[Tweeters] Starting the year off right

Jason Hernandez jason.hernandez74 at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 1 20:12:16 PST 2016

I still remember back in the 90s, when Stephen J. Herman taught ornithology classes at Evergreen. In his book on how to keep a prop[er field journal, I seem to recall he advised going out on January 1 every year, to see as many species as possible and thus start their year's record early.
Well, I probably don't do everything he advised; but I do still go out every January 1. This year, I chose to do New Year's Eve in Portland, so that put me close to Yamhill County, Oregon, which is a place that interests me.
Species seen on the first of the year:In the Chehalem Mountains:-- flock of Starlings (first 2016 bird)-- flocks of Robins-- flocks of "Oregon" Juncos-- Hermit Thrush-- Spotted Towhee
In City of Yamhill:-- another flock of Robins-- another flock of Starlings
-- Acorn Woodpeckers-- Song Sparrows-- Western Scrub Jays-- Northern Shovelers (on the wastewater treatment ponds)-- Harrier

In the agricultural zones of the valley:-- yet more Robins-- Red-Tailed Hawk-- American Kestrels
At the Yamhill River:-- huge flock of Robins-- more Juncos-- more Western Scrub Jays-- Steller's Jays-- and the year's first singing bird, another Song Sparrow
Total number of species: 13

Not bad for a mostly-freezing day, and the Chehalem Mountains snow-covered and windswept. I had forgotten how gregarious Robins become in winter -- those flocks were huge! Most of these might seem like pretty commonplace birds, and a lot of birders would be disappointed to have to say their first bird of the year was the Starling; but on the other hand, it can't be a bad thing to get Acorn Woodpeckers on one's first day out!
Jason Hernandez
jason.hernandez74 at yahoo.com

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