[Tweeters] Final results of Sequim-Dungeness CBC

B Boekelheide bboek at olympus.net
Thu Dec 24 16:22:04 PST 2015

Hello, Tweeters,

All the data are entered for the Sequim-Dungeness CBC, held on Monday, Dec 14. It was the 40th SDCBC, an exceptional year for birds and weather. Fortunately the rain stayed away, the winds stayed light, and the birds cooperated extraordinarily well.

In total, we ended up with 154 species, three more than our previous record. Total number of individual birds was 62,254, slightly higher than our average for the past 20 years and the highest number since 2011. We had 112 counters in 38 to 46 parties, along with 23 feeder watchers.

The top ten most abundant species on the count were Am Wigeon (8048), Mallard (6772), No. Pintail (3369), Glaucous-winged/Olympic Gulls (2616), Dark-eyed Junco (2564), Brant (2555), Bufflehead (2214), Am. Robin (2031), Eur. Starling (1891), and Song Sparrow (1630).

Species setting new high counts included several woodpeckers, sparrows, and a few recent invaders, among others. Species with all-time high counts for our CBC included Cooper’s Hawk, Eur. Collared-Dove, Barred Owl, Anna’s Hummingbird, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, No. Flicker, Merlin, Steller’s Jay, Brown Creeper, Spotted Towhee, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Western Meadowlark, and Evening Grosbeak.

Sparrows as a group were extraordinarily abundant this year, particularly Song Sparrows. We tallied 1630 Song Sparrows, far more than our previous record of 1365 set in 2008. Several parties commented on the extraordinary number of Song Sparrows. In some brushy areas there were sizable roving flocks of predominantly Song Sparrows, very different from how we normally encounter this species. Nearly all looked like our typical Pac NW coastal Song Sparrows.

Increases in Eurasian Collared-Doves and Anna’s Hummingbirds continue to amaze. This year we recorded 342 collared-doves, well beyond the previous record of 310 seen in 2013. Collared-doves were first recorded on this CBC in 2007, just 8 years ago. This year we also recorded 214 Anna’s Hummingbirds, well beyond the previous record of 155 set in 2013. Anna’s Hummingbirds were first recorded on this CBC in 1994, and the very first time they reached 10 birds was as recent as 2006.

Species with their second-highest counts for the history of this CBC included Cackling Goose, Ring-necked Duck, Yellow-billed Loon, Virginia Rail, Marbled Godwit, California Gull, Pigeon Guillemot, Rock Pigeon, Pileated Woodpecker, Bushtit, White-throated Sparrow, and Golden-crowned Sparrow.

Very few species set record low numbers. One exception is White-winged Scoter, which continues to decline in our area. This year we only recorded 36 WWSC, the lowest ever. Up until 2007 we regularly recorded hundreds of WWSC in our circle, with a high count of 1374 in 1993. In contrast, Surf Scoter numbers this year rebounded to above average for the last 20 years.

Count-week species included Canvasback and Swamp Sparrow. We totally missed Ring-necked Pheasant and Band-tailed Pigeon, species we see most years. The WDFW is not releasing pheasants for hunting around here anymore, obviously affecting their count.

There were several interesting species that popped up on our count, thanks to our sharp-eyed observers:
No. Fulmar - 2 (seen and photographed by our offshore boat party, fourth time for our count)
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel - 17 (seen and photographed by our offshore boat party, first for our count)
Leach’s Storm-Petrel - 18 (seen and photographed by our offshore boat party and seen by the Dungeness Spit party, first for our count)
Black-crowned Night-Heron - 2 (Windy and Gale — 5th year in a row for roosting BCNH in Dungeness)
Rough-legged Hawk - 1 (present for several weeks before the CBC and still present in west Sequim, 12th time for our count)
Willet - 1 (present since last summer in Dungeness Bay, 2nd time for our count)
Black-legged Kittiwake - 1 (photographed roosting with other gulls at Gibson Spit, 3rd time for our count)
House Wren - 1 (at Graysmarsh, 2nd time for our count)
Western Bluebird - 1 (at Miller Peninsula, 4th time for our count)
Lapland Longspur - 1 (photographed on Protection Island, 5th time for our count)
Wilson’s Warbler - 1 (beautiful male, photographed north of Sequim, 2nd time for our count)
Harris’s Sparrow - 1 (photographed, west Dungeness, 4th time for our count)
Rusty Blackbird - 1 (present through the fall in a flock near Washington Harbor, seen well on count day, 3rd time on our count)
Pine Grosbeak - 2 together (observed near the top of Burnt Hill in the Olympic foothills, 5th time on our count)
Common Redpoll - 1 (observed at Gaskell Slough, aka Kirner Pond, 6th time on our count)

Many, many thanks to all our wonderful count participants! Happy Holidays to all!
Bob Boekelheide

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