[Tweeters] Whatcom CBC birds Sat Sun WWCR etc

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 17 18:08:23 PST 2017

Dear Tweeters,
The past two days, both of which might be considered to be Beethoven's birthday (depending on how one reckons it), there were CBC's in Whatcom County, and good birds were found.
Yesterday, 16 December 2017, the North Cascades CBC was conducted. That one is up in the Newhalem-Diablo area, mostly in Whatcom, with a bit in Skagit on the western edge of the circle. The weather was good, with barely a trace of precipitation, and temperatures in the high thirties to low forties. Birding was very, very slow for all five of the two-person parties. The whole count circle tallied 35 species, a hair over the average for the count circle. The total number of individual birds was about 25% above the all-time low. Even so, two new birds were added to the all-time list. In Diablo, my party found a FOX SPARROW and an ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD. The party covering the far-western area also had a FOX SPARROW. The Fox Sparrow that we saw in Diablo was just a few paces away from a place where I have seen them in Diablo before, at the extreme upstream end of the town, in a yard that has a lichen-covered wooden fence. That's where the hummer was, too. We saw one hummingbird feeder that was empty and dirty, and no blossoms anywhere, but there were a few flying insects here and there. Good luck to that poor hummingbird. The expected finch bonanza did not occur on this CBC. My group had one unidentified finch that was probably a mildly surprising House Finch. I don't know whether any other group found any finches at all. Oh, I was also able to find two NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS on this CBC, in the wee hours. One was in Skagit County, just upriver from the "North Cascades National Park" sign. The other was about twenty meters from the front door of the Newhalem Visitor Center. Both of these owls took a considerable bit of whistling on my part, before they chimed in.
Today, 17 December 2017, the Bellingham CBC was conducted under nasty conditions. Temperatures ranged from 44 to 49 degrees Fahrenheit in my area, but it rained the entire time, starting when I arrived for a bit of owling before dawn. After late morning, the rain started to increase in intensity, and never let up from then until sundown. Even so, Bob Kuntz and I found a couple of good birds in Area 23. Flying over Tennant Lake was a single BARN SWALLOW. Foraging in alders between the Tennant Lake Interpretive Center and Hovander Mansion was a flock of 32 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS.
Yours truly,

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