Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Bird Count, Carter County, 2008

The Lee and Lois Herndon Bird Club of Elizabethton, Tenn., has held quarterly surveys for about 50 years as part of the Audubon Society's nationwide winter counts. For Herdon, the winter count covers Carter County which borders North Carolina and ranges in elevations from about 1800' in Elizabethton to 5500' at Carver's Gap. Or higher. The weather over the years, I am told, has ranged from really nice (like this past weekend Dec. 14, 2008,) to blanketed with fog and snow. There is an annual count on Roan Mountain that seems routinely blizzardy.

This may have been my first winter count (although I've been told differently). Joe McGuiness lead myself, Kim Stroud, Dianne Draper, Don Holt, and Brookie and Jean Potter. Our area was from near Elizabethton to the overlook on Watauga Lake. The prime spots are the Raser Farm and Wilbur Lake. I'll attempt to make map coordinates for both and post them here.

We had fifty species: Bald eagle, bluebird, phoebe, cooper hawk, kestral, TV, ring-neck duck, bufflehead, and assorted city birds. Wilbur Lake is a prime spot for wintering waterfowl and eagle. The bufflehead can easily number 200. Canada geese number 100-150. The lake is cold. The weather is wintry. There's plenty of small fish and duck weed.

Besides, on a clear day, Wilbur Lake is just plain beautiful. [Search google map for Wilbur Lake Tennessee.]


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