[Tweeters] Neah Bay Christmas Bird Count recap

Charlie Wright cwright770 at gmail.com
Sun Dec 20 00:41:00 PST 2015

Thirteen intrepid birders scoured Neah Bay on 13 December as part of an
unofficial, dry run, first attempt at a Neah Bay Christmas Bird Count. We
stayed just outside of the official CBC date window so as not to compete
with other counts this year. All data were entered by the team leader into
eBird at the site-specific level, yielding a great amount of new
information on December bird occurrence in the Neah Bay area. Overall the
count was very successful and interesting, in part because of the weather
conditions surrounding the event.

The count day was preceded by one very stormy Saturday, with 55mph west
winds and heavy rainfall slamming into the coast overnight. The wind had
lessened to about 20mph by early morning Sunday when we gathered to begin
counting. That was the calmest it became all day, as it soon picked up to
25-30 and never really relented. The predicted 30 foot swell made for an
awe-inspiring experience at Cape Flattery, with huge waves crashing against
rocks and spraying dozens of feet into the air. Fortunately, apart from a
few brief showers in the morning, our day was dry and even ended in
sunshine! Nevertheless, passerine birding was generally a challenge with
the winds. Meanwhile seawatching was productive for every party, and a
number of species normally tough to see from shore were observed in
surprising numbers. Common Murres were a spectacle all day, with a total
estimate of 30,942 birds, mainly seen flying west along the edge of the
Strait of Juan de Fuca (that's nearly 60% of all birds counted during the
day!). Black-legged Kittiwakes were witnessed in numbers that are likely
unprecedented in Washington.

Notable observations during the day:

the continuing TUFTED DUCK seen by two parties, first on the sewage ponds
and then re-found at Hobuck Lake.

1 Sooty, 10 Short-tailed, and 13 unidentified dark shearwaters at Shipwreck
Point on the eastern cusp of the circle.

13 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels

29 Leach's Storm-Petrels

2 Brown Pelicans

4 Red Phalaropes

2 Pomarine Jaegers from the greenhouse seawatching spot, including an adult
and a juvenile bird.

an amazing tally of 3647 Black-legged Kittiwakes - absolutely everywhere.

1 Heermann's Gull at Shipwreck Point.

1 "KUMLIEN'S" ICELAND GULL in the evening on the bay.

a pure "Yellow-shafted" Flicker continuing in town.

1 Palm Warbler continuing in town.

1 Swamp Sparrow in the Waatch Valley.

5 Pine Grosbeaks in town near Butler's Motel.

1 (or 2?) White-crowned x Golden-crowned Sparrows hybrid continuing in town.

Owling efforts were largely thwarted by the weather, and several other
species may have been missed because of the weather (Red Crossbill being a
major one).

Our count day total was 52,106 individuals of 117 species. Two additional
species were seen within the circle on the 14th and can be included in
count week totals: Townsend's Warbler and the continuing mega HOODED
WARBLER. My thanks to the birders who braved the elements with us and
helped pave the way for a fun new count.

Species (and hybrid) totals are listed below. All numbers have also been
entered into eBird, so do some exploring there to get a better breakdown of
where things were seen.

Greater White-fronted Goose 9

Snow Goose 7

Brant 54

Cackling Goose 5

Trumpeter Swan 12

Gadwall 2

American Wigeon 23

Mallard 375

Northern Shoveler 11

Northern Pintail 12

Green-winged Teal 161

Ring-necked Duck 27

Tufted Duck 1

Greater Scaup 42

Lesser Scaup 91

Harlequin Duck 149

Surf Scoter 961

White-winged Scoter 238

Black Scoter 1

Long-tailed Duck 93

Bufflehead 1584

Common Goldeneye 25

Hooded Merganser 23

Common Merganser 44

Red-breasted Merganser 32

Ruffed Grouse 1

Red-throated Loon 715

Pacific Loon 460

Common Loon 30

Pied-billed Grebe 2

Horned Grebe 237

Red-necked Grebe 76

Eared Grebe 1

Western Grebe 794

Northern Fulmar 28

Sooty Shearwater 1

Short-tailed Shearwater 10

Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 13

Leach's Storm-Petrel 29

Brandt's Cormorant 793

Double-crested Cormorant 74

Pelagic Cormorant 824

Brown Pelican 2

Great Blue Heron 20

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1

Cooper's Hawk 1

Bald Eagle 44

Red-tailed Hawk 6

Virginia Rail 2

Black Oystercatcher 140

Black-bellied Plover 2

Killdeer 46

Black Turnstone 160

Surfbird 38

Dunlin 8

Wilson's Snipe 8

Red Phalarope 4

Pomarine Jaeger 2

Common Murre 30942

Pigeon Guillemot 45

Marbled Murrelet 98

Ancient Murrelet 13

Cassin's Auklet 3

Rhinoceros Auklet 2

Black-legged Kittiwake 3647

Bonaparte's Gull 14

Heermann's Gull 1

Mew Gull 1473

Ring-billed Gull 2

Western Gull 6

Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid) 714

California Gull 154

Herring Gull 329

Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid) 10

Thayer's Gull 452

Iceland Gull 1

Glaucous-winged Gull 396

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 10

Eurasian Collared-Dove 36

Barred Owl 1

Anna's Hummingbird 10

Belted Kingfisher 16

Downy Woodpecker 5

Hairy Woodpecker 2

Northern Flicker 9

Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1

Merlin 1

Peregrine Falcon 6

Northern Shrike 1

Hutton's Vireo 4

Steller's Jay 39

American/Northwestern Crow 379

Common Raven 16

Black-capped Chickadee 4

Chestnut-backed Chickadee 82

Brown Creeper 5

Pacific Wren 41

Marsh Wren 11

Golden-crowned Kinglet 113

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 78

American Robin 16

Varied Thrush 111

European Starling 243

American Pipit 1

Hooded Warbler cw

Palm Warbler 1

Yellow-rumped Warbler 1

Townsend's Warbler cw

Fox Sparrow 55

Dark-eyed Junco 103

White-crowned Sparrow 17

White-crowned x Golden-crowned Sparrow (hybrid) 1

Golden-crowned Sparrow 44

Savannah Sparrow 1

Song Sparrow 85

Swamp Sparrow 1

Spotted Towhee 19

Red-winged Blackbird 60

Western Meadowlark 4

Pine Grosbeak 5

House Finch 11

Pine Siskin 96

House Sparrow 5


Charlie Wright

Seattle, Washington
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