My first bird of the year was a lingering Savannah Sparrow on the Kingston, Ohio CBC, seen January 1st. My friend Paul and I were responsible for the upper portion of the circle (if the circle were a clock, the portion would have been a wedge between 11 and 1 o'clock, with the southern boundary being a line drawn between 10 and 2 o'clock). This area was mostly barren farm fields and ratty-looking developments, but there was some bottomlands and CRP lands that held some birds. Not helping any was the strong gusty winds all day.
Still, we counted 33 species of birds for our portion, including both accipters common to Ohio, Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels; thousands of Common Grackles and Starlings, and the rest of the common birds.
I only missed one bird that Paul saw, a red-winged blackbird.
After the count, we headed back to Columbus and saw the Black-crowned Night Herons in their winter roost at Drake Union at the OSU campus and looked for the Merlin at the OSU wetlands facility, with no luck.
Tomorrow is my first Avids trip of the year - we're headed to Lake Erie for gulls, waterfowl, and who knows what else.
Next week will be exciting for me- my first trip to the southwest (at least as a birder)! I have a conference I will be attending in Albuquerque, and I have two opportunities to bird: A tour to Chaco Culture National Park, which is cool in and of itself, but should also give me some arid-habitat birds; and a day focusing on Sandia Crest for winter montane birds. If time allows, I may head down to Bosque del Apache for the snow and Ross's geese and other birds.