Date: 1/10/18 7:53 am
From: mike rader <mike_rader...>
Subject: Webster Reservoir & Blackwolf CBCs
Hi all,

This was the 25th year for the Webster Reservoir CBC - not a huge milestone when compare to several other counts around the state, but makes me feel even older since I started this circle, along with the Kirwin and Waconda Lake counts at the same time so many years ago! Blackwolf will be 25 years old next year.

The Webster count was conducted on January 4, 2018 with three participants. We had a lot of ground to cover and most likely missed some stuff, but we still managed 73 species. Highlights included lots of geese, with almost 80,000 whits geese estimated and 15,000 dark geese. Ducks were abundant as well, with 20,000 Mallards and a smattering of others, but nothing rare. We did have a single Trumpeter Swan for the count, first observed by Michael Zajic flying over the park office. Scott Seltman saw 19 Greater Prairie Chickens, a species we usually come up with on this count and I had a single White-winged Dove at the park maintenance building, providing a first for the count. Birds were scarce in the countryside, away from the lake and Stockton, so sparrow, longspur and Horned Lark numbers were low. It was fun to have 16 Red-breasted nuthatches in Stockton and I also had a couple of Red Crossbills as flyovers. This circle has great habitat and it would be fun to have a dozen or so folks to census it right, but we never seem to manage that.

The Blackwolf CBC was conducted on January 6th and had 15 participants! I started this count as a laid-back, have fun count with the family and local friends going out and just seeing what was in our little slice of Ellsworth (and a little bit of Russell) county. It has morphed into one of my best-attended counts I compile (almost as many as Quivira some years) and I guess a way for folks to wrap up the CBC season. My wife and daughters provide lunch and supper in the form of several types of soups, pies, etc., so I guess the word is out. We have about outgrown our house and this year my daughter's house next door, so we may have to take up a collection to rent a mess hall to have enough space to feed everyone! As far as the count goes, we had 68 species, which is pretty good for this circle. We had 17 Greater Prairie Chickens and 5 Short-eared Owls southwest of Wilson, which is always fun. A flock of 200+ Wild Turkeys along the Smoky Hill River near Blackwolf was impressive. and having almost 1400 Brewer's Blackbirds was a nice surprise. We had a Tufted Titmouse visiting a feeder in Wilson (and 2 more in Ellsworth), a single White-winged Dove in Ellsworth, 58 Mountain Bluebirds and a Townsend's Solitaire in the country and lots of raptors. All-in-all a fun day!

Mike Rader
Wilson and/or Pratt,??KS

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