• Terry Wise

Avian Highlights 2020 at Carillon Stonegate Pond

This past year, there were several noteworthy sightings of birds here at Carillon Stonegate Pond. Here are five sightings that were new to me and that I was able to photograph (some good and some not so good!).


AMERICAN BALD EAGLE.

This sighting made 2020! It was majestic to view. It has been rare to even see a flyover of a Bald Eagle above Carillon Stonegate Pond. But to actually observe it for 20 minutes wading for fish along the shoreline was wondrous.

Bald Eagle wading along shoreline of Carillon Stonegate Pond. Eventually, this majestic bird pulled a fish to shore and dined.
Majestic Bald Eagle fishing on Carillon Stonegate Pond.

DARK-EYED JUNCO - LEUCISTIC FORM.

This bird was quite the surprise this winter. What was this whitish bird? I posted a lifeline request on iNaturalist and was provided an answer. This was a Black-eyed Junco. But, unlike the full dark grey upper body, this Black-eyed Junco was streaked. It has a condition known as leucism which is the lack of full pigmentation. Therefore, this unusual whitish, streaked coloration was created. A leucistic Dark-eyed Junco.

This Dark-eyed Junco in leucistic form was observed foraging with other Dark-eyed Juncos under the winter feeders.
Leucistic Dark-eyed Junco on the recently fallen snow.

GREEN HERON.

In the spring, an unusual bird was sighted among the trees on the banks of Carillon Stonegate Pond. Short, stout, bluish-green with somewhat long legs. I was finally able to photograph during the summer at Stonegate West. It was a Green Heron! Not what one envisions when thinking about a Heron - typically tall and grey.

This Green Heron was located in pond at Stonegate West, but there have been other sightings with photographs here at Carillon Stonegate Pond.
Green Heron wading through pond.

GREATER YELLOWLEGS.

Another new and unusual sighting was the Greater Yellowlegs. This shorebird was wading the shores of Carillon Stonegate Pond. It was moderate in size. And its yellow legs stood out against the water and the bird's white and brown coloration.

This small bird with yellow legs was observed wading at Carillon Stonegate Pond. The Greater Yellowlegs was fun to observe for the first time.
Greater Yellowlegs was wading at Carillon Stonegate Pond.

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH.

The crazy bird that is always moving up and down - mostly head-down. But this bird was different than the White-breasted Nuthatch. It had a reddish breast rather than white. Hence, the name Red-breasted Nuthatch. This fall was the first time that I recall seeing one. It would move from the feeder to a tree branch and embed the seed into the tree for winter feeding.

Nuthatches are always interesting birds to observe. More typically, there are White-breasted Nuthatches at the feeders, but this Red-breasted Nuthatch has been around here for several weeks this early winter.
Upside down Red-breasted Nuthatch at feeder.

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