Monday, February 16, 2009

Great Backyard Bird Count from our current backyard Port Saint Joe

Howdee all,

Jeff and I decided to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count. This was a first for us...we figured we would be out birding anyway... why not help.....and count the birds.
It was fun...but we worked hard..going from place to place to try to record as many birds as we could, and went to different areas to get a diverse group of birds.

We could look right out of our window and see Brown and White Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Tri Colored herons, Snowy Egrets, Laughing and Ring Billed Gulls, White Ibis, Willets, Killdeer.

We drove to a wooded area to get the some wrens and a few warblers.
And counting Robins that are flitting around in trees overhead....that was fun.

Great Horned Owl in nest.

But mostly stuck to the salt water marshes, where we saw Bald Eagle and Black Bellied Plover and masses of other shorebirds of which we had to ID and the count.

Have you ever tried to count a huge flock of anything? Well I guess some of you would say yes..
We it was fun trying to count this huge flock of Black Skimmers....

Black skimmers flying over Jeff

I did stop and look at the ground a few times...many shells.

lots of Red-breasted mergansers

We scoped out a few islands that had White and Brown Pelicans and all the other assorted gulls, herons and egrets that we see on our little island accross from the campground..
We took turns going through all the birds and counting..we found it easier to scan through the group and just count one speices and then scan the same group for the next species.
Do any of you have special techniques that you use for scanning huge flocks?
We did our best...and if anything under estimted flock size.

But now........ I am wondering if we this count correctly...everything was counted in Port Saint Joe...but......
in different areas of I go back and read the directions....It looks like you need a different count for each area. Oh My!
So now what do I do? All these places were within 8 miles total...But we did drive to four different areas...
Darn it...I guess being my first time and not doing a great job reading the how too...I didnt get this totally right...

We did have a lovely, overcast day of birding.

we will be........Moving again..

Today we are moving to St. George Island, If we get there early enough we might participate again!

Locality: Port Saint Joe, Gulf County, FL
Observation Date: FEB 15, 2009
Start Time: 10:00 AM
Total Birding Time: 7 hours 15 minutes
Party Size: 2
Skill: good
Weather: fair
coniferous woods
salt water
Number of Species: 71
All Reported: yes

Lesser Scaup - 3
Bufflehead - 28
Common Goldeneye - 3
Red-breasted Merganser - 65
Common Loon - 5
Pied-billed Grebe - 2
Horned Grebe - 2
American White Pelican - 75
Brown Pelican - 42
Double-crested Cormorant - 60
Great Blue Heron - 16
Great Egret - 17
Snowy Egret - 11
Little Blue Heron - 2
Tricolored Heron - 4
White Ibis - 64
Turkey Vulture - 8
Bald Eagle - 3
Red-tailed Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 1
Black-bellied Plover - 15
Semipalmated Plover - 3
Killdeer - 4
American Oystercatcher - 4
Willet - 24
Ruddy Turnstone - 16
Red Knot - 8
Sanderling - 32
Dunlin - 75
Short-billed Dowitcher - 3
Bonaparte's Gull - 5
Laughing Gull - 56
Ring-billed Gull - 45
Herring Gull - 4
Forster's Tern - 38
Royal Tern - 7
Black Skimmer - 224
Eurasian Collared-Dove - 8
White-winged Dove - 10
Mourning Dove - 7
Common Ground-Dove - 8
Great Horned Owl - 1
Belted Kingfisher - 4
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 2
Eastern Phoebe - 4
Loggerhead Shrike - 3
American Crow - 2
Fish Crow - 3
Carolina Chickadee - 6
Brown-headed Nuthatch - 12
Carolina Wren - 4
Winter Wren - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 6
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 2
Eastern Bluebird - 24
American Robin - 76
Gray Catbird - 5
Northern Mockingbird - 24
European Starling - 44
Pine Warbler - 8
Prairie Warbler - 1
Yellow-breasted Chat - 1 Confirmed
Eastern Towhee - 9
Chipping Sparrow - 45
Swamp Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 7
Red-winged Blackbird - 34
Boat-tailed Grackle - 37
Brown-headed Cowbird - 35


  1. Wow, that was a lot of counting!

    Great job Dawn and Jeff!


  2. Quite a count. I saw seven in my frpzen backyard!

  3. Impressive count! So many different species too!!

  4. Looks like a great birding day, what a lot of species. Weather you did it "right" or not. Enjoy your new parking place.

  5. OMG Dawn, you did absolutely fantastic!!! I can't get over the number of birds you saw and how wonderful and diverse they are are!

    Enjoy your new homey.

  6. My OH My!
    224 black skimmers!! That is awesome.
    I saw my first last winter in Morro Bay and I thought that was great. I am so jealous.
    Impressive list of boids Dawn...keep up the good work.
    I saw my first varied thrush in my backyard yesterday...a good boid...Last time was at Cerra Alto w/ you. Remember??

  7. Its amazing to see that you have counted so many birds. It must be requireing lots of patience but it must be fun counting all the birds

  8. Dear Dawn,
    Oh my goodness! You did wonderfully! They do like one location but you are close enough I think...I love all your birds...
    Huge flocks are hard to count. I do like you, one species at a time.
    Are you keeping a life list?
    Happy birding,

  9. You worked hard to get that impressive count. I should have done this but just didn't get around to it. Thanks for posting the nice photos.

  10. Impressive count!

    Thanks for reminding me about the gbbc.

  11. I've heard of Black Skimmers but have never seen one (or even a photo of one) before. They are so cute! I'm in love. There's something almost jesterish about their little outfits.

  12. Wow! I'm amazed by that bird count. It looks like we need to Grayton Beach State Park. Birding just can't get better than this. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Howdee all,
    thanks for the comments...
    Yes, Q we do keep a life list...thats the only list so far for the birdies.
    Karen of morninglory...the bird count was done At Port Saint Joes...a much better place for birding than Grayton
    Happy birding to you all!

  14. Ha! We did the same thing a few years ago... counted stuff in multiple places only to realize that we needed to enter each location for each set up birds.

    Forgot to read the manual....

    Longing for those warblers up north,

  15. I hate counting large flocks because I'm never sure if I'm close enough.-I generally count a section and then visually break up the entire flock up into visually equal sections and multiply-like 50-100-150 and so on. Then I come up with an estimated minimum and maximum range of what I counted. Say 4-500- and stay on the lower end of the estimate. I know that I almost always undercount because I get a guilty conscience if I think that I'm overestimating.-Or if they stay there long enough I try to count them in more detail as fast as I can as acccurately as I can.


ok what do you really think?????