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January 8, 2020     The Monroe County Reporter
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Page 23 MONROE OUTDOORS by Terry W. Johnson Conditions were good for Bird Count, but where are the birds? e 2019 Piedmont Na- tional Wildlife Refuge/ Rum Creek Wildlife Management Area Christmas Bird Count was held Monday, Dec. 16. This annual event was once volunteers were out listening for owls, and ended when the sun melted below the western hori- zon. On the day of the count the 23 citizen scientists participating in this year’s count spotted 4,129 individual birds representing 83 again sponsored by species. the Georgia Wildlife Although only 60 more Resources Division’s birds were seen this year Wildlife Conserva- than in 2018, it marked tion Section, the the first time in the past United States Fish five years more birds were and Wildlife Service seen than in the previous and The Environ- year. However, it should mental Resources be noted that the total Network (TERN). number of birds recorded The goal of the j ‘_ l as recently as 2015 was event is to tally significantly hi er as many birds as TERRY w. JOHNSON (5,387). gh possible during a 24— The 83 species seen hour period within a count circle measuring 15 miles in diameter. This area encompasses the Rum Creek WMA and Piedmont NWR as well as a broad swath of eastern Monroe County, west- ern Jones County and a sliver of Jasper County. The data collected on this and hundreds of other counts held throughout the country during the same timeframe are used to assess the status of winter bird populations. Weather always has a major influence on count results. This year throughout most of the day, birding conditions Were excellent. Temperatures ranged from 43-75 degrees F, winds were calm until later in the afternoon when they picked up to 16 mph. The skies were partly cloudy. The survey began well be- fore dawn, when a few intrepid during the 2019 count effort ties the number seen in 2018. How- ever, this is the second year in a row the total species tallied fell below 90. As was the case last year, the chipping sparrow perched atop the list of the 10 species most often seen during the count. This year 366 chippers were spotted. Rounding out the remaining nine spots on the list were the: red- winged blackbird (223), gadwall (205), pine warbler (185), mourn- ing dove (139), Carolina Chicka- dee (137), turkey vulture (132), eastern towhee (122), northern cardinal (121), and ruby-crowned kinglet (120). Only one count record was tied this year. Some 17 common loons were spied feeding on Lake Juliette. Only two count records were set on the 2019 Christmas Bird aRefiormr Count: Nineteen Eurasian collared—doves were spotted. In addition, 82 white-breasted nut- hatches were heard or seen. The most unusual species seen this year proved to be the golden eagle. Two golden eagles were discovered near Allison’s Lake on the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. This large eagle is consid- ered an uncommon winter resi— dent in Georgia. Although golden eagles have been seen on both the refuge and Rum Creek WMA in the past, a golden eagle had never been seen before in this area dur- ing a Christmas Bird Count. The sighting of these two birds brings the total number of species seen during the 49-year history of the Piedmont NWR/Rum Creek WMA Christmas Count to 159. While everyone taking part on the 2019 edition of the count had a great time, all of us could not help but wonder why, for two straight years, birds proved dif- ficult to find. The disappointing results mirrored what people that feed birds have been saying for weeks, “Where are the birds?” I wish I had a definitive answer to this question. You cannot blame the weather. The north- ern tier of the United States and Canada have already been blasted with blustery winter severe enough to send even the hardi- est migrants south. On top of that, birding conditions during the count were favorable. There must be some other reason for bird numbers being so low. I hope that when the results of all other counts staged this year have been analyzed we will have the answer. January 8, 2020 Two golden eagles were tallied on the local Christmas Bird Count for the first time. (Photo courtesy of the United States Fish 8: Wildlife Service). In the meantime, the folks that dedicated a day to participate in the 2019 Piedmont NWR/ Rum Creek WMA Christmas Bird Count are already looking forward to the 2020 count. I hope you will join us. The 2020 count will be held Monday, Dec. 14. If you would like a copy of the results of the 2019 count, just let me know. Terry Johnson is retired Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame— Endangered Wildlife Program. He has written the informative column ‘Monroe Outdoors’ for the Reporter for many years. His book, ‘24 Journey to Discovery,” is avail— able at The Reporter. Email him at tjwoodduck@bellsouth. net. Lady Dogs’ four-game losing streak starts in MP Holiday Classic semis By Richard Dumas On Monday, Dec. 30, forsyth©mymcmet the Lady Dogs finished in fourth place in their home The Mary Persons girls MP Holiday Classic, getting basketball team’s losing routed 74-18 by Upson-Lee streak extended to four in the third—place contest. games with a 70-31 loss at The Lady Dogs missed out non-region Westside (Ma- on the title game by virtue con) on Saturday. of a 48-39 semifinal loss to Westside’s Nautica Perry on Saturday, Dec. 28. Boone led all scorers with In the MP tourney girls 21 points while Boone’s title game on Monday, Lady Seminoles’ teammate Dec. 30, Veterans defeated ‘ Allayia McAfee added 17 Perry 43-21 with the Lady points. Warhawks’ Stacie Jones One night earlier, on being named Most Valuable Friday, the Lady Dogs, Player. 4-12 overall (0—2 in Re- Meanwhile, the MP girls gion 2-AAAA), dropped a basketball squad was next heartbreaker, 45 -43, on the road to non-region Taylor slated to play at region foe Upson—Lee at 6 pm. on County. MP defeated the Tuesday. The Lady Dogs Lady Vikings’ 37-34 in their will next play at Perry at 6 first matchup on Nov. 23. pm. on Friday in another 029 o ‘On the Square 0 478.99 THlS wEEK’s FEATURES WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8TH 1 ms renews r room bisque with roasted garlic and Gorgonzola croutons smoked turkey, mushroom and Swiss on French bread mifi Pith“ Blackened salmon with creamed corn, sauteed spinach and fried green tomato munébi’i,’ limiting” nae renews? Chicken tortilla stew topped with pepper iack ’ Chicken quesadilla with roasted red pepper cream fitifi.’ Plath??? kened shrimp Alfredo with grilled ciabatta and Parmesan FRIDAY, JANUARY 10TH Tin? itittthsW Peppery zucchini bisque topped with cheddar Grilled smoked turkey and Swiss with Diion aioli Stifi starts cakes over Parmesan soft grits and signature remoulade RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED JV Lady Dogs will then play region contest before taking on Howard in yet another road region contest at 6 pm. on Tuesday, Jan. 14. In addition, the MP JV girls basketball team was next scheduled to face Upson—Lee on the road at 4:15 pm. on Tuesday. The at Howard at 4:30 pm. on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Also, the Monroe County Middle School girls basket- ball team was next sched- uled to face Byron Middle on the road at 4:30 pm. on Tuesday. The C-Team Lady Dogs will then travel to ACE for a road contest at 5:30 pm. on Thursday before returning home to host Henderson Middle at 5 pm. on Tuesday, Jan. 14. HOOP DOGS Continued from Page l B one from the left wing, as MP pushed its advantage back out to nine at 51-42. After a' steal and layup by Druid Hills’ Ty Wills narrowed MP’s lead to four, the Bulldogs went on another 5-0 run, capped by a Brown layup offofa feed from Lamont Jones to go back up by nine at 56—47. A Wills’ three-pointer would eventu- ally narrow’s MP edge to three at 58-55 with 3:06 left in the game, but MP an- swered with a 4—0 run thanks to a pair of Brown buckets, an offensive rebound putback, followed by a jumper from just outside the paint, to put the Dogs’ up 62-55. But with one minute left and MP leading by five, Druid Hills’ Jaden Lin- go, who led all scorers with 20 points, got hot fi‘om deep. Lingo knocked down a three from the left wing to trim MP’s lead to two at 62-60. Then, with 33.8 seconds left, Lingo swished his second straight triple, this time from the top of the key, to put Druid Hills on top for the first time in the second half, 63-62. Looking to answer, Brown tried a fadeaway from the foul line, which rimmed out and was rebounded by the Red Devils. Druid Hills’ Seth Cushen— berry then made one of two free throws to put the Red Devils ahead by two at 64-62 with 11 seconds to play. MP went for the win on the final possession as shooting guard Maurice Shannon got an open look from three on the right wing, but Shannon shot too long and airballed as time expired Lingo was joined in double figures by teammates Wills with 13 and Cush- enberry with 12. Brown led the Dogs Hammettth with 13 points. He was joined in double figures by teammates Shannon, Bouie and Dee Morton with 12, 12 and 10, respectively. MP head coach Greg Nix credited Druid Hills with taking away what at times seemed like a sure win for his team. “They hit some tough shots down there, three-point shots,” Nix said “I think they won it. Here’s why. We’re in a zone, and that guy is four feet behind the three-point line. We were there to contest, and he just made shots. And they made their free throws. We’re play- ing better teams. Today, after getting beat like we did against Veterans (two nights earlier), where we just didn’t compete, I told them, ‘We’re not going to do that anymore where we don’t show up to compete. We’re going to get down there and play tough? And we did.’ ’ In the MP tourney nightcap on Dec. 30, Northside (Warner Robins) rallied from a double figure deficit to stun undefeated Veterans 47-44 in the boys championship game. Veterans sprinted out to a 12—0 lead before the Eagles finally got on the board late in the first quarter. The War— hawks would eventually take a seven- point edge at 28-27 into the half, but the Eagles would answer with an 8-0 run to open the third quarter, taking their first lead of the game at 29-28 with 4:32 left in the third period Veterans would re-claim a 42-39 advantage entering the fourth quarter, but Northside squared the contest at 44-44 on a three-point play by Tre Grane with 3:47 to play. After the two teams went more than three minutes without a score, North- side’s Jamarcus Thompson got a pair MPs Harden wins MVP at prestigious GACA North- South All Star game Mary Persons' senior all-purpose standout Rico Harden (left) was named the Most Valuable Play- er of the Georgia Coaches Association (GACA) Senior North-South All-Star Classic at Denmark High School in Alpharetta on Sunday, Dec. 29. MP head coach Brian Nelson said Harden, playing on the South team, had about TOO receiving yards, about 80 rushing yards and scored a touchdown in what he said is the oldest high school football all-star game in the U.S. Nelson said Harden also made the game's biggest play, a reception on a screen pass in which he broke free from a crowd of six defenders and raced 50 yards to the one- yard-line, helping the South squad to 0 3l -2l win. Nelson said at Monday night's season-ending awards banquet that Harden, who was also the Region Z-AAAA Athlete of the Year, finished his high school career as one of the greatest play- ers that has ever worn an MP jersey. According to longtime Bulldogs‘ statistician Nolen Howard, Harden tied an MP program record for most touchdowns in a single game when he crossed the goal line five times in a 45-38 win over Howard on Nov. 7. (Photo/MP Football Twitter) of offensive rebounds and was fouled with 34.4 seconds left. Thompson made one of two free throws to put the Eagles ahead 45-44. Northside’s Jordan Brown then blocked a Veterans’ three-point try from the left corner, and the Eagles got possession. After Grane made a pair of free throws with 13.5 seconds left, Northside took a three-point lead at 47- 44, and the Warhawks had one more chance to force overtime. However, Veterans’ DeAngelo Hines missed a comer three, and Northside’s Brown ripped down the rebound at the buzzer to secure the tourney win. ‘ The Warhawks had beaten the Eagles twice already earlier in the season, in- cluding a 23—point win over Northside 10 days earlier on Dec. 20. Northside’s Thompson, who scored a game-high 16 points, was named the boys’ tourney Most Valuable Player. Meanwhile, MP was slated to return to action with a region road contest at Upson-Lee at 7:30 pm. on Tuesday. MP will then play at Perry in another region game at 7:30 pm. on Friday before traveling to Howard to face their third straight region opponent at 7:30 pm. on Tuesday, Jan. 14. The MP JV boys basketball squad will next play at Perry at 4:15 pm. on Friday. Also, the MP 9th Grade boys basketball team will next play at Jones County at 6 pm. on Thursday. In addition, the Monroe County Middle School boys basketball team was next scheduled to play at Byron Middle at 5:30 pm. on Tuesday before heading back on the road to face ACE at 6:30 pm. on Thurs- day. The C-Team boys squad will then return home to host Henderson Middle at 6 pm. on Tuesday, Jan. 14. pears ECPCG: sjfijflfifififiyfissyfiflfisfifissfr .{.;$. . y..- awn" «at; 1'5" 3 ? ;5ctits e’Cthr r, .\ [w 4 LI 5.. .. ..._. v, 3'? Hi k e a an”enmwidkfiswuu0mvusfit§$na driver-whet» s e u a a marinate u lit‘efll i If It ta: l’l : If. a a a-aa a zwwsnsrstvswws