For the past three days I've been participating in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count www.birdsource.org/gbbc/. The rules are simple. Spend a minimum of 15 minutes on one of more the four days of the count (Feb 13-16, 2009). Count the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time. Then submit the information to the web site. On the 13th I spent 15 minutes observing the bird feeders in my back yard, and saw only two species, two who usually are seen here the Dark-eyed Junco and the House Finch; about 4 of each. On Valentine's Day I spent an hour along the Boise River just west of Glenwood and saw 17 American Widgeon, 160 Mallards, 4 Canada Geese, 1 Herring Gull and 1 Northern Flicker. Today I spent a little over an hour at Kathryn Albertson Park and about 15 minutes at Ann Morrison Park. I saw over 400 Canada Geese and over 250 Mallards but also 63 Am. Widgeons, 18 Wood Ducks, 10 Gadwalls, 4 Red-wing Blackbirds, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 1 Common Merganser, 2 Hooded Mergansers, 3 Robins, 1 Magpie, and a few others such as Starlings and House Finches. Tomorrow I am tentatively planning to leave by 2 or 3 pm and walk the six miles to work along the Greenbelt besides the Boise River. That will be the last day of the count and my last contribution. It's been fun and makes me want to do more birding...............
.....................I walked the app. 6 miles to work on Monday, the 16th along the Greenbelt. Great way to spend a holiday! I've taken that route to work before but this time it was to watch and try to count the birds along the way. Even though I left home at 2:45pm to get to my 6:00 pm work shift I didn't have near enough time to do justice to the all that I could have seen and counted. But the highlights included a pair of Northern Shovelers in a slough near Willow Lane Park; a male Ruddy Duck on the lake at Veteran's Park, 8 Common Mergansers on Lake Harbor, 25 Ring-billed Gulls on some sand and stones in the Boise River, and the most spectacular of all since, seeing the pair of Hooded Mergansers yesterday, were 25 Wood Ducks on the river just west of the Veteran's Parkway bridge, 19 males and 5 females, a very hopeful ratio... if you're a female Wood Duck.