Hello All: Seasons Greetings
Just thought I would provide you an update of the National Audubon Society's 109th Annual Christmas Bird Count. Once again this year, Tom and Pei-Pei Cosmas (Washington Crossing Audubon Society) and I conducted the annual count at the Drexel Woods
. Our numbers were the highest in the past four years that I have kept records. Of course, the beautiful weather had much to do with it. We recorded: Canada Goose (251); Turkey Vulture (1); Red-tailed Hawk (1); Mourning Dove (33); Red-bellied Woodpecker (3); Downy Woodpecker (3); Northern Flicker (2); Blue Jay (1); American Crow (29); Chickadee sp. (9); Ttufted Titmouse (4); White-breasted Nuthatch (1); Carolina Wren (1); American Robin (35); European Starling (24); Field Sparrow (3); White-throated Sparrow (40); Dark-eyed Junco (67); and Northern Cardinal (6).
In addition, the Cosmas' and I also filled in for someone and went over to Colonial Lake after Drexel Woods to survey there. After counting the many 100s of Canada Geese and Ring-billed Gulls there, Tom and Pei-Pei continued on to the Brearley House to complete their remaining survey areas. I went to the eastern part of the lake to identify a Merganzer that I had in my spotting scope but was too far for proper identification [editor's note - it was a Hooded Merganzer]. While doing so, I observed a loon that at first I thought was a Common Loon, but had characteristics of another loon, the Red-throated Loon. Unbeknownst to me, these species required special documentation since they are quite rare at this time of the year.
I had happened to take a few (poor) digital photographs 'through' my spotting scope and notified Tom. Tom went back and took many more digital photographs
and provided them to other CBC leaders. We ended up with the first recorded Red-throated Loon in the 109 years of the Princeton Christmas Bird Count!
The loon has remained at Colonial Lake
on Sunday, Monday and today. Its dull, winter plumage does nothing for this graceful bird but if anyone is interested, it was still located in the middle of the back of the lake just a few hours ago. Take Lake Drive on the south side of the lake to the cul-de-sac and scan the waters. Keep an eye open for other interesting pond birds such as the Ruddy Duck, Hooded and Common merganzers.
(Former WCAS President)