By: Joe Sebastiani, Members Program Team Leader
As the program participants entered Ashland Nature Center yesterday, the smell of cooking bacon, scrapple, eggs, and pancakes was pleasantly overwhelming. A fire roared in the auditorium and the tables were set for our pre-birding feast. We were preparing to visit the Burrows Run Preserve to contribute sightings for the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. The big breakfast was a fun way to prepare to be outside for the morning, hiking the hills of the preserve in search of birds.
With six Delaware Nature Society members and a hand-full of staff, we hiked the preserve and identified species as we went. Interns were placed in charge of counting Canada Geese in the flocks overhead. Songbirds were in short-supply for the most part, but we found a few good pockets of them, including 38 Purple Finch in one flock.
As the morning progressed, we found some nice surprises and had a fulfilling walk. At one point, we split up, and Derek Stoner and Judy Montgomery’s group found 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches, which are somewhat rare this winter. As the wind picked up, we ended the walk having found some of the common winter species of the preserve as well as a some unexpected ones. Contributing to this nationwide count is always fun, however and is a great way to get outside in what I consider the most boring month of the year. Am I right? No football, no baseball, and I am getting tired of winter!