Audubon bird counters spot 64 species in Danville area
By BEN LEFFEW
National Audubon Society
The National Audubon Society’s Midwinter Bird Count for Danville and the surrounding area was held on Saturday, Dec. 15. This was the 70th consecutive year of the count for our area.
The weather was wet and a little warm with a low of 47.3 degrees and a high of 54.3 degrees. The sky was overcast and rainy with a slight wind. The 64 species observed was down two from the 66 observed last year, with the number of individuals about the same as last year: 6,714 in 2017 vs. 6,584 in 2018.
One highlight was a Great Egret, sighted by Don Pelly, Mark Morgan and Jeff Sole. Sighting a Great Egret in the wintertime was a pleasant surprise on such a bad weather day.
The species of birds sighted were Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Mallard Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer, Wilson’s Snipe, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Eastern Screech Owl, Great-horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Loggerhead Shrike, Blue Jay, American Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Brown Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Palm Warbler, Field Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow and Great Egret.
The 32 participants were divided into nine teams, each with a unique area in a circle with a radius of 7.5 miles centered on the Boyle County Courthouse. Team members were Jane Brantley, J.P. Brantley, Neil Eklund, Virginia Eklund, Bill Garriott, Anne Lubbers, Gail Manning, Preston Miles, Eric Mount, Milton Scarborough, Patsi Trollinger, Charles Vahlkamp, Sarah Vahlkamp, Amanda Falk, Rob Pendygraft, Tom Lamp, Lisa Smentowski, Don Pelly, Mark Morgan, Joni Morgan, Ben Leffew, Loren Taylor, Jim Barnard, Laura Baird, Jayne High, Mark Lucas, Jeff Sole, Janet Pierce, Michaela Rogers, Ann Ingram, Harold McKinney and Stephanie Fabritius.
If you are interested in participating in the 2019 Midwinter Bird Count (Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019), email firstname.lastname@example.org identifying yourself and including a preferred phone number. You can participate even if you don’t consider yourself an expert “birder”; we also need drivers and tabulators on each team.