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Birdwalk Highlights for 11/12: Durham Secret Spot

Dense fog, increasing wind, and approaching rain limited our turnout, and our possible fruitful destinations. So we visited a particularly fruitful feeding station that we have exclusive access to in Durham. It was even more incredible than we expected.


Hitting 20 species at a feeder in a short window of time - no matter how productive - is often a challenge, so we tallied species en route: a single HERRING GULL, a flock of 20 COMMON GRACKLES, 20 MOURNING DOVES, and a flock of 25 WILD TURKEYS in a field. A thorough check of a recently plowed field only yielded about 40 AMERICAN CROWS, however.


Arriving at our destination, we were immediately greeted by birds, including 4 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS.


We did a very short walk before settling into place in the comfort of the indoor viewing area, we sat for an hour and 15 minutes...and recorded 18 species! From one chair. That was easy!


By far the highlight was the incredible flock of 32 EVENING GROSBEAKS that descended on the feeders a few minutes after we arrived. It was an impressively bright show on such a dreary gray day. They came and went for the duration of the visit. This alone was well worth the trip.


But then a late RUSTY BLACKBIRD joined the 5 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS at the feeders, a very late date for this still-uncommon bird. The juxtaposition of Evening Grosbeaks next to a Rusty was remarkable; two species that have experienced catastrophic declines but may now be recovering as Spruce Budworm outbreaks move east.


Meanwhile, other feeder birds were omnipresent. Careful but conservative counts of the activity today included: 40 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, 8 DARK-EYED JUNCOS, 6 NORTHERN CARDINALS, 4 TUFTED TITMICE, 4 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, 4 MOURNING DOVES, 3 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, 2 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, 2 BLUE JAYS, 2 DOWNY WOODPECKERS, and one each of SONG SPARROW, RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, HAIRY WOODPECKER, and PURPLE FINCH. And finally, 5 AMERICAN ROBINS alighted in the trees a little further away.



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