did a lot of driving. The species count for the whole thing (that is, all teams) was 161, not sure how many my team specifically had. If you didn't GOYB today, here's what you missed:

My team, Lora, Matt, and David. It was dark when we started. They all had about 20 species before dawn, but I can't hear for jack, so didn't get my first species till the sun came up.
 This was the biggest herd of white Ibis I've ever seen. I think David estimated it to be around 1,500. This picture just shows the start of the stream of them. (Click to enlarge, it's pretty impressive.)
Part of the herd of Ibis flew right overhead.
 A red-shouldered hawk in silhouette.  On the one hand, this was by FAR the warmest, sunniest count we've had in years, which was great. On the other hand, it was awful for photography. I only got a few good shots off the entire day.
 A common yellow throat. This is one of my favorite warblers. The picture doesn't do him justice, he is actually very pretty.
 A sparrow, but I don't recall what kind.
 An Anhinga at the district headquarters. Our part of the count circle is pretty urban, but we still find lots of cool stuff.
 A butterbutt at the district headquarters.
 A gator came out to say hi to us at the last stop before lunch.
I'm gonna get yelled at, but I can't remember this guy's name... some kinda warbler or maybe a sparrow.
 Red-bellied Woodpecker.  He was a strange guy, he kept hanging upside down from tree branches like a nuthatch.
 An immature white Ibis. I know you are, but what am I? Neener-neener.
 Lora, Matt and David at our last stop.
Me and David at our last stop.
A magnificent sunset to cap off a great day of birding.

Please join me on January 2 for the South Brevard count! We still need volunteers for that one. It's a long day, but the work is vitally important to bird conservation.

And remember, you can see cool stuff like this on TV or the Internet, but you can never really experience it unless you GOYB!