Yellowstone Reports

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New Years Day

Bird Species Count
by Dan Hartman

Jan. 2, 2021

     Cindy and I, with our daughter, Kelly, did our annual New Years Day bird survey yesterday.

     It really started in the predawn, when I looked out and spotted a flying squirrel in the glow of our porch light.  Now, I argue that if an ostrich who can't fly is a bird then a squirrel which can sorta fly should surely be classified as a bird!

     We left the cabin around 7:15 with two early birds already in our pocket.  A stellars jay and clarks nutcracker.  We still had another half dozen birds that would soon arrive but we had to get on the road as the winters days are short.

    This is not a true bird count as we dont actually count the number of birds, just the number of different species.

     Driving through the Park we spotted golden eye and mallard ducks. Also water ouzels (dippers) and a rough legged hawk.   All near the Confluence.

     A bald eagle (we would end up spotting 24) at Lamar Canyon East and a flock of red crossbills in the canyon.

    On to Tower Jct where we added ravens and magpies.

    A nothern shrike at Phantom Lake, then soon after a townsend solitaire.

     Rock pigeons in Gardiner, then two golden eagles just north of town.

     On the way to Livingston we found canadian geese and trumpeter swans.  At the park we found a couple of wood ducks.

     On to Manhattan we found ourselves parked at the edge of Heeb Lake where hot springs keep the inlet open.     Dozens of waterfowl sat on the shore of the water.  Unfortunately they were more mallards, golden eyes and trumpeters.  We did get a norther pintail.

     From there we headed out on to the vast rolling hills of wheatfields.  Beautiful country but few birds.  Only a flock of lincoln sparrows and a small flock of horned larks.  We did get a kestral.

     It was almost dark when we returned to the cabin, so we once again missed our local birds.

     This morning we added pine grosbeaks, mountain chickadees, red breasted and white breasted nuthatches.  Also gray jays and a brown creeper and a hairy woodpecker.

     The survey was about what we expected.  It was extremely windy up north which probably kept the songbird count down, as we should of seen downy woodpeckers, black capped chickadees and probably flickers.  Also rosey finches and waxwings.