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Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche

A Golden Eagle was spotted int he recent Christmas Bird Count.

By Steve Mueller

2010 Kent County Christmas bird count

Held January 1, 2011

The annual bird count is a fun out endeavor. This year’s was held January 1, 2011. If you would like to participate next year contact Ranger Steve.

Forty-nine participants observed 57 species of birds on count day. No owls were sighted this year during count day nocturnal searches, and no additional bird species were added during count week. Total individuals sighted on count day were 10227.

Two unexpected and rewarding species sightings were an American Pipit sighted by Nathan and Zachary DeBrine and a Golden Eagle by Bill Sweetman. Red-shouldered Hawk was in the area again this winter. A beautiful male Ring-necked Pheasant paraded his beauty; a lone Red-winged Blackbird and single Pied-billed Grebe were also sighted.

The 49 participants included two bird feeder watchers. The other 47 were in a field in the morning with 29 continuing throughout the afternoon. There were 18 morning parties and 11 afternoon parties beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. Conditions were sunny and a comfortable 42 F to start the morning. Cloud cover increased from 10 percent to 85 percent during the day, with temperature dropping to a low of 25F. Snow flurries did not begin until the count had concluded but the wind increased from 10 mph to 25 mph. Birds were difficult to locate in the afternoon windy conditions.

We totaled 82.75 hours with cars traveling 756.5 miles. On foot we spent 12.75 hours covering 21.25 miles. An additional 8 hours was feeder-watching. A total of 777.75 miles accounted for walking and driving. The total birding hours was 95.50 not including 3 hours owling for 27.5 miles.

Mark your calendars now for the December 31, 2011 count.

Contact Ranger Steve with inquiries and suggestions for Nature Niche Topics odybrook@chartermi.net or 616-696-1753.

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