31 March 2014

Rare Gull Occurrences Continue at Carter Lake

Sightings of gulls rare to Carter Lake continue to occur. Suitable habitat conditions have been attracting hundreds of gulls. Low water levels have not only provided beach area useful as day roosts ... especially the southern shoreline of the Iowa West Ranch, the slice of Levi Carter Park on the west side of the east arm of the lake, and the former beach area at the northwest portion of the lake. Fewer birds are seen floating on the lake waters, or coursing in flight above the lake.

More significant — and as never known to have occurred in recent years — has been the "gull flats" north of Bird Isle in the southeast portion of the lake. Use of the shallow-water flats was first noted on March 20th, and has continued to be a significant roost area during each subsequent visit by various area birders. It is in this area where the three types of rare gulls have been observed and where a huge number of Ring-billed Gulls occurred. The number of gulls present at the flats has declined as the water level has continually increased due to the pumping of Missouri River water into the lake by the Omaha Public Works Department.

Availability of a forage resource has also made a difference.

Rare Sightings

Two species observed have not been previously seen at this locality, resulting in an overall increase in the variety of species present through the end of March, 2014. These are notes on occurrence of the different gulls:

» Iceland Gull: the first-ever observation at the lake was on March 24th, with a second sighting on March 27th. The two observations are also significant in a regional sense, as the nearest other locale of occurrence has been at Branched Oak Lake.
» Lesser Black-backed Gull: first ever observation during the late afternoon to evening period on March 29th.
» California Gull: the four sightings during March 2014, are the first since this species was last noted in November, 1993. A surprising 7-8 of these birds were noted on March 29th, which is a peak count for eastern Nebraska.

California Gulls. Photographs courtesy of Justin Rink

» Thayer's Gull: from 1 to six have been noted on the four days of occurrence during the later part of March. The only previous record of observation was in November 1993. The six seen on March 25th is a peak count for eastern Nebraska.

Thayer's Gulls.

» Ring-billed Gull: an amazing flock of 2,000 noted on March 27th by Justin Rink. Other significant counts of 255 (March 20th) and 210 (March 29th) are among the top five counts ever noted at the lake.
» Herring Gull: lesser numbers have been noted during March in comparison to counts made in the 1920-30s.
» Franklin's Gull: have yet to occur, but can be expected any day. Larger larger numbers have typically been noted mostly in mid-April; up to 1700 have been observed on one occasion.

This is a summary of the gull species recorded at Carter Lake during the past two decades, based upon records for the Carter Lake environs, with records starting in the 1890s, as compiled into a database. There are more than 185 gull records, the first from 1926 when the Omaha Nature Study Club were doing regular waterbird censuses at the lake.

Common Name 1993 2000 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Franklin's Gull - - - - 2 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - 5 3 12 - -
Bonaparte's Gull - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - 6 - -
Ring-billed Gull 1 1 3 10 1 1 1 1 3 2 9 16 35 10
California Gull 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4
Herring Gull 3 - - - - 1 - - - - 1 - - 1 - - - - 2 - - 8
Thayer's Gull 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 5
Iceland Gull - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1
Glaucous Gull - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The value given is a count of the number of reports. These records are comparable, especially for 2012-2014, since numerous and regular surveys of waterbirds have been done at the lake and vicinity. The numbers of birds present has not been recorded for every report.

Justin Rink deserves special thanks for his ongoing interest in observing and reporting many of the unusual gull species in 2014.

In addition to gulls, the "gull flats" have also attracted use by dabbling ducks, and as a roosting place for Canada Goose, for example.

Video of the gathered gulls, including Ring-billed and Thayer's gulls. Taken March 25, 2014 through a spotting scope.

video

Request to Cease Pumping Water into Carter Lake

This is an email sent March 25th to Omaha officials Robert Stubbe, Director of Public Works, Jean Stothert, mayor, and Pete Festersen, chairman of the Omaha city council.

This is a request that the Department of Public Works immediately stop pumping supplemental water into Carter Lake. Conditions during the past few days north of Bird Isle in the southeast portion of the lake have meant the occurrence of some rare gulls, and extensive numbers of other waterfowl. The water here is shallow enough that the gulls, especially, can stand in the water and roost overnight. This is the first known occurrence of this situation.

The rare gulls observed have been a California Gull (3/10/2014) and four Thayers Gulls (3/23/2014). Both of these species have never been recorded in spring at this lake (based on an evaluation of nearly 11,000 records dating back at least 115 years) and only noted one other time, in November 1993. A rare Iceland Gull was reported on March 24th as additional bird watchers visited the lake, and also took pictures of this and other species. In addition several Herring Gull, numerous Ring-billed gulls have utilized this roost (one observer called the flock a "sea of gulls"). These and other birds are being enjoyed by the local birding community, with the potential of other rare/unusual species as birders have been visiting this locale on a more regular basis in recent weeks, due to the swans and other interesting species.

Any further pumping will inundate this area to an extent that it will no longer be useful as a roost. The gulls will effectively be evicted from this roost by the actions of Public Works.

There are particular points to make in this regards:

1). Why is Public Works spending thousands to add water, which is basically a subsidy to the City of Carter Lake and its lakeside residents. The City of Omaha owns ca. 70 % of the lake surface area, so it should control the water in a manner it deems most suitable. Having lower water levels is no detriment to the setting at Levi Carter Park.
2). Adding water is also been done to improve boating conditions. Why are boaters apparently being given precedence over birders?
3). Carter Lake was established as the Sandy Griswold Bird Sanctuary in 1928-29 through a resolution by the Omaha City council. Yet this designation is being ignored.
4). Any agreement between the City of Omaha and City of Carter Lake, according to my reading, is an agreement to share pumping costs, not an obligation to pump water at specific times. This agreement is about 25 years old, and should be revisited and potentially revised to reflect current conditions.
5). Any spending of public money should be open to comments of the Omaha citizens, including an evaluation of pumping times and extent.

Recently posted on my wildbird blog was an analysis of the economic impact of the presence of Trumpeter Swans at Carter Lake during January and February. The same valuation can be placed upon the waterfowl currently present.


After an email inquiry as to the reason no response had been received, this was the reply received from Mr. Stubbe on 27 March.

"There is no reason to change the pumping to retain the gull flats because the gulls were observed weeks after the pump started, therefore there arrival is not related to pumping."


This is my reply, sent March 28th.

The gulls continuing to occur as they do at the flats is directly related to the extent of water being pumped into the lake at the current time. Once the water is too deep for them to comfortably stand, due to ongoing pumping, they will not be able to use the flats. So the city pumping will effectively evict them, as previously stated.

I have never said their arrival is related to the pumping. Their continuing to occur is...

Carter Lake Water Pumping Comments

This is a copy of an email sent March 12th to Robert Stubbe, Director of Omaha Public Works, and Jean Stothert, Mayor of Omaha. There has been no response received, despite at least two phones calls asking for a response, and a followup email indicating the lack of a response.

Thank you for your time on the phone yesterday. My point continues to be that Public Works and Carter Lake officials are making decisions which are not known to the public. There is no information available as to how decisions are made to initiate pumping, the extent of water being pumped, whether or not the extent of pumping adheres to the state of Nebraska permit and how pumping is being done in a manner considerate of all uses of the lake.

Based upon my hundreds of visits to the lake, research and findings, the focus seems to be that the City of Omaha satisfies the needs of home owners and boaters. I have not perceived and consideration of wildlife, especially birds. Even the vegetation harvesting is being done in a manner detrimental to visiting birds.

Until there is a realization of multiple use, and a thorough consideration of multiple uses, use of city funds and operation of the pump will continue to be an issue.

Attached is just one picture which indicates how Carter Lake waters are important to certain birds. In this case, trumpeter swans which have lingered during the winter, and apparently are from Minnesota, or at least one was which had a wing marker earlier in the season. This unique presence has been reported in the Omaha World-Herald, and numerous birds have enjoyed their occurrence, as well as other waterfowl. Myself and others have done multiple surveys to document the extent of bird use, and if you or others in Public Works would care enough to learn about the species, numbers, dates of record, significance, I'd be glad to provide a presentation.

The city of Omaha needs to adapt to interests of the entire community. I look forward to hearing how Public Works will make such an effort in association with the management of Carter Lake.

26 March 2014

Nesting Survey Report - Saddle Creek CSO! Project

This report, completed for the Omaha Public Works Department, is presented here for informational and archival purposes.
March 3, 2014

Pending tree removal by a contractor along the Saddle Creek corridor site near end of 62nd street, north of Bancroft Street, required that a survey be done to determine the presence of any nesting birds, according to provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and as required by a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The following details are provided to the Omaha Public Works Department in accordance with an email agreement to evaluate the indicated project site and determine if there were any bird nests present, or if there were other associated breeding bird concerns.

Survey Methods

A survey for bird nests and/or young was conducted mid-day on February 28th at the area indicated on an aerial photograph received via email from Public Works. During the survey these methods were used to evaluate bird activity while the area was slowly traversed during the nearly hour long visit:

1) looking closely at both tree and understory vegetation within the immediate area of the wooded channel swale and hillside;
2) evaluating leaf or twig constructs and tree trunks to determine if there were any occupied nests or cavities;
3) recording all birds present and evaluating their behavior; and
4) listening for any bird vocalizations within the area and general vicinity.

Several stops were made at suitable vantage points to look and listen for bird activity. Any potential constructs were viewed several times through a spotting scope, from different vantage points, to determine if there was any bird occupancy.

There was no construction activity underway in the immediate vicinity to hamper the ability to hear any bird vocalizations.

Survey Results

There were no active bird nests noted in the survey area, especially anything that could be used by the Great Horned Owl, which is the only species expected to be nesting at this time of the breeding season. Using a stick to knock on larger trees did not indicate the presence of any species that may have been occupying a cavity.

The only bird activity noted were a Blue Jay and Downy Woodpecker heard on the upland south of the hillside ridge.

With the current cold weather, there should not be any nesting activity initiated within at least the next two weeks. Northern Cardinals are now especially vocal in the morning, indicating their territoriality, but the site did not have the coniferous trees or shrubby growth preferred as nesting sites by this species. House Finch are also notably vocal now, but they also prefer coniferous vegetation.

Tree clearing done within this time frame would occur before any nests might be constructed subsequent to the survey visit.

Survey site.

21 March 2014

Dirtwork Encroachment into Levi Carter Park to End

During recent visits to Levi Carter Park, it was noticed that at the southwest corner of what seems to obviously be park space, fresh dirt has been moved to bury the natural terrain. The dirt is associated with the 11th and Carter Lake Drive facility kept by the City of Omaha. By comparing aerial photographs available online, the northern extend of this facility has been steadily creeping northward. There are prominent landmarks, including an powerline tower which especially provide static features to allow a comparison.

The City's Public Works and Parks Departments have looked into this situation. According to an official of the Public Works department "the city agrees there is no need to increase the working surface of the facility beyond it's current extent," he indicated in an 18 March 2014 email. "The Departments involved with the use of the site will review operational procedures and enact any measures necessary to ensure the material storage and recycling site footprint is not increased in size."

Since no further dirt work will occur at the northern edge of this site, the current bare earth banks will be planted to stabilize them and to prevent any erosion onto the vegetation to the north. Some native seed will be planted this spring, according to the Public Works official. This will help to stabilize the banks, screen the site features (which are dramatically elevated above the park terrain), perhaps grow to a height to help stop blowing dust from the barren ground of the site on dry days when there is a strong south wind, and add an attractive feature to the landscape.

Pictures of the scene taken 20 March 2014.

Trees which were partially buried due to expansion of the material storage and recycling site.

An additional example of partial tree burial due to expansion of the material storage and recycling site.

This is a view of the "southwest meadow" of Levi Carter Park, which is a unique habitat at this place.

Burial of Creek at Spring Lake Park

As discussed yesterday, it is obvious to me that a problem has become apparent regarding the pending project at Spring Lake Park.

According to the plans seen yesterday during an onsite project gathering at Spring Lake Park, Public Works has gone ahead and indicated a project feature that will result in complete destruction of a portion of the creekway on the south side of F Street. This destruction has not been a portion of the plans discussed at the public meetings, so it was a Public Works decision to make this change.

People have made so many comments in regards to maintaining natural features of this park, especially some of the spring features, then suddenly a huge change is added at the end of the road, without any opportunity for the public to comment. Are there other similar revisions?

And then a contract will be approved that includes this change. Why is a final contract for work being done when there has been no final public meeting. The design plan should have been presented at a final public meeting before a contract for construction was completed and ready now for final signatures so work will get underway.

This creekway destruction is simply not acceptable, despite what some bureaucrat in an office has decided. Did the agency which made this decision even visit the site?

Attached are some pictures, taken yesterday, which indicate some of the creek features which will be destroyed. This is a completely unique creek in the city of Omaha, and to allow it to be destroyed would be a completely wrong in so many ways. It would be a huge loss of a unique feature of the cities natural heritage. This creek has flowed here for decades, and to allow some bureaucratic decision to lead to the loss of its integrity is simply not acceptable.

How will Public Works revise the project plan to ensure that this creek continues to flow in a naturalistic manner for park visitors for years to come? I will also be posting this email onto the web so others know about the lack of attention to detail that would have made certain that this creekway would be conserved.

17 March 2014

Occurrence of Swans at Carter Lake

Trumpeter Swan Occurrence at Carter Lake in Recent Years
Julian Date 2003 2013 2014
1 - - - - 18
2 - - 3 - -
3 - - - - 19
4 - - 3 - -
5 - - - - 16
7 - - 3 - -
9 - - - - 22
11 - - - - 11
13 - - 3 16
19 - - - - 28
20 - - 3 15
23 - - - - 30
28 - - - - 26
29 - - - - 23
34 - - 3 3
36 6 - - - -
39 4 - - - -
40 - - 3 - -
43 - - - - 29
44 - - - - 24
47 5 - - - -
49 - - - - 28
51 - - - - 26
52 - - - - 25
54 5 2 - -
57 - - - - 21
61 - - 2 - -
62 - - - - 22
65 - - 8 - -
68 - - - - 32

Carter Lake has been a unique site in the past few weeks as a place to enjoy swans. The numbers present and the ease of being able to observe them day-to-day was unique.

Most notably indicated were Trumpeter Swans, which included adults and family groups. The first record of occurrence was January 1st, indicating the possibility that the birds were present in during the last couple of days in December 2013. These birds were not present during waterfowl surveys on the 18th and 28th of the month.

Especially appreciated during their presence was a photographic spread in the Omaha World-Herald, done by Mark Davis in his usual fine style of photography. At this time, attention was being given to a bird with a marker on its wing. It was number 387, and was tagged in Minnesota, as previously reported.

During the winter, special attention was given to denoting the waterfowl present when weather conditions were particularly cold. Frigid conditions, several times, meant a dearth of open-water. When temperatures were especially sub-zero, the area of open water was less than the extent of a football field.

The number of swans present has varied, especially as a result of the time when the fowl survey was done at the lake. On the last date of record for the season, 32 Trumpeter Swans were present in the morning, with documentary photographs that indicate their relative extent. They had moved westward on the lake, from just south of the boat dock, to where water being pumped from the Missouri River, provided an open-water condition. That evening, another Omaha area bird watcher, counted 27 during his evening visit.

Basis for Calculation Overall Value
1250 bird-use days x $10 per day $12,500
Birder valuation: 5 x 68 x $5 1,700
Estimation of minimal economic value: $14,200

Trumpeter Swans were present on at least 68 dates in early 2014, correlating with a minimum of 1250 bird-use days. Each day of occurrence has a value, not only to the birds, but also as an economic value associated with visits by swan enthusiasts. The intrinsic value of a swan can't be found in any book of finance, but there is obviously one, so for consideration purposes, it is designated as $10.00. Then there is the value to area birders to see a swan. On some dates there were numerous people present enjoying the view, especially after they were reported by the media. This extent can be approximated at five people per day for 68 days, and about $5.00 per person.

Tundra Swan Occurrence
Julian Date 2013 2014
3 - -1
9 - -1
11- - 1
19 - -1
20- -1
23- -1
28- -1
29- -1
43- -1
49- -1
51- -1
52- -1
57- -1
62 - -1
65 1- -
68 - -1

Obviously, these swans present provided an economic value exceeding about $15,000.

Also, how much "buzz" was generated for this species, because of the photospread in the local newspaper, and comments and bird interest generated online.

One point of tragedy, provided by a poster on NEbirds, a dead juvenile Trumpeter Swan occurred on the south side of the lake. This would be Carter Lake City. The carcass was seen but no details were given to indicate the reason for its demise, other than it occurred on February 15th.

Tundra Swan

Records for this littler swan have a lesser extent of occurrence. Then one was seen in March, 2006. The most prevalent details are about one of these swans which decided to spend the past winter at Carter Lake. It was a lesser fowl associated with the larger Trumpeter Swans. One of these birds was reported from January 3 to March 9, 2014, based upon an evaluation of all of the records associated with waterfowl surveys at Carter Lake.

Trumpeter Swans at Carter Lake, February 9, 2014

A special thanks to local birders that have posted their observations online so they were available for consideration in this analysis.

Indications of Spring in the Carthage Neighborhood

After a quick drive to Carter Lake and Levi Carter Park, an early morning Saturday outing ended where it usually does. The bird-feeder was refilled, as it has been on some many recent days since their was a alternative feed mix. Once changed, — though the hungry birds don't ask — they obviously prefer that an ample amount of food be available. Their antics are obvious, a backyard distance from the house window.

When a recently arrived robin took a drink of stagnant water, that did not seem right. Robins are particularly indicative of what they want. This includes clean water, as seen in the neighborhood and at midtown Omaha parks. This one bird was looking for a drink, and its option was not particularly attractive.

Some attentive time was required to get water into the bird bath. The process included filling a container and carrying three of them out back, with the first one needed to flush the winter scum away to make sure the bowl was clean. The fresh water was used to flush the bird-bath, the there was a flurry of finger action to scrub away the winter's accumulation of brownish scrum. The more water was used to fill the thing, during this first of the season, overall cleansing.

With clean water, a robin, once again or another, and perhaps a thirsty squirrel, as well as other local birds can drink from this bird-bath. There is no putrid water here, that might convey languid attention and worthless concern.

Food and water are essential for all sorts of wild birds. At Carthage, despite it being an urban place, each of the three essentials occur in a manner to help them survive.

The geese were flying overhead today in their typical seasonal skeins. Their calls were a bird moment or two for this day. That expressive Red-bellied Woodpecker continues to be attentive to his chosen place a bit of a ways away among the street trees. It is a wonderful time to enjoy the many sorts of birds now present in Nebraska.

Birds of the Carthage Neighborhood of Omaha

Carthage is a neighborhood of a few square blocks within the completely urban setting of eastern Omaha. On its east side is Northwest Radial Highway. Its western extent is 50th street. The south side boundary is Cuming Street and its northern edge is Hamilton Street.

There are lots of houses and apartment buildings, but the trees provide habitat for a variety of wild birds. The location is also significant as it is a hilltop area which various birds fly over during some times during the year.

Having been attentive to bird life within this space since May 2003, it became obvious on March 4, 2014 that the day's sightings were the 500th time that an observation was denoted. Some of the notations kept in a database were for one species, but there also has been attention given to noting all the birds on some days, typically during a walk-about the blocks, listening and watching. The tally has always been fewer than 20 species, and most typically about 15 or so.

Typical urban species are regularly seen. Several Northern Cardinals are singing now, and robins are starting to arrive. Blue Jays can always be heard. A Red-bellied Woodpecker has prepared a nesting cavity in recent weeks, being boisterous about it. Hopefully the European Starlings will not appropriate this place.

There have been several unexpected occurrences. Most of these have occurred at the grassy lot just south of 49th and Hamilton Street. Notable observations here have been two Bald Eagles, as reported by the bird-watching guy at the adjacent convenience mart. Other times, they have been seen soaring above. Personally, it was exciting to see a Lark Sparrow and an Eastern Meadowlark at the same habitat place. The barren parking lot to the east was the site where a Killdeer was noted in March 2011. It was an unexpected sight to see a Rough-legged Hawk, flying just above the tree-tops, early in the morning of February 24, 2011.

Keeping records on a regular basis, indicates the rare occurrence of a Red-Winged Blackbird in the backyard in March and May 2012. There are always the American Crows to appreciate, especially when they gather during the winter-time months. The Carolina Wren has been intermittent in its occurrence, and given particular attention because of its expressive call.

During the night hours, the Eastern Screech-Owl can be heard outside the house window. It has only been seen once or twice, but its voice is typically heard. The Great Horned Owl has only been seen on rare occasions, only heard in November. It occurs to a regular extent elsewhere in midtown.

This tally indicates the birdlife to enjoy by being attentive to a particular place, on a regular basis. There are birds everywhere, and these are those species known for one particular neighborhood in Omaha. Numbers given in this table are summary of the number counted for the year. There are many more details that might be considered, especially in regards to time of occurrence, distinct counts, etc. from the 1,885 individual records of observation associated with 78 species.

Common Name 2003 2004 2005 2006 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Greater White-fronted Goose - - - - - - - - 185 - - - - 45 - - - - - -
Snow Goose 0 - - - - - - - - - - 255 660 1200 1050 - -
Cackling Goose - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4

20
- - - -

Canada Goose
- - - - - - - - - - - -
7

645

842

37
- -

Domestic Chicken
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1

10
- - - -

American White Pelican
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7
- - - - - -

Double-crested Cormorant
- - - - - - - -
5
- - - - - -
129

71
- -

Great Blue Heron
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3
- -

Turkey Vulture

1
- - - - - - - -
3

3

12

27
- - - -

Bald Eagle
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2

3

1

Sharp-shinned Hawk
- - - - - - - - - -
1
- - - - - -
2
- -

Cooper's Hawk
- -
1
- - - - - -
1

9

3

8

11
- -

Broad-winged Hawk
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10
- -
2
- -

Red-tailed Hawk
- - - -
1

1
- - - -
2

2

8

10

3

Rough-legged Hawk
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- - - - - -

American Kestrel
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1

1
- -

Killdeer
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- - - - - -

Franklin's Gull
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
100
- -
11
- -

Ring-billed Gull
- - - - - - - -
260

100

65

412

661

694
- -

Mourning Dove

26

2
- - - -
2

3

16

33

46

51

2

Eastern Screech-Owl

1

1
- - - - - -
5

3

6

11

3

2

Great Horned Owl

1
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- -

Common Nighthawk

229
- - - - - - - -
37

78

93

28

965
- -

Chimney Swift

41
- - - - - -
5

33

38

246

77

74
- -

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- - - - - - - - - -
1
- - - - - -
1
- -

Red-bellied Woodpecker

1
- - - - - -
1

1

14

11

16

21

7

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- -

Downy Woodpecker

4

1
- - - -
0

3

8

16

25

23

3

Hairy Woodpecker
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1

2

5
- -

Northern Flicker

2
- - - - - -
0

3

10

21

17

21

1

Western Kingbird
- - - - - - - - - -
0
- - - - - -
1
- -

Eastern Kingbird
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13

1
- -

Warbling Vireo
- - - - - - - - - - - -
1

1

2
- - - -

Red-eyed Vireo
- - - - - - - - - - - -
2
- -
2

1
- -

Blue Jay

3
- -
2
- -
0

5

42

35

37

77

10

American Crow

275

125

10

2

201

160

163

913

501

1662

711

Purple Martin
- - - - - - - -
450
- -
500

2085

430

725
- -

Barn Swallow

5
- - - - - - - - - -
2

6

2
- - - -

Black-capped Chickadee

5
- -
1
- - - -
6

17

36

56

68

7

Red-breasted Nuthatch
- - - - - - - -
6
- - - - - - - - - - - -

White-breasted Nuthatch

1

1
- - - -
1

1

16

18

27

31

8

Brown Creeper
- - - - - - - - - -
1

2

2

8

2
- -

Carolina Wren
- - - - - - - -
1
- - - - - -
1

2
- -

House Wren

2
- - - - - - - -
2

4

11

14

5
- -

Golden-crowned Kinglet
- - - - - - - - - - - -
4

1
- - - - - -

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4
- -
1
- -

Swainson's Thrush
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- -

American Robin

49
- - - - - -
6

5

79

196

87

314

5

Gray Catbird
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7
- -

Brown Thrasher
- - - - - - - - - -
1
- -
1

2

3
- -

Cedar Waxwing
- - - - - - - - - - - -
7

7

9
- - - -

Tennessee Warbler
- - - - - - - - - - - -
3

3
- - - - - -

Orange-crowned Warbler
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- -

Nashville Warbler
- - - - - - - - - - - -
2
- - - - - - - -

Yellow Warbler

1
- - - - - - - - - -
3

1
- -
1
- -

Yellow-rumped Warbler
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5

2

8
- -

American Redstart
- - - - - - - - - - - -
2
- - - - - - - -

Ovenbird
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- -

Spotted Towhee
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- - - -

American Tree Sparrow
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- - - -

Chipping Sparrow
- - - - - - - - - -
1

5

11

8

10
- -

Lark Sparrow
- - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- - - - - - - -

Fox Sparrow
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- -

Lincoln's Sparrow
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- -

White-throated Sparrow
- - - - - - - - - - - -
1

2
- -
6
- -

White-crowned Sparrow
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- - - - - -

Dark-eyed Junco

9

7

2

0

7

17

55

45

92

91

14

Northern Cardinal

8

4

4

0

5

7

32

36

56

93

17

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1
- -

Red-winged Blackbird
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2
- - - -

Eastern Meadowlark
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1

2
- -

Common Grackle

67
- - - - - -
4

7

70

143

351

284
- -

Brown-headed Cowbird
- - - - - - - - - - - -
9
- -
4

3
- -

Baltimore Oriole
- - - - - - - - - - - -
1

2

5

4
- -

Purple Finch

2

4
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

House Finch

8
- - - - - - - -
3

21

38

35

54

3

American Goldfinch
- - - - - - - - - - - -
5

12

18

25
- -

House Sparrow

46

40
- -
0

4

4
153 177 445 664 77

With winter waning, the local birds are appreciating the food. House Sparrows especially appreciate the buffet in the back yard. It took some time to convey that one bird mix was not suitable, but another bird-mix option meant that many birds flew in and appreciated the seed mix at the bird feeder. A chunk of change has been spent to provide winter residents a buffet. There is also another back yard where birds in this neighborhood can get something to eat, over on 50th Avenue, just south of Izard Street. It's well kept and has more than one feeding station for hungry birds to enjoy during the cold months of the year.

The domestic chickens are now gone. A "hawk" did take one while the small bunch was cared for by a family along north 49th Street. They no longer have these birds in their backyard.

There will be more exciting bird views in Carthage, and that is because birds fly about, and its only because of watchers, that their significance is known. If there is one pertinent point, bird watching certainly means that a person's view is kept to the sky!

Details of One Sort or Another

With a bunch of records to ponder, the following details have been wrought from the database, for presentation purposes.

Geese are especially prominent along the Missouri River valley, and that includes the Carthage hills just to the west.


Snow Goose Numbers
Date: Number Seen
03/06/2012: 1200
03/07/2011: 250
03/11/2011: 225
03/15/2010: 85
03/15/2010: 85
03/23/2013: 850
11/19/2010: 25
11/22/2013: 200
11/22/2011: 100
11/22/2010: 25
11/23/2010: 35
12/04/2011: 85

Canada Goose Numbers
Date: Number Seen
02/25/2012: 280
02/26/2012: 450
03/06/2010: 7
03/07/2013: 29
03/06/2012: 35
03/10/2011: 65
06/03/2013: 8 (local birds flying about)
11/20/2011: 500
12/04/2011: 80
12/28/2012: 77
There are only two instances when the Greater White-fronted Goose has been seen here (observed numbers: 185 and 45); and three instances of Cackling Goose, with counts of 10 and 10 on two February dates in 2012, and 4 on a date in December 2011.

Crows are an especially expressive bird at Carthage. There has been crow court on the north side. They have gathered in the morning and in the evening, especially during winter-time months. Fewer of them occur during the warm months, and though they might not be as pervasive, they still indicate their presence in one significant manner or another. They are regularly seen flying above the streets, but are also appreciated when they decide to stop for a time opon the tree-top branches of the big trees here. Their expressiveness has meant some particular attention to their occurrence.

These are the 118 records of known occurrence for these fine, vividly black, and notably expressive birds at Carthage. The tally is listed according to the day of the year, as indicated by Julian date.

Date: Number of Crows; Species Notation
¶ 01/01/2013: 56; going southward from ca. 4:00 p.m. to 4:15; a couple landed and lingered for a bit of time
¶ 01/02/2012: 4
¶ 01/05/2011: 225; at least this number seen, with others probably already gone past; flying southerly about 3:30 p.m.
¶ 01/06/2014: 1
¶ 01/08/2012: 35; generally about in the treetops during dusk
¶ 01/08/2014: 200; swirling about in the dark above 49th and Hamilton streets at 6:50 p.m.; nearly two hours after sunset
¶ 01/09/2014: 220; at 7 p.m. sitting in the upper treetops of four deciduous trees at 48th avenue and Caldwell street; not roosting here on 11th
¶ 01/10/2009: 2; in the neighborhood
¶ 01/17/2013: 4; loud black birds vocal while lurking about the block
¶ 01/17/2004: 125; counted during walk-about
¶ 01/18/2011: 11; in the early daytime
¶ 01/20/2012: 96; flying northward above the trees ca. 5:15 p.m.
¶ 01/21/2013: 2; during mid-afternoon
¶ 01/27/2013: 3; circa 4:30 p.m., preening atop the prominent snags
¶ 01/27/2012: 2; going southerly in the evening
¶ 01/28/2011: 35; early morning
¶ 02/01/2011: 3; flying southerly about mid-afternoon while outside shoveling snow
¶ 02/02/2010: 2
¶ 02/08/2012: 116; flying north, northwest at 7 a.m.
¶ 02/09/2011: 21; in the treetops in the first morning
¶ 02/09/2013: 2; later in the morning, crowing about the block
¶ 02/11/2013: 21; going southward at the treetops; ca. 5:35 to 5:40 p.m.
¶ 02/11/2014: 215; perched among the local trees or flying southward ca. 5:45 p.m.
¶ 02/12/2013: 75; going past ca. 7 a.m. towards the north
¶ 02/14/2013: 68; gathered two yards over in early morning
¶ 02/15/2013: 69; flying northward between 7:05 and 7:20 a.m.; some landed and lingered for a few minutes in same tree as yesterday
¶ 02/16/2013: 2; perched in the treetops ca. 4 p.m.
¶ 02/17/2011: 85; at least this number gathered in the evening
¶ 02/19/2014: 20; perched around in the treetops at 6 p.m.
¶ 02/19/2012: 20; heard at dawn without actual sighting, so numbers present inadequate
¶ 02/20/2013: 79; flying past in a couple of minutes prior to 7 a.m.
¶ 02/21/2011: 200; perched in tree tops and coursing on the brisk, evening winds
¶ 02/24/2012: 50; flying southward at 6 p.m.
¶ 02/25/2012: 17; northward bound
¶ 02/28/2014: 45; flock perched in treetop at 49th and Izard until scared away by resident at corner
¶ 03/01/2013: 130; flying past ca. 6:45 to 7 a.m.
¶ 02/29/2012: 19; milling about at dusk
¶ 03/02/2013: 275; flying southerly from 5:45 to 6:10 p.m.
¶ 03/03/2011: 52; gathered at dusk
¶ 03/04/2014: 10; going northward at first light
¶ 03/06/2010: 35; going southward in the evening
¶ 03/07/2013: 230; flying southward from 6:05 to ca. 6:20 p.m.
¶ 03/07/2011: 1; readily heard
¶ 03/07/2012: 2
¶ 03/08/2013: 11; flying southward ca. 5:00 p.m.
¶ 03/10/2013: 2; about in the earlier morning
¶ 03/11/2013: 377; flying southward at dusk; mostly from 7:10 to 7:30 p.m., daylight savings time; first heard in the morning going northerly at 7 a.m.; mostly clear skies, with no wind
¶ 03/13/2010: 10; flowing southward above the neighborhood
¶ 03/13/2013: 28; numbers noted from 19:10 to 19:30 at the residence
¶ 03/15/2011: 2; during evening stroll
¶ 03/18/2013: 40; going southerly at 7:30 p.m.
¶ 03/26/2013: 12; flying northerly shortly after 7 a.m.
¶ 03/31/2013: 2; quiet at the end of the block
¶ 04/05/2010: 1; heard at the first light of the spring dawn
¶ 04/07/2013: 1; in yard across street, chasing something
¶ 04/13/2012: 1
¶ 04/25/2012: 1; heard out the window
¶ 04/28/2013: 1; probably nesting down the block in conifer at Cuming Street
¶ 05/01/2012: 1
¶ 05/05/2013: 2; at 49th and Cuming Street
¶ 05/08/2012: 1; walking around on the block
¶ 05/12/2012: 1; easily heard about when the sun is rising
¶ 05/27/2012: 2
¶ 05/28/2012: 3; adults and dependent young
¶ 06/04/2012: 2
¶ 06/12/2003: 1; winging along the way
¶ 06/22/2012: 2; eating common grackle nestlings in conifer by the house; commotion heard
¶ 07/07/2012: 2
¶ 07/12/2011: 2
¶ 07/16/2003: 1; heard while on the bike ride about
¶ 07/25/2011: 2
¶ 08/02/2013: 1; heard through the window of the dungeon
¶ 08/04/2012: 2; crows scattered about the neighborhood
¶ 08/17/2009: 1
¶ 08/20/2011: 3; in the latter afternoon
¶ 09/08/2013: 1; heard to the west
¶ 09/20/2011: 1; alone in the evening
¶ 09/26/2013: 1; transient at the convenience store on the north side
¶ 10/03/2010: 5
¶ 10/08/2009: 2; seen outside
¶ 10/08/2013: 1; flying southward in strong winds under cloudy skies
¶ 10/10/2011: 2
¶ 10/10/2012: 1; heard in the immediate neighborhood
¶ 10/14/2013: 6; flying westerly on the south side
¶ 10/14/2012: 2
¶ 10/18/2012: 2; heard in the latter morning
¶ 10/19/2010: 2; on the north side walking about a parking lot there
¶ 10/20/2011: 2; readily heard and two seen
¶ 10/21/2009: 3; on roof of apartment on Hamilton Street
¶ 10/20/2012: 3; congregating in the treetops
¶ 10/28/2012: 2; 5 flying past at the end of the day
¶ 11/01/2011: 1; 4 on east side at pre-dawn
¶ 11/11/2009: 95; in three trees on 49th street; the time outdoors led to a neighborhood gathering to put the street light bulb back in place, which included an errant dog from the corner house on the block
¶ 11/13/2012: 11; cawing about minutes before sunrise
¶ 11/16/2013: 23; flying northward about 7 a.m.
¶ 11/20/2012: 22; flying over at dawn
¶ 11/22/2011: 2; heard
¶ 11/26/2013: 12; noted being blown southward while getting newspaper from front porch at 4:38 p.m.
¶ 11/30/2003: 45; in treetops to east of 900 North 49th feeder
¶ 12/02/2010: 7; flying northward in latter afternoon
¶ 12/02/2008: 107; flying southward in small bunches over Carthage at 16:00
¶ 12/02/2012: 4
¶ 12/03/2005: 2; bothering a local red-tailed hawk
¶ 12/05/2010: 11; flying southward
¶ 12/07/2005: 8; 900 block of north 49th street
¶ 12/07/2011: 2; at dawn
¶ 12/09/2011: 245; flying northward just before dawn
¶ 12/13/2013: 75; flock whirling about at the north side at 5:55 p.m., in the dark skies long after sunset which was at 4:55 p.m.
¶ 12/13/2003: 3
¶ 12/17/2010: 44; flying over the neighborhood at first light
¶ 12/17/2009: 57; flying northward at sunrise
¶ 12/18/2003: 225; in dusk-time trees about 900 north block
¶ 12/19/2008: 94; during 1600 hour
¶ 12/24/2006: 2; winging along
¶ 12/27/2012: 102; flying southeast from 4:05 to 4:25 p.m.
¶ 12/29/2011: 3; a few noted from what is a pre-roost gathering in the area
¶ 12/30/2010: 45; evening gathering in the treetops
¶ 12/31/2010: 1; heard

The next addition to the list of birds for this neighborhood might be a colorful warbler, or some other species being obscure during their intermittent presence. Brown Creepers have been seen here, though there is a great demand to actually record their occurrence. With this tally, there has to be some attentive, knowledgeable watcher that can convey something new for Carthage. My eyes are already pealed, with attentive observation to observe some new bit of bird life appreciating this particular neighborhood.


Northern Cardinal Dates
Date: Number
¶ 01/01/2013: 2
¶ 01/02/2012: 3
¶ 01/10/2009: 2
¶ 01/13/2012: 2
¶ 01/15/2013: 2
¶ 01/16/2014: 2
¶ 01/17/2004: 2
¶ 01/18/2014: 2
¶ 01/20/2012: 2
¶ 01/21/2013: 2
¶ 01/27/2013: 3
¶ 01/28/2012: 1
¶ 01/29/2010: 2
¶ 02/02/2004: 2
¶ 02/05/2010: 4
¶ 02/06/2014: 2
¶ 02/08/2012: 1
¶ 02/09/2013: 3
¶ 02/13/2012: 6
¶ 02/16/2013: 3
¶ 02/19/2014: 3
¶ 02/19/2012: 2
¶ 02/21/2010: 2
¶ 02/26/2011: 2
¶ 02/27/2011: 2
¶ 02/28/2014: 4
¶ 03/04/2014: 4
¶ 03/05/2013: 3
¶ 03/07/2011: 2
¶ 03/08/2013: 3
¶ 03/07/2012: 2
¶ 03/10/2011: 1
¶ 03/10/2013: 6
¶ 03/12/2010: 1
¶ 03/13/2008: 2
¶ 03/16/2011: 2
¶ 03/19/2010: 2
¶ 03/20/2013: 2
¶ 03/25/2008: 3
¶ 03/31/2013: 6
¶ 04/05/2010: 3
¶ 04/07/2013: 4
¶ 04/08/2011: 1
¶ 04/12/2013: 3
¶ 04/13/2012: 2
¶ 04/28/2013: 4
¶ 04/28/2011: 2
¶ 05/01/2011: 2
¶ 05/01/2012: 2
¶ 05/03/2011: 2
¶ 05/06/2013: 2
¶ 05/20/2011: 1
¶ 05/22/2010: 2
¶ 05/26/2013: 4
¶ 05/27/2012: 2
¶ 06/03/2003: 3
¶ 06/06/2013: 4
¶ 06/06/2012: 3
¶ 06/11/2009: 1
¶ 06/12/2003: 1
¶ 06/15/2013: 3
¶ 06/22/2012: 2
¶ 06/25/2003: 2
¶ 07/07/2012: 1
¶ 07/12/2011: 1
¶ 07/13/2010: 2
¶ 07/16/2003: 1
¶ 07/19/2012: 1
¶ 07/21/2013: 9
¶ 07/22/2010: 1
¶ 08/03/2013: 4
¶ 08/03/2012: 2
¶ 08/09/2011: 2
¶ 08/12/2011: 2
¶ 08/17/2009: 1
¶ 08/24/2010: 2
¶ 08/29/2013: 4
¶ 09/08/2013: 3
¶ 09/14/2012: 2
¶ 09/15/2011: 2
¶ 09/22/2009: 1
¶ 09/24/2013: 3

¶ 10/11/2012: 1
¶ 10/13/2011: 1
¶ 10/13/2013: 2
¶ 10/20/2012: 2
¶ 10/31/2011: 2
¶ 11/02/2010: 2
¶ 11/10/2010: 3
¶ 11/11/2010: 2
¶ 11/13/2012: 2
¶ 11/17/2013: 2
¶ 11/23/2013: 2
¶ 11/22/2012: 2
¶ 11/24/2012: 4
¶ 11/30/2013: 1
¶ 11/29/2012: 2
¶ 12/02/2012: 3
¶ 12/04/2011: 1
¶ 12/05/2010: 2
¶ 12/05/2012: 2
¶ 12/07/2005: 4
¶ 12/07/2013: 2
¶ 12/08/2009: 1
¶ 12/11/2011: 6
¶ 12/14/2009: 1
¶ 12/15/2013: 2
¶ 12/15/2003: 1
¶ 12/26/2012: 2
¶ 12/29/2011: 2
The stacatto song of this expressive, little red bird is only slightly less appreciated than the "hello" greeting of the Black-capped Chickadee. Both are permanent residents.

These are details for one more occurrent species, the diminutive and so quiet Brown Creeper. It occurs more often than it has been seen.

Creeper Times
Date: Number; Species Notation
¶ 01/07/2009: 1; in the back yard
¶ 01/08/2013: 1; creeper going up oak tree bark in back yard
¶ 02/26/2011: 1; up the pine tree out front
¶ 04/21/2013: 1; on the maple in the back yard
¶ 10/08/2012: 1; going up and then up again on the bark of the backyard oak tree
¶ 10/14/2012: 1; going up the back yard oak tree
¶ 10/23/2012: 1; on the back-yard oak tree; then downy woodpecker arrived
¶ 10/31/2010: 2; in the back yard of 900 block north
¶ 11/22/2012: 1
¶ 11/24/2012: 1; up oak trunk outside the window
¶ 11/25/2012: 1; in the morning on the oak tree
¶ 11/29/2012: 1; going up the backyard oak tree
¶ 12/04/2011: 1; noted in neighbors conifer while seeing if the newspaper had arrived yet, after 8 a.m. on the weekend
¶ 12/05/2012: 1; on trunk of back-yard oak tree

As this bit of scribbling came to an end on a Sunday evening, it seemed appropriate to be outside, once again. The sky was partly blue. There was a chorus of a few crows — mostly to the west — and a lesser number of robins chirping. Not to be ignored were the squirrel antics, partly on the ground and otherwise on the utility wires strung along the back-side of the property lots, with a particular pole seeming to indicates the animal's boundary. A cardinal has claimed the back side of the yard, as conveyed by its steady song. It was a perfect evening to linger and listen, east of the big metallic star prominent in the west.

Spring-time bird activity was enjoyed, once again.