Of course I headed over to Turner's Pond. All of the thickets were covered in frost but thankfully the pond hadn't frozen at all over the past few days. The two Red-necked Grebes were actively diving, doing their circuit of the pond. I think I discerned that one is an adult and the other an immature, the adult being more clearly marked seems to be coming into its breeding plumage with the red neck beginning to show. I just hope they will stick around for quite a bit longer. Instead of two Great Cormorants there were three! However, the third one didn't seem to like the pond too much as it left while I was watching. They really are beautiful birds with their white throat and hip patches, their white 'bonnet' and their scaly blue iridescence. I was rewarded with some nice views as the third bird flew back and forth in an attempt to rise above the tree line.
At one point I decided to try and explore an area that I hadn't dared to venture very far into before. This was probably because of an abundance of thorny thickets and unexpected streams. However, besides that, it is one of the most open areas of land around the pond, excluding the schools field. I decided to do this mostly because the area is the major spot for White-throated Sparrows around the pond and I wanted a closer look and possibly some photo-ops since they are one of my favorite birds.
As I began to walk into the area, stepping over the first of many streams, and sidestepping thorny thickets that had been flattened by the snow, I came upon a stream that was a bit wider than the others. The snow along its edges had melted and there was evident greenery popping up along its banks. But before I noticed any of this, there was a miniature explosion of movement and a chubby rufous-winged shorebird burst into the air and went whizzing off in the opposite direction. American Woodcock! Definitely not a bird I expected to find here of all places, but there it was clear as day; or more accurately: fuzzy as a bird flying quickly away from you. Nonetheless it was a woodcock and it had flown across the open area in about a second (shows how large this area really is) and dropped down into the edge of the wood. The habitat is practically the definition of woodcock habitat, it's just that it's so small.
I decided to try and approach the area where it had landed from the other side of the open area. I had once come from that direction before, trying for a picture of an immature Sharp-shinned Hawk, and it's also very thorny but also wooded. I made my way there, using the main stream which is kind of the buffer for this edge of the area as my marker. However, before I even got near the area where the woodcock had landed I flushed another two woodcocks from that very stream.
I wish I had been able to get a good look at one but that was the end of my woodcock sightings for the day.
I managed to tally a total of 32 species that morning, probably the first time I've broken thirty all winter. This count included a Great Blue Heron (which I think just flew over a few times and didn't land) and 62 Common Grackles whose numbers seem to be steadily rising.