On Sunday, December 7, 2014, seven members of the Piedmont Bird Club gathered at Mayo River State Park for a few hours of birding. Sunny skies and mild temperatures (for December) were offset by strong winds that made the wind chill a little uncomfortable. The winds also kept many of the small birds hunkered down. Among the highlights was a Brown Creeper at the park. We were watching a mixed flock that contained Golden-crowned Kinglets, and just started discussing that a good place to spot Brown Creepers would be on the tree trunks below a flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets, when Lou Skrabec spotted one. Next, we visited nearby Mayo River Road. The sparrows were staying in the brush, but a Fox Sparrow graced us with a couple of choruses of its song. A quick stop at a pasture along Ledbetter Road to look for a large flock of American Pipits that have been regular visitors there was a disappointment. The Pipits were flying as we pulled over to park. Lou followed them with his binoculars until they disappeared. We scanned the fields but could not relocate the flock. We then decided to change tactics and try to relocate a Ross’s Goose seen earlier in the morning. We had success at the second pond we checked. I was certainly excited to be able to show the Ross’s to the participants. Unfortunately, a Goose that I passed off as a hybrid, turned out to be a Greater White-fronted Goose. I initially thought the bird lacked any black on the belly, and that the belly was just too light. In this situation, lighting made a big difference. Photos taken later by another birder however showed enough detail to clinch the ID. I apologize to the participants for not spending more time on this goose and blowing the ID. The last bird of the day was a Common Raven perched on a light pole near the Business 220 boat landing as we departed. We ended a day with difficulties and successes with 40 species plus an accipiter.
Greater White-fronted Goose
Great Blue Heron