Although we don’t have the final numbers for the whole count (yet) here is a recap of what we saw on the 2010 Rockford Christmas Bird Count.
We started the day in single-digit temperatures and really didn’t advance into double digits. My feet were practically frozen from the start but after a battery of American Tree Sparrows and a hovering Rough-legged Hawk, I started to warm up a little.
We had the pleasure of birding with Illinois State Representative Dave Winters on property he owns and is personally restoring to pre-1950s conditions (of which he has aerial photos of). After our first big trek, Mr. Winters invited us in his house for coffee and hot cocoa. That was just what we needed to warm up fully and continue our pursuit of birds.
We continued on more of Winters’ property and headed through an open area plus two large patches of coniferous trees. Here we found our only Red-breasted Nuthatch and four Eastern Bluebirds. I also flushed a Barred Owl, our only owl of the day.
Next, we headed to the house of a fellow bird club member to look for a Spotted Towhee that had been coming to their feeding station. It had been seen for awhile but not since two days prior. We struck out! But we did see a ton of birds, warmed up a second time, and had spectacular looks of a male Purple Finch.
Warmed up again, we decided to hit the trails of Sugar River Forest Preserve. The woods were beautiful but rather quiet. We picked up a Brown Creeper but not much else.
After that we made it to the Kepotah Hunting Club where a group of elderly gentlemen welcomed us graciously and we watched their bird feeders for awhile. A lot more birds, but nothing new to the list.
Our group finished with 34 species and a fun day.
It was too cold for photography . . . the only pictures I took were with my iPhone.