Taney County CBC: Wet and slow

2006 December 31
by David J. Ringer

GREENE CO., MO. — A steady barrage of raindrops drove us would-be owlers back into bed early yesterday morning. Conditions had improved only slightly by about 7:30, when we started off into the dim, gray morning.

Bruce and I rode with Lisa, and it didn’t take us long to kick up a gang of juncos, white-throats, and cardinals. Rainclouds brushed the treetops on Bear Mountain, and we drove or walked mostly in silence, hoping to hit small pockets of activity: three Golden-crowned Kinglets here, a lovely Hermit Thrush there, and pileateds calling from deep in the forest.

When the birds proved exceptionally scarce, there were at least lush growths of lichen, strong old trees, or calling frogs to take our minds off the drizzle.

None of the roadrunner spots produced this year, but chickadee numbers climbed steadily, and juncos and white-throats grew in spurts. Lisa finally managed a sapsucker, and if our White-crowned Sparrows were actually seen in Arkansas, we had no doubt that they’d been inside the circle sometime during the day.

We saw robins and waxwings in good numbers through the day. Most junipers showed little or no fruit, but one big old tree was heavy with the bluish cones, and there the birds had come to feast.

We finished the day with raptors: a Cooper’s Hawk, two kestrels, and Black and Turkey vultures, and then we headed back for chili and a compilation. We’d seen just under 40 species, and we wondered whether somebody else had found the goodie we never quite managed to get.

But it wasn’t a day for exceptional sightings, and none of the other groups did too much better than we did. We finished with 77 species in the end, which is on the low side of normal. Red-shouldered Hawks seemed strangely absent, and Horned Grebes outnumbered pied-billeds 43 to 11. Ducks were scarce, and nobody had a roadrunner. The dependable vulture roost was a bust this year, and as expected, robins weren’t roosting in big numbers, as far as we could discover.

Yes, the day was wet and slow at times, but you know … I don’t think I heard anybody complain.

Related posts:

  1. No robin roost in Taney County
  2. Back from Taney County
  3. A little bit of everything on the CBC
  4. Springfield CBC highlights
  5. Cole Camp CBC: Snow, longspurs, and owls

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