December 14th was the official beginning day of the 116th Audubon Christmas Bird Count. For the third year, some members of the San Carlos Birding Group are participating. It’s hard to believe that this count has been going for 116 years. It is very well organized and areas are divided into circles with each circle having a circle compiler (the leader). Terry Brownell and his wife, Alpha, have been leading the San Carlos area circle for 20 years.
A small group of us went to our assigned spots of the Country Club pond, El Palmar Lagunas de Oxidación, and the settlement pond near Paradiso. What a day! Besides our regulars, we spotted a few new friends. Terry had spotted a Gray Catbird last Wednesday and I was able to get a photo yesterday. This bird is rarely seen in these parts. We also saw Cedar Waxwings (wintering here), Crested Cara Cara, Gilded Flicker, a Loggerhead Shrike and many Yellow-rumped Warblers.
With all these treasures, how do I pick a Bird of the Week? I decided to choose the Yellow-rumped Warbler because this is a distinctive little bird you may see in your backyard or around town right now and say to yourself, “Whoa, what was that?” The good news about this medium sized warbler is that its name is a very accurate description of its most prominent identifying feature. It has a bright yellow patch on its rump that looks like a little pat of butter you might receive in a restaurant. For that reason, some people refer to it as the “Butter Butt.” Irreverent but accurate. iBird Pro says our friend feeds mainly on insects in the summer and on berries and fruits in the winter. Our little guy in the photo was clearly after an insect yesterday when I grabbed this shot. Hopefully, you can see the little black dot it is after with its mouth wide open for the grab and his butter butt clearly visible. This is one of those birds easier to identify from the back than the front and when flying which they do a lot as they flit busily in search of food.
The Birding Group will meet this Thursday at the Esterito Cafe at 8:00am and hit the same areas we did for the Christmas Count. Hopefully, others in the group can see some of the wonderful birds we saw Monday. We will also be on the lookout for the Eastern Phoebe which was spotted recently and is considered by The Sibley Guide to Birds a rare visitor here. All are welcome.
As always, feel free to e-mail me with questions and/or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Birding! By Mary Tannehill