Today was the Audubon spring bird count day, and as has become customary the last few years, I drove with a small team to take a bird census for a designated portion of the county. We covered about 80 miles of road and walked perhaps six miles mostly inside conservation district lands. Our species count was about 52, though I don't have the exact figures. Weather was better than it has been some years, but certainly not the best for bird observation as the skies were gray and heavy most of the day and we had occasional spells of light drizzle.
Usually we count a lot of migratory warblers, transients in our area, but this year the migration seems to have passed already due to the unusually early warm spring. Instead we caught some summer birds such as the rose-breasted grosbeak and indigo bunting who are not usually visible in the county this early.
Once again we were permitted to enter some closed conservation district lands, including an abandoned limestone quarry that I've mentioned in the past.
This quarry has been a source of large warbler counts in the past, but this year all we saw there were Canada geese, a ring-necked pheasant, and a few resident songbirds. Highlights for this year in other areas included three solitary sandpipers, migrant shorebirds that just pass through our area briefly.
Near the end of the day we made a brief detour into Boone County to peek at a bald eagle nest others have observed. It's on private land along a well-traveled road that has no suitable shoulders on which to stop, but we were able to confirm that the nest is still present and appeared to have an eagle in it as we could see a white head over the edge.
In other news, tonight is the "super" full moon, as the moon is near the perigee (closest point to earth) of its orbit. Unfortunately, the dense overcast skies will probably keep us from seeing it.