Skip to main content

Wooster Christmas Bird Count

Like distant ships at sea, the various parties on Christmas Bird Counts seldom meet. We might come together in port briefly, usually a Bob Evans, McDonald's, or some other purveyor of artery-clogging grease-spackled chunks of meat or fried flour patties. This usually happens in the early am, prior to debarking. Words of encouragement are offered, hope for great things is uttered ("watch for those Pine Grosbeaks!), and off we go on our separate ways.

In fact, you'd be wise to avoid meeting your fellow counters in the field. They might be miffed, regarding you as "poachers" on their turf, if that's where you stray. Like ornithological pirates, CBC birding teams found in foreign waters are often looked on unfavorably and with some distrust. Stay where the compiler puts you, that's my advice. If you are caught invading other turf, plead ignorance. "Oh, I thought I was still in my area" (even if it's five miles away). Or, "I'm just passing through, looking for gas" will usually keep you from walking the plank.

All of those rigorous subdivisions of the typical CBC into distinct and inviolable patches sometimes means that we, the counters, don't always find out what the big picture was after the count is over. Thus, I greatly appreciate the efforts of those compilers that do promptly send all the helpers the results.

Roger Troutman, compiler of the Wooster CBC, does send out the results. I just received Roger's breakdown of the count the other day. It was a good one. Twenty-nine observers tallied 86 species and a total of 15,354 individuals. This was a record-breaker; the most species ever seen in the 57 straight years the Wooster count has been undertaken. There were some great birds, too. Three species had never before been found on this count. A Least Flycatcher was nothing short of incredible. It was well-documented and photographed, too, and does seem to be that species. A winter Empidonax would seem to be more likely one of the western species; a Least is nearly bizarre. Least Flycatcher in Ohio in late October is exceptionally late; this one is off the chart.

A Dickcissel that forgot to head to South America was also found; they do routinely turn up here in winter, though. And three of the pint-sized Cackling Geese were heard, then seen - Jen Sauter's and my contribution to swelling the list. In all, 134 species have been found over the course of the Wooster CBC.

Thanks for sharing the results, Roger, and if you are in the market for an intersting CBC next winter, consider Wooster.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…