[Tweeters] Sequim-Dungeness CBC results

B Boekelheide bboek at olympus.net
Mon Jan 13 17:29:22 PST 2014

Here's a summary of the results of the Sequim-Dungeness CBC, held on Dec. 16, 2013. I know it's old news, but it's taken this long to get all the data entered and compared.

We had 109 field observers and 27 feeder watchers who spotted 146 species, an above average species count for the last 20 years but lower than our record of 151 species set in 2011. The total number of individual birds counted this year was 56,843, well below the record number of 85,777, also set in 2011.

The most abundant species on our count, as usual, was American Wigeon. The other top-ten abundant species this year, in decreasing order, were Mallard, Olympic/Glaucous-winged Gulls, N. Pintail, Dunlin, Bufflehead, Am. Robin, Dark-eyed Junco, Eur. Starling, and Brant. These top ten species comprised about 54 percent of all the birds seen on our count.

Ten species set record high counts for the 38-year history of our count, including Hooded Merganser, Ruffed Grouse, Yellow-billed Loon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Anna’s Hummingbird, Black-capped Chickadee, Marsh Wren, Am. Dipper, White-crowned Sparrow, and Golden-crowned Sparrow. Several others came close to their all-time high counts, including a few species that continue their remarkable recent increases, such as Trumpeter Swan, Ruddy Duck, and Barred Owl.

The biggest avifauna story of the last decade in this area is the phenomenal increase in recently-arrived species over a very short period of time. The best example is Eurasian Collared-Dove, which appeared for the first time on our CBC in 2007 with only four birds, yet has increased exponentially over the last six years up to 310 individuals this year. The very first Anna’s Hummingbird to ever occur on this CBC was in 1994, yet this year we recorded 155 Anna's. The first Barred Owl to ever occur on the SDCBC was in 1989, then over the next 18 years it was missed more often than not, yet now it is easily the most abundant owl species on our count.

Several species tallied very low numbers this year compared to long-term averages. Finch species such as Pine Siskins, as commented on by others on Tweeters, were extremely low, recording their lowest numbers in the history of our CBC. We totally missed Evening Grosbeaks. White-winged Scoters and Western Grebes continue to decline in our area during winter. Perhaps they're moving further south, where some populations may be increasing.

We found several unusual species, including some never before seen on the SDCBC. Curiously, the two brand-new species were both Icterids. The counters at 3 Crabs found and photographed a male Bullock’s Oriole, perhaps the same bird that was seen there about two weeks prior to the CBC. The observers at Washington Harbor located not just one, but two Rusty Blackbirds in the giant blackbird flocks at Maple View Dairy, including photographs. Other unusual species included an Emperor Goose found and photographed at Gardiner, only the third time on our CBC; a Snow Goose found in Sequim, only the ninth time on our CBC; a Harris’s Sparrow at 3 Crabs, only the fourth time on our CBC; and two Snow Buntings on Dungeness Spit, the fourth time in the last 20 years. Gale, the Black-crowned Night Heron at Dungeness, snuck into her roost in time to be counted for the third year in a row. Fortunately for us, with the exception of the Emperor Goose and Snow Buntings, every one of these species had been seen before our count, so our excellent observers knew to watch out for these species on count day.

Count-week species included Ring-necked Pheasant, Wild Turkey, Am. Bittern, and W. Scrub-Jay.

Many thanks to our intrepid counters and all the cooperative property owners who allowed us access for the count.

Bob Boekelheide

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