Saturday, January 11, 2014
I was asked recently what time of year is the best for birding. My reply was something to the effect; any time of year is good for birding, there are just different birds different times of year. Today’s short trip to Baskett Slough National Wildlife is a good illustration of that point. It was a very stormy day with lots of wind and rain, and I did all my birding from the car. But even in these bad winter conditions there were still some great birds to see. In thirty short minutes I had identified and counted fifteen different species. My main motivation for going out today was that I would have an opportunity to see some birds I won’t be able to see in the summer. This Tundra Swan, one of two that I saw, is a case in point. They spent most of the year far to the north and are normally only seen here in Polk County, (according to eBird data) from November thru February. This Tundra Swan can be separated from the Trumpeter Swan by the yellow spot at the base of the bill. The brownish color on the neck tells us it’s a juvenile.