Date: 1/9/21 8:36 pm
From: David Rogles <suneska...>
Subject: Saturday wanderings
Tom and I spent the cold and damp day wandering through St. Charles County.
A brief overview:
Fallen Oak trail had the usual suspects, though we dipped on the Pine Warbler.
Multiple Red-breasted Nuthatches, Purple Finches (both sexes), Fox Sparrows, Carolina Chickadees (IMO).
Single Hermit Thrush.
Likely multiple Brown Creepers, though the birds move around a lot and there might have been just one fast and industrious bird.
Other feeder birds: DOWO, WBNU, WTSP; all in multiples.
Robins were everywhere; a good number to countimate: 50. Pretty much everywhere today.
A Bald Eagle pair were in public courtship displays. Acrobatic formation flights. They disappeared before we could see the pinwheel.
BTW-eagles are easy to see these days. I remember when...
We had ducks on 33 (COGO, HOME, RUDU, GADW) and scattered elsewhere.

Black Vultures at Klondike, soaring even in the cold. Robins in numbers, again.

Blue Jay numbers were gratifying. The third year in a row we have seen 'large' (#=25ish) flocks in multiple locations.
Swamp Sparrow, Song, ATSP, WTSP, DEJU; check the foxtails. We did not get out and walk any fields. Rabbit hunting continues until Feb. 15th (saw dogs and hunters with success); Ducks and Coots (middle zone) ends tomorrow, though CANG continues to Feb. 15 (along with pheasant, squirrel). Deer (archery) and Turkey (archery) end on the 15th this month. So we can then start stomping around in the weeds and woods.

I track several resident family groups of CANG on my usual routes. This week, Wed-Fri - I noticed pair formation and separation. So two birds would be socially distanced from the larger groups. I expect gooselings on the ground in 6-8 weeks.
Which brings me to an observation: flocks of flying geese have the famous 'v' formation. But tonight I observed 4 flocks flying overhead, separately and sequentially. I was walking the dog and counting is always a problem (traffic, smells, other dogs barking). Then I thought of types of flower inflorescence- how analogous is the flight organization of geese to different plant inflorescences? I am thinking here of how to count flocks quickly, and whether they are organized, in flight, according to age or dominance. I think if you take the central axis of the flock you can recognize several 'generally' analogous botany shapes.
With the first flock (36) the leaders were 9 in a row and then a balanced 'v'. Same numbers on each side.
Next flock (65-70) had a single leader, and then an unbalanced 'v' but with a tail end 'v' on one side. That side was shorter, though the second 'v' probably made the numbers the same. The third flock was the largest (150-180) and was shaped in multiple balanced 'v' upfront and a larger (10-15) trailing 'v' on one wing. The last flock was organized in small initial 'v' then small branches on both legs that spread the whole flock wide (side to side, from underneath). About 80-90 birds, I think. They were moving faster and lower. We had them all within 3-4 minutes heading in the same direction. And yes they were vocal.
I was intrigued.
Of course the plane of flight might have been different if viewed from above, etc.

Anyway a good day with ordinary expected birds.

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