Sunday, December 9, 2012

Birding at the Cherokee Brickyards

If there were to be a "country club" of birding spots, the Cherokee Brickyards a.k.a. Macon Brickyards would be one of them.  No other place in Middle Georgia even comes close.  That's where we had our November field trip.

Eighteen people came for this unique birding outing.  This included some birders from Atlanta namely Patty Mclean, Kathy Miller, and DeeAnne Milopoulos. Nice to have you! Ty led the group.  Dr. Ty Ivey is the "password" that opens the gates to this ducks "sanctuary".  Should I say "ducks paradise"? 
We left early. 7:40 a.m.  And the chill was still in the air.  But we were eager.  After crossing the main gate, we made our first stop.  A couple of Pied-billed Grebes and a Killdeer at this first body of water.  Nothing to compare to what was awaiting us.  We heard a Pileated Woodpecker, paused to see our first Yellow-rumped Warblers, (we ended up with 61 Yellow-rumped that day), then Phoebes, a flock of Robins, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a Downy, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, heard 2 Carolina Wrens, more birds were seen and heard, and we moved on.
James Fluellan spotted a Merlin! As we came to our second body of water, we encounter the usual dilemma.  The first timers to this place will gasp and think "Oh My Gosh!" all these ducks on the pond...over a hundred.  And the old timers would be eager to move on.  They want to get to the bigger ponds where more ducks were basking in the rising sun.  More ducks??? Yeah! you ain't seen nothing yet!
Have you ever seen some Greater White-fronted Geese in Georgia?  Not very often.  The above picture by Jerry Amerson shows you two of them...that we all saw at length and with great pleasure that day.  Talking about birding!

Have you ever seen over 300 Wood Ducks, over 1,000 Ring-necked Ducks, over 1,500 American Coots!, dozens upon dozens of Cormorants, Anhingas, Green-winged Teals, Blue-winged Teals, Northern Pintails, Shovelers, over 50 Mallards, over 80 Gadwall the same day? What Georgia winter duck are you looking for? It's there.  Just look for it.  Excluding coastal birds, of course.
Did I say this was a ducks sanctuary? Well, not officially, but it must as well be.
 I've mentioned the ducks we saw on this field trip, but if you think we only saw ducks, we are mistaking.  Our 81 birds species seen that morning (81 different bird species!!!) included Bald Eagles, a Merlin, 7 Northern Harriers (here for the winter like some of the ducks), six different species of sparrows, a dozen Kinglets (Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned), various wrens, warblers, American Pitpits, and the usual birds typically found in Middle Georgia. 
A lot of this birding was fun.  Such as walking the field to "flush" the sparrows as in the picture above.  Or the time everyone was looking at the Bald Eagle circling above, or the close up view of the Brown Creeper, the pretty Palm Warbler, the Kinglets.

Post a comment, thanks.


Anne said...

Great report of a fun day! Sorry you got left behind, ha, ha! Guess you'll know exactly how many coots are there by Saturday!

Andre Coquerel said...

Coots count? Sorry Anne, new Coots keep coming in. And more ducks too.
Birders for the CBC will have a challenge this year.
More ducks than you can count!
I ready to go home!