Recent Goose Pond FWA bird count offers encouraging results

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Those people who believe the statement, "Build it and they will come," should be encouraged by the numbers registered in the most recent bird count at the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area.

Results recently released from the fourth annual Goose Pond Christmas Bird Count that took place on Dec. 16, 2009, show the highest species total among all similar counts that were conducted in the state of Indiana, according to veteran compiler, Lee Sterrenburg, with the Sassafras Audubon Society, based in Bloomington.

It was the Goose Pond's third year in a row to lead state count totals.

The 2009 Sandhill Crane migration near the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area. (Greene County Daily World file photo by Nick Schneider)

Goose Pond is Indiana's newest Fish and Wildlife Area, located just south of Linton. The 8,000 acres of wetland and wildlife habitat was purchased by the Department of Natural Resources in October 2005. Nature lovers and sportsmen are already reaping the benefits of this unique and vast property.

The recent CBC registered 107 species and 270,792 individual birds that were observed in the field by 43 observers.

"We knew we were doing well when we had already tallied 100 species at the lunchtime break. The varied habitats and a highly dedicated group of participants continue to make the Goose Pond CBC an exciting annual event," Sterrenburg said. "The varied habitat contributes to the high species total. The count circle is located mostly in Greene County with portions in Sullivan and extreme northern Knox counties. The circle includes all the restored wetlands and prairie grasslands Goose Pond FWA, all the forested parts of Greene-Sullivan SF, Hawthorn Mine on the Greene and Sullivan county sides, the city of Linton, and agricultural lands east and south of GPFWA."

Sterrenburg, a veteran birdwatcher, noted, "An unexpected highlight was a virtual clean sweep on the rarer wrens, with one House Wren, one Winter Wren, one Sedge Wren and one Marsh Wren all found on count day. One American Bittern kept intact our record of never missing this rare winter species on the CBC. The newly expanded wetlands at Goose Pond FWA produced one Great Egret1, a new species for the count, and four surprising Black-Crowned Night Herons, likewise new for the count. One Barn Owl was only the second ever on the count."

Sterrenburg reported 23 species of waterfowl included Greater White-Fronted Geese, Cackling Geese, Tundra Swans, and Blue Winged Teal.

Raptors once again did well with 11 Bald Eagles, as well as significant numbers of Cooper's Hawks, Red-Tailed Hawks, Rough-Legged Hawks, American Kestrels, Saw-Whet Owls and Short-Eared Owls.

Shorebirds made major contributions with three Least Sandpipers, six Dunlin and one Wilson's Snipe.

"Sparrow numbers were generally down from previous counts, partly due to extensive flooding in the GPFWA grasslands. We still managed to record observations of American Tree Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swap Sparrows, Lincoln Sparrows, Rusty Blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds, Eastern Meadowlarks and Common Grackles.

"An evening Grackle flight estimated at a quarter of million (250,000) birds accounted for most of the numbers for that species," he added. "We observed two non-countable introduced species, Trumpeter Swan (5) and Whooping Crane (4) and a Snow Goose."

Sterrenburg called this year's count highly successful and he noted, "We are grateful to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for maintaining Goose Pond FWA as a prime wintering habitat for birds."

Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area Property manager Brad Feaster added, "These outstanding results go a long way toward increasing people's awareness of what Greene County has to offer."

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  • Why do people have to be so negative about the Goosepond?

    -- Posted by localyokal on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 4:03 PM
  • I would like to see some more Bald Eagles around here but as far as the other birds i wouldnt know what i was looking at. Kinda like holding a handfull of rocks.

    -- Posted by BadSpellerrr on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 5:21 PM
  • LOL

    -- Posted by Blueyedame on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 11:01 PM
  • Be happy you've got this,you could be living in the city where you only get the bird.

    -- Posted by xdrill on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 8:33 AM
  • xdrill,


    -- Posted by redbird08 on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 9:12 AM
  • I like watching the cranes fly over and listning to them. I don't remember seeing very many before the Goose pond was refitted. There is nothing to be unhappy about. When is nature not best.

    -- Posted by Bright's on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 9:25 AM
  • Do the math.

    $603 per birder isn't going to do anything for the economy of Greene County.

    -- Posted by BillShields on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 1:59 PM
  • Evolouie,

    I'm afraid you're still VERY wrong. Using a simple inflation calculator, 25 billion dollars (in 1979 money) would be equal to 73 billion dollars (in 2006 mondey). Meaning that to compare apples to apples, the 36 billion spent today, is the equivelent of about 13 billion in 1979. Which means that basically the industry is HALF the size it was 30 years ago.

    Let's face it. The Goose Pond is a unique habitat that Greene Countians have every right to be proud of. However, it's a little crazy to think it will ever generate any significant income outside of a few federal grants here and there.

    -- Posted by rallys on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 1:59 PM
  • Looks like you were wrong Evolouie.

    -- Posted by BillShields on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 2:01 PM
  • I thought the sale of lawn darts had been banned in the U.S. and Canada for several years now... the 80's?

    -- Posted by The Raven on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 2:39 PM
  • Evolouie,

    You still failed to address the inflation factor. Your argument makes no sense, and the statistics you use only further prove how incorrect you are.

    Happy bird watching.

    -- Posted by rallys on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 3:00 PM
  • What work did you do here?

    -- Posted by BillShields on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 3:27 PM
  • Which birds create more money for the county? Goosepond? Or, Stoll's, KFC, and so on?

    -- Posted by Dtown on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 3:46 PM
  • LOL, Dtown!

    -- Posted by Blueyedame on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 11:25 PM
  • I can remember when, Joe Sullivan had more geese in his front yard than their were in the goosepond.

    -- Posted by Busseron on Fri, Feb 19, 2010, at 12:59 PM
  • $173 per person - On a good night that is a bar tab and in Linton that is a monthly income.

    -- Posted by BillShields on Fri, Feb 19, 2010, at 3:09 PM
  • Hey evolouie, the farmers of the goose pond spent over 3 million in the county per year. Also if you put 25 billion in the bank for 30 years at 2% it turns into 45 billion. and you are bragging that something went from 25 billion to 36. It didn't even keep up with a savings account which takes no work!

    -- Posted by chevygleen on Sun, Feb 21, 2010, at 9:27 AM
  • James30096 is that a joke? you write a post with many facts about the goosepond and you don't even have the simplest of all facts. FYI this statement is not even close to the truth:"Ownership of the property changed hands 10-12 times in the 30 years before it was purchased from Wilder Corp in 2005". Get your facts straight before you post.

    -- Posted by chevygleen on Tue, Feb 23, 2010, at 6:46 PM
  • It changed hands 5 times in the last thirty years, you said 10-12. It was not purchased from wilder ever, and no lease was done in 2005. Please show me where you got these facts, I explained myself , now your turn.

    -- Posted by chevygleen on Wed, Feb 24, 2010, at 8:37 AM
  • great now all these birds will be bringing more diseases

    -- Posted by James Edmonson on Wed, Feb 24, 2010, at 3:54 PM
  • birds

    -- Posted by James Edmonson on Wed, Feb 24, 2010, at 3:55 PM
  • "Ownership of the property changed hands 10-12 times in the 30 years before it was purchased from Wilder Corp in 2005"

    Okay so now that you have been answered, where did you get this or was it just your opinion?

    -- Posted by chevygleen on Wed, Feb 24, 2010, at 5:28 PM
  • "This drainage problem was likely the reason for a large portion of the area changing ownership eleven times in approximately 35 years."

    "Ownership of the property changed hands 10-12 times in the 30 years before it was purchased from Wilder Corp in 2005"

    So did you purposely change the numbers or were you just wrong? There were 5 mis-statements listed are you wrong on them all? Did you make the statements and then later try to find an article that would back it up and this was as close as you could get? so you still have several mis-statements that you have not addressed:

    2. "Some years, farmers planted up to four crops because of flooding

    3. "At least one person spent over $1 million trying to keep it from flooding to no avail

    So far it looks like you have not gotten one single fact exactly right. Is sorta close good enough for you? It seems that we listened to you and showed where we got our statements are you willing to do what you have asked of others?

    -- Posted by chevygleen on Sat, Feb 27, 2010, at 8:56 AM
  • Let it drop Coleman....LOL

    -- Posted by localyokal on Sun, Feb 28, 2010, at 6:00 PM
  • Or better yet let him argue the wrong point. Lets just compare the profit the farming made VS the profit the Reserve makes. What do you think the Reserve costs per year to run, lets just guess 400,000$ what do they bring in? I would bet they bring in less than 5,000$ and will operate at a loss for many years because we the taxpayer will support it. Even if we would compare profit to profit your argument IS LOST, it is not the important point to Greene County. The important thing is Greene County lost MILLIONS SPENT AT LOCAL BUSINESSES.

    -- Posted by chevygleen on Mon, Mar 1, 2010, at 9:37 AM
  • John,

    James is not my first name and I am originally from Gibson County (with stints in Posey & Tippecanoe counties in Indiana and states of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming Virginia & Florida) having never lived in Georgia.


    -- Posted by Brad Feaster on Mon, Mar 1, 2010, at 2:42 PM
  • lol well this has been quite enlightening! thank you so much for the afternoon of entertainment boy's!!

    A big BRAVO to johnpaulcoleman!!! well said!

    -- Posted by elynn66 on Mon, Mar 1, 2010, at 3:34 PM
  • It is laughable to me that the two most discussed things on this website are about Saturday makeup days and wetlands! Let's see we have a postal employee who stole our mail, a cocaine bust, a student with a controlled substance,and a sex offender who failed to register. There are more important issues.

    You have wasted 6 days debating a point that none of you can change. The goosepond is here to stay just like school this Saturday at Linton. Get over it and spend your time trying to come up with some good solutions to make it profitable because it is'nt going anywhere...even if it doesn't make a dime ever!

    I have lost some repsect for you Mr. Coleman. I have agreed with you over your annexation views and generally agree with you on this matter, but for you to call out Mr. Feaster when it isn't him is out of line.

    He was hired to do this wasn't his decision to convert it. In fact if you were to be upset, as a fellow farmer, I would think that it would be directed at Mr. Wilder who sold it. I am not sure how many of us would have passed on the deal he was offered to sell it. Whether he was making money or not, that's a pretty sweet gig.

    And James33096, you're right we need to offer some more hotels etc... in this area but that has been a problem for years here. We have had people come to this area to fish and hunt for decades and could use some additional places for them to stay. Perhaps you should build some?? or maybe your like the rest of us and you see a need but when you go to the mattress there is'nt alot of extra cash stuffed in there to build any hotels...It takes money to make money and there isn't alot of expendable money in Greene County.

    -- Posted by POP on Mon, Mar 1, 2010, at 10:42 PM
  • "Let's see we have a postal employee who stole our mail, a cocaine bust, a student with a controlled substance,and a sex offender who failed to register. There are more important issues.

    You have wasted 6 days debating a point that none of you can change"

    Since you brought them up just what can we change about these problems?

    -- Posted by chevygleen on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 8:06 AM
  • My point is pretty simple chevygleen. There isn't really anything we can do about these particular cases, because just like with the goosepond they have already taken place. But all of us can have impacts on future events in our community, including how the goosepond is used, if we choose to be a part of the solution. Debating the past won't solve the future, it just keeps you in the past. This is not the forum to debate the other issues. I was just drawing attention to the obvious. The goosepond is what it is so let's move on and make something positive out of it.

    -- Posted by POP on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 8:39 AM
  • "That is something that we need to change and can change. It is called mis-management of our tax dollars."

    Agreed but we aren't getting it changed on here.

    -- Posted by POP on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 10:59 AM
  • well POP maybe this isn't solving any of the problems but it is bringing more awareness to the problems. Hence if someone who has extra $$ to throw down a ditch and hope for returns this would give them a good ensight of what they could "try" (motel) instead. Granted I personally would never throw any thing that way but, some have nothing else to spend and play with their funds.. there are aloot of gamblers anymore so maybe this would give them something to think about. it is not all in vane

    -- Posted by elynn66 on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 11:52 AM
  • John the way you handled the annexation issue by going to the council meeting and talking to people in the areas is the right way. You were involved.

    I wonder how many people that are against the goosepond have ever went to a DNR meeting, met with Mr. Feaster,attended a GC Economic meeting or got involved in this matter other than to complain publicly and on this website?

    Seems to me the way to make change is to deal with the people that have the power to pull the strings. If we want to make changes in our national government it doesn't happen by posting on blogs. It happens by talking to your govt. offcials and if that doesn't work elect new ones. On a smaller scale the same things apply here. Get invovled in these things and and talk to the local people in place, and where you can, exercise your right to vote them out if you choose.

    If we don't do these things, we have no credibility to gripe about them. We're just loose cannons blowing off and we get ignored.

    -- Posted by POP on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 1:30 PM
  • All this money talking about how much bird watchers bring money to the economy.. I just dont see it. They must be counting the people that see black birds on there way to Wal-mart! We should start watching them on the way to Angels!

    -- Posted by BadSpellerrr on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 5:10 PM
  • First to all of you that think farming the goosepond didn't make money and put thousands if not millions of dollars into the economy along with several jobs it provided thru the years, not to mention all the tax dollars Greene County recieved from the property taxes over the last 30 plus years, ARE TOTALY WRONG. I've lived close to the goosepond for the last 53 years. My family farmed part of what is now part of the 8,000 acres of the goosepond (we grew fine crops) and knew personaly several people that have been employed there. johnpaulcoleman has the facts right. Secondly those of you who think that swamp the DNR has turned the goosepond into is good for the economy--tax free-- will bring in the revenue farming did, You are WAY OFF & TOTALY WRONG. Personaly since they have already destroyed good farm ground and it has alot of coal underneath it, I would like to see the coalmine come in and mine it and leave some nice big pits, plant trees for wooded area, and level some of the areas for camp grounds and put in boat docks. Stock the ponds with all types of fish. Then in the future Greene County would see more out of town fishermen, hunters, campers, hikers, speedboats, and maybe even a few birdwatchers. Make it like Sullivan and Boggs Lake, except bigger and better. Think of the money this would bring to the county. Makes more sense than the Goosepond swamp.

    -- Posted by Scorpio1969 on Mon, Mar 8, 2010, at 1:07 AM
  • Pop---We did go to meetings and passed out petitions, called and to no avail. For all the protesting--NO ONE LISTENED!! So don't go saying that all we had to do was go to meetings, etc. because unless you are somebody they all turned a deaf ear!! Even the congressmen there at the meetings told me personally that it would do no good to say anything because the decision had already been made. And tell me how we are going to make something positive out of all this?? Its a swamp and will always be a swamp and I can count on 2 hands how many so called birds that are going to be seen. What are they suppose to eat when they get here?? I know all the mosquitos that this swamp has harvested!

    -- Posted by Scorpio1969 on Mon, Mar 8, 2010, at 10:01 PM
  • James30096---Just an expression about the hands-- GET REAL!! There is however not enough birds down at the goosepond to sink so much money into that swamp! And what are the so called birds they are counting?? Crows, sparrows, etc, etc, etc. Go out to Walmart or the park. You can see lots of birds and don't have to sink money into it. Besides, I have went through the goosepond on several occasions and to this day I have not seen that many so called birds. I'm wondering who is doing this counting! Maybe the people who want so much money sunk into this worthless project. I for one cant wait until the rain comes and the whole highway is flooded to where you can't even drive thru there. I have pictures from a few years back where the water was over the highway and totally flooded out and these idiots got rid of the drainage that was there then, think what it is going to do now!! So grab your bathing suits and come on down, the water is fine!!! I guess you can swim with ALL the birds down there.

    -- Posted by Scorpio1969 on Thu, Mar 11, 2010, at 2:27 PM
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