Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Spring Bird Count, May 2014.

This Spring bird count has a couple of decades behind it for the upper five counties: Sullivan, Johnson, Washington, Unicoi, Carter. We had nine parties of forty people. The total tally was 158 species. The average for the last few years has been 147 species. We cover all elevations from Roan Mountain to the South Holston River a sweep of four thousand feet or so.

John Whinery and I were a party of two covering an area surrounding Boone Lake except for the stretch that borders Winged Deer Park in Johnson City. For us, the survey took about seven hours and covered about thirty-five miles. We had only forty species but it was a nice day to be out so who cared if the count seemed a bit light. Of course, you can’t hardly beat a day of birding when right out of the box you find a spotted sandpiper!

While the weather was good, that good day meant everyone and their brother was on Boone Lake which scared off untold Mallard and heron. At Pickens Bridge, between Boone’s Creek and Piney Flats, the boat traffic was so bad they almost need a stop light under the bridge. I kept waiting for a major collision or someone ramming a pylon. It didn’t seem to bother the four hundred Cliff Swallows we counted!

But, a week can make a big difference. At the tally we found quantity had changed since the previous weekend. Next weekend? Who knows we might have scads of everything we didn’t have a one of this weekend.


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