Sunday, April 01, 2007

March birding Recap

Now that March is over, so I’ve been running through my monthly bird list to compare the species I saw this March with the Marches of previous years. First off, the good news. I counted 39 species this year, up from 34 last year. I even had one species I’ve never before seen here at the mountain in 15 years—a small group of double-crested cormorant migrating north. This sighting puts me at 129 species total for species I’ve seen at or around the cabin.

The bad news? It’s not really bad news, it’s just species that I should have had in March and didn’t see. Into this category falls wild turkey (where are they this year??), kingfisher (I thought I heard one but it was distant and I might have been mistaken so I didn’t count it), and eastern towhee. I usually have nice numbers of towhees arriving after the 20-somethingth of March, and this year I’ve had none. So that’s a little concerning but might correct itself soon.

This year I didn’t hear the first phoebe until March 23. Last year the first one announced itself on March 13. Average arrival date here is March 15-17. Likely the last snowfall contributed to this year’s late date.

The ring-necked ducks that spent more than a week on one of the snowmaking ponds were a nice addition to my list, as was the small flock of golden-crowned kinglets I saw the other day. This year I also haven’t seen a red-winged blackbird here yet, but the mountain top isn’t really their kind of habitat, so that’s not a major surprise.

I started my April list today—nothing great or unusual to report for it. April is tied with June as the second “birdiest” month of the year, after May of course.

My photo today was not taken here on Roundtop. It was taken down at my parents' farm on Saturday. My mother has been planting daffodils for years, and now she never knows where they're going to show up next. Here on the mountain I see few signs of the oncoming spring. The wild raspberry bushes are starting to get buds, but that's it. I don't even have any growing skunk cabbage yet, and that's usually the first thing to appear.

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