Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Bird Count

My World Tuesday ...So yesterday, for the first time ever we did the Christmas Bird Count. I thought Zac had done it before, but I was wrong. We participated in the Arcata count and we had our own area. Lanphere Dunes! which I think is the coveted area since it's not open to the public. It's part of Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge but has been under some serious restoration for years and it shows. It's beautiful. It's where the Humboldt Bay Bird Observatory is (aka CJ's house, the guy who started Point Reyes Bird Observatory) and a lot of banding is done in the area. The morning was extremely foggy (see this post )with really low visibility, but the day ended up being 60 and sunny...fantastic!

We didn't see anything out of the ordinary and we got 60 species. We had our kayaks ready to go in the slough, but (very) unfortunately, there were hunters on the water pretty much all day long. This was a huge bummer for a lot of reasons. They scared of a lot of ducks and waders and well, they were killing them. So that sucked.

On happier notes, Lanphere was absolutely cool. Awesome dune ecosystems with native vegetation, unlike a lot of the area around here that has invasive Yellow Bush lupine, European beach grass, and ice plant that takes over the good native stuff. So that was a pleasant change. There was a lot of Sitka Spruce and Shore Pine (a sub-species of the Lodgepole Pine), which you can see below.
I was mildly salty because I just couldn't/didn't get any good bird photographs. The only ones that were okay were the Savannah Sparrow (which we were hoping was a Baird's Sparrow) and this Fox Sparrow below, who happened to be banded. And I did like the way my pelican photos came out (the post right before this one)
Towards the end of the day, there wasn't really anything other than chickadees and kinglets, so I started taking some photos of the fungus and lichen. I have yet to identify them, but here they are anyway. The banana slug made some really quick progress of chowing down on that mushroom. Within 30 minutes, half of it was gone!


elvira pajarola said...

I am impressed! The landscaping of this protected land is breathtaking; so sorry too about the hunters...(I'd know telling stories about!!)...(I acually do live in a protected natural parc, forest)
the little bird...the funghi(ital.), the details...compliments; fantastic pictures!!!!
great pleasure to look at your work!!!!!!!
have a great day!
ciao elvira

Mike said...

Hunting on a Sunday? Poor ducks don't get a day off from being shot at! I can see why you didn't wont to go out on the water. In PA Sunday hunting is not allowed so at least it's safe to go into the woods.

Nice scenic shots.

Guy D said...

What a wonderful selection of photos, the first one is my favourite.

All the best
Regina In Pictures

J Bar said...

Brilliant images.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Snap said...

Wonderful series and marvelous post. Thanks for taking us along on the bird count. (The hunters should be hunted.!!!)

Vicky said...

Nice shots!!! The the fungus and lichen are great photos, full of details. Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Nice photo of the banana slug. I like all the detail. Looks like it and the other photos are right in front of me. Too bad about the hunters. We have that problem on the bike trails also. Have a good day.

Johnny Nutcase said...

We were really excited about spending time at the Dunes, and were so lucky with the weather, too! Yes, the hunters were a big downer. I can't wait til mid-January when hunting season is over, counting down the days! - Snap - i agree!! Glad you guys liked the post, it was a fun day :)

NatureFootstep said...

very nice images you show us. Birdcount...not many birds here for christmas. :(

Fred's photos said...

Hiya Johny Nutcase;
I like your name. I also really like your blog. There's a little of everything. I think your approach to nature and photography are similar to my own. I think you were on my blog recently (fredwalshphotos). Anyway, I'LL be visiting your blog periodically. Thanks for the photos.

ramblingwoods said...

Yeah..all that killing would scare the ducks. I don't get the hunters killing wood ducks which are my favorite..I mean they are small. How many do you need to make a meal? Anyway. I really want to do a Christmas Count, but I can't get around well enough to do it. My mobility issues are do to MS...Michelle

Lawstude said...

Fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving gifts are all the buzzwords in a Christmas setting. Make your Christmas a one to cherish for years!