As participants arrived they were greeted by one of our target birds for the trip. A Sandhill Crane was feeding in the corn field opposite the visitor center. We then started the day by walking the trails and climbing the viewing tower near the center, followed by a short stop along Fraser Road before ending off with a visit to the Great Egret Trail.
The highlight of the day was a good view of one of the nesting pairs of Sandhill Cranes. Thanks to Jean Demarre for pointing these out to us. Several Great Egrets were also in the marsh. A very vocal Virginia Rail kept everyone's interest for a while but refused to show itself. Ospreys put on a good show and several other distant raptors tested our ID skills as they rose on the morning thermals. One very distant Bald Eagle was spotted perched in a tree by Tom. Waterfowl sightings were limited and passerines were not well represented in our list with the only warbler species being a two Northern Waterthrushes singing along Fraser Road. Swamp sparrows were very numerous with many calling in just about every area visited.
Our complete list of 53 species heard or seen by at least some members of the group included: Canada Goose - 300+, Gadwall - 5, American Black Duck - 8, Mallard - 12, Blue-winged Teal - 2, Green-winged Teal - 1, Ruffed Grouse - 1, Common Loon - 1, Pied-billed Grebe - 2, American Bittern - 1, Great Blue Heron - 3. Great Egret - 4, Turkey Vultures - 20, Osprey - 6, Bald Eagle - 1, Northern Harrier - 3, Broad-winged Hawk - 2, Virginia Rail - 1, Sandhill Cranes - 4, Killdeer - 2, Wilson's Snipe - 1, Ring-billed Gull - 6, Rock Pigeon - 1, Mourning Dove - 1, Belted Kingfisher - 1, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 8, Downy Woodpecker - 3, Hairy Woodpecker - 1, Northern Flicker - 3, Pileated Woodpecker - 2, Eastern Phoebe - 1, Blue Jay - 3, American Crow - 10, Common Raven - 1, Tree Swallow - 30, Barn Swallow - 6, Black-capped Chickadee - 10, White-breasted Nuthatch - 4, Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 5, American Robin - 12, European Starling - 6, Northern Waterthrush - 2, Chipping Sparrow - 2, Savannah Sparrow - 1, Song Sparrow - 18, Swamp Sparrow - 30, White-throated Sparrow - 4, Dark-eyed Junco - 2, Northern Cardinal - 2, Red-winged Blackbird - 60, Common Grackle - 40, Brown-headed Cowbird - 12, American Goldfinch - 16
Bernache du Canada - 300+, Canard chipeau - 5, Canard noir - 8, Canard colvert - 12, Sarcelle à ailes bleues - 2, Sarcelle d'hiver - 1, Gélinotte huppée - 1, Plongeon huard - 1, Grèbe à bec bigarré - 2 , Butor d'Amérique - 1, Grand héron - 3. Grande Aigrette - 4, Urubus à tête rouge - 20, Balbuzard pêcheur - 6, Pygargue à tête blanche - 1, Busard Saint-Martin - 3, Petite Buse - 2, Râle de Virginie - 1, Grue du Canada - 4, Pluvier kildir - 2, Bécassine de Wilson - 1, Goéland à bec cerclé - 6, Pigeon biset - 1, Tourterelle triste - 1, Martin-pêcheur d'Amérique - 1, Pic maculé - 8, Pic mineur - 3, Pic chevelu - 1 , Pic flamboyant - 3, Grand Pic - 2, Moucherolle phébi - 1, Geai bleu - 3, Corneille d'Amérique - 10, Grand Corbeau - 1, Hirondelle bicolore - 30, Hirondelle rustique - 6, Mésange à tête noire - 10, Sittelle à poitrine blanche - 4, Roitelet à couronne rubis - 5, Merle d'Amérique - 12, Étourneau sansonnet - 6, Paruline des ruisseaux - 2, Bruant familier - 2, Bruant des prés - 1, Bruant chanteur - 18, Bruant des marais - 30, Bruant à gorge blanche - 4, Junco ardoisé - 2, Cardinal rouge - 2, Carouge à épaulettes - 60, Quiscale bronzé - 40, Vacher à tête brune - 12, Chardonneret jaune - 16
On behalf of Sheldon and I, thanks to all who came out for an enjoyable morning. A great turnout! - Wayne Grubert