The NW Clayton Co. CBC was conducted on January 3rd. Despite the frigid conditions, we smashed the previous record and set a new record high of 63 species. Bird of the day was an EASTERN PHOEBE. Other highlights included:
2 waterfowl species (Canada Goose and Trumpeter Swan), 2 Golden Eagles, 6 Eurasian Collared Doves in Elkader, 6 owl species (3 Long-eared, 5 Short-eared, 1 N. Saw-whet), Pileated Woodpecker, Merlin, Northern Shrike, 3 Red-breasted Nuthatches, Hermit Thrush, 12 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1800+ Dark-eyed Juncos, 1 Harris's Sparrow, 1 Common Redpoll, 15 Red Crossbills.
The SE Clayton Co. CBC was conducted, per usual, the following day, January 4th. Even colder conditions (-17F while owling), but again, exceptional birding prevailed and we recorded a whopping 72 species, falling just shy of the record of 73 set in 2016. Birds of the day included TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE and SNOWY OWL. Other highlights included:
4 waterfowl species (Canada Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Common Goldeneye), 1 Killdeer (in an open spring-fed stream in a narrow, heavily wooded valley), 3 Eurasian Collared Doves, a whopping 7 owl species! (1 Snowy, 2 Long-eared, 1 Short-eared, 5 N. Saw-whet), 1 Merlin, 3 Northern Shrikes, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 2 Winter and 5 Carolina Wrens, Hermit Thrush, 3 American Robins (tough species this year!), 317 Cedar Waxwings (exceptional turnout), 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler, 1900+ Dark-eyed Juncos, 7 Fox, 27 White-crowned, 13 White-throated, and 1 Swamp Sparrows, 1 meadowlark sp., 231 Brown-headed Cowbirds, 1 Rusty Blackbird, 1 Common Grackle, 2 Common Redpolls, and 1 Eurasian Tree Sparrow (4th year in a row).
An unfortunate statistic, but missing Golden Eagle on SE Clayton this year marked the first time that species was missed in 10 years....