My second Christmas Bird Count of winter 2014-2015 took place yesterday (12-27-14), and it was very productive. I did not get any FOYs; however, I still had a fun time birding locally in Murfreesboro, TN.
Terry Witt, Joseph Hall, my brother Nolan, and I started off well with over thirty Rusty Blackbirds, two of which were simply minding their own business in a family's front lawn. Woodland birds were lively from morning until about noon when the wind increased in strength. A wonderful surprise was twenty-three Pine Siskins noisily chattering and bathing with just a few American Goldfinches.
Our area consisted of little habitat for waterfowl, especially for diving ducks, but today we picked up Canada Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, and an unexpected Northern Pintail, which was my first for the county. We also saw three Pied-billed Grebes.
Northern Pintail (front) among Mallards
I never guessed that one day I'd be excited about visiting the landfill - until I began birding. So today I was thrilled when we pulled up to this:
The Middlepoint Landfill
Those white dots are gulls - almost exclusively Ring-billed. Despite much thorough scanning, we did not find any gull species besides Ring-billed Gull and Herring Gull.
Before lunch, we looked at our checklist and noted several species that we still lacked but could possibly pick up. Among these were Eurasian Collared-Dove, Eastern Phoebe, Winter Wren, Brown Thrasher, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Chipping Sparrow. We split up, Terry, Nolan, and I taking a walk along a trail beside several soccer fields. Our first and only Golden-crowned Kinglet of the day was found here. The three of us came back to the parking lot where Joe had remained and found several new species himself. These included our missing Winter Wren, plus a couple unexpected species: Sharp-shinned Hawk and Horned Lark. After a quick lunch, a steady shower began, so we decided to cut the trip short. On our way back to our original meeting spot, Terry spotted two Eurasian Collared-Doves on the wire. This was a nice way to wrap up a short outing.
We ended with 70 species.