Spring Bird Count 2008 – Part Three

The final part of three recounting our May 10th Spring Bird Count. We went in search of Clay-colored Sparrows and a variety of marsh and night birds.

Our initial search for Clay-colored Sparrow was a bust. Luckily, we were invited to check out another area with a couple of world-class birders and within a half hour we had a highly energized Clay-colored Sparrow defending his territory. This sparrow was our 11th species of sparrow for the day!

Our next stop was a marshy area where we went in search of rails and bitterns. We found four Soras and four Virginia Rails plus a Green Heron. It is amazing how well rails can hide even after they flush in plain view.

Before night fell, we headed back to one of our original areas with Dan Williams (who is the definition of expert birder) to get set up for some night birding. As we waited for darkness, we heard Grasshopper and Lark Sparrows.

We had moderate hopes of finding out if any Barn Owls resided in the area but the tape playback went unanswered. However, we did add American Woodcock and Whip-poor-will and heard a fairly close Barred Owl.

To round out our day we headed to a farm where we had permission to drive down a grass-track between farm fields and out to a marshy area where we were wishful for Yellow or Black Rails. Unfortunately, neither were found but the excitement of our 16th hour of birding, standing in the dark in an unfamiliar area in the middle of nowhere was exhilarating.

For the day we tallied 105 species of birds, 8 more than last year and our new goal to beat. We counted 1,349 individual birds but probably missed one or two.

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