Date: 12/24/17 8:20 am From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...> Subject: [COBOL] Hart Mountain CBC on December 20, 2017
The Hart Mountain CBC took place on Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and adjoining parts of the Warner Valley on Wednesday, December 20th.
Refuge manager Laurel Kullerud organized the count and got us set up in the bunkhouse on Tuesday evening, despite an incoming storm with high winds that made walking difficult. The wind tore a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood off of the winter housing for the air conditioning unit. It went cartwheeling out into the sagebrush, but we chased it down and secured it back where it belonged, adding a few boulders and a log to weigh it down.
Snowfall overnight produced drifts that were up to 18 inches deep in one spot that Clay Crofton managed to step into while hiking down Rock Creek, but generally less than a few inches on the main roads. Teams that worked down in the Warner enjoyed mostly calm conditions and temperatures that climbed up to 36 F by noon, but teams up on the plateau above the escarpment reported breezy to windy conditions, with snow flurries in the afternoon.
Down in the Warner Valley, several lakes had areas of open water, but waterfowl were scarce, perhaps due to colder weather earlier in the month. Due to windy conditions we didn't make any serious owling effort.
Despite this we found 37 species on count-day, plus at least four count- week (cw) species as noted in the list below. Species that were new for the checklist are indicated by (*).
Mallard 2 inflow to Hart Lake Ring-necked Duck(*) 1 male on Hart Lake Ruddy Duck(*) 5 Swamp Lake in Warner Valley Bald Eagle 2 (1 adult, 1 imm) Northern Harrier 3 Warner Wetlands Red-tailed Hawk 6 Warner Valley Ferruginous Hawk 1 just north of Plush Rough-legged Hawk 1 Warner Valley Golden Eagle 8 at least 5 in Warner Valley and along escarpment, 3 up on plateau. American Kestrel 5 Warner Valley Chukar 6 Hart Canyon area GREATER SAGE-GROUSE 7 west of headquarters California Quail cw Warner Valley Wilson's Snipe 1 in sagebrush along Rock Creek(?) Rock Pigeon 2 escarpment Mourning Dove 1 visiting feeder in Warner Valley Eurasian Collared-Dove 1 visiting feeder in Warner Valley Great Horned Owl cw Warner Valley ranch Northern Flicker 10 Prairie Falcon cw 1 near Plush on morning of 21 Dec Horned Lark 128 incl. flock of 110 along road to Blue Sky CALIFORNIA SCRUB-JAY 1 visiting feeder in Warner Valley (necklace and other field marks clearly seen). Black-billed Magpie 44 mainly around cattle in Warner Valley Common Raven 25 ditto Mountain Chickadee 17 Blue Sky area Bushtit 49 three flocks along escarpment RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH 1 Blue Sky area Canyon Wren cw 1 along road up to HQ on 19 Dec BEWICK'S WREN 2 1 visiting feeder in Warner Valley; 1 at seep on escarpment above Hart Lk. Townsend's Solitaire 30 mainly near Blue Sky American Robin 249 mainly up on plateau and escarpment seeps Northern Shrike 5 mainly in Warner Valley Loggerhead Shrike 1 n. side of Hart Lake European Starling 29 between Plush and Hart Lake Spotted Towhee 2 Rock Creek sw. of headquarters Song Sparrow 12 mainly in Warner Valley White-crowned Sparrow 3 at Warner Wetlands interpretive site HARRIS'S SPARROW(*) 1 imm. visiting feeder in Warner Valley Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco 88 " "(Slate-colored) Junco 2 Pine Siskin 4 visiting feeder in Warner Valley; American Goldfinch 4 visiting feeder in Warner Valley;
A few LESSER GOLDFINCHES have also been visiting a feeder in the Warner Valley recently, and might yet make it into the count-week list. A probable PINK-SIDED JUNCO has also been seen; in addition to pinkish flanks it appears larger than Oregon Juncos in the same flock, and has dark lores. We're still hoping for photos to confirm this one.
Volunteers included Clay Crofton, Pat Grediagin, Jeff Picton, Jöelle Fournier, Zachary McCoy, and Martha Geier. Thanks to all who made the trek despite conditions that raised whitecaps on Lake Abert. Special thanks to Laurel and Zack for helping us all get set up in the bunkhouse on Tuesday evening, and to Jöelle and Zack for sharing their feeder birds.