Purple Finch photo by Bob Stanowski
Black Scoter photo by Paul Lewis from
www.carolinabirdclub.orgLesser Scaup photo from www.utdallas.edu
Greater Scaup photo from www.flyways.us
Northern Pintail photo from www.fws.org
Snow Goose photo from www.nv.wikipedia.org
November, 2011 produced quite an abundance of birds on White Memorial property and at Bantam Lake. A total of 89 species were seen or heard, which is at least 10 more than average for this month. The new ebird gadget on the right side of this blog has been great in keeping readers abreast of what's around the area. The photos above depict a representative sampling of some of the uncommon species detected. Waterbirds by far and away dominated the scene, which is typical for November. The "most bang for the buck" for birders has been to visit Pt. Folly and the Litchfield Town Beach for excellent views of Bantam Lake. Land habitats around these places have also produced plenty of birds. Among the more notable finds at Bantam Lake were a flock of 105 Snow Geese that dropped in for an hour on the 22nd, as many as 7 Northern Shovelers which stayed for the whole month, as many as 3 Northern Pintails present during the second half of the month, 3 Greater and 6 Lesser Scaup present on the 1st, Surf, White-winged, and Black Scoters that dropped in periodically, Long-tailed Ducks that visited during the first half of the month, a Red-throated Loon seen on the 22nd, and Horned and Red-necked Grebes present all month, and 3 Bonaparte's Gulls on the 1st. Little and Cemetery Ponds also produced their fair share of waterfall and other birds. The most notable were Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, and Gadwalls. Landbirds of interest included a Northern Goshawk at Marsh Pt. on the 19th, a Northern Shrike at the Morris Town Beach on the 22nd, Winter Wrens a few times, an American Pipit on the 1st in the Museum Area, a Field Sparrow at Apple Hill on the 8th, and Rusty Blackbirds and Purple Finches on several days in various places. As for numbers, our summary from ebird showed a range from 1,805 individuals during the last week of the month to 11,436 individuals during the middle of the month. Species with the highest number of individuals counted were Canada Goose (240), Ring-billed Gull (330), American Robin (7,500), and Common Grackle (200). So, what caused the bird list for November to be so good? It was undoubtedly the combination of nice, mild weather all month (despite the October snowstorm), an abundant supply of all types of food, and a large number of birders visiting the area.