[Tweeters] Results of Eastside Audubon's 12/15/18 Christmas Bird Count

Sharon Cormier-Aagaard scormieraa001 at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 17 13:06:42 PST 2019

First of all, what's a CBC Circle?

All Christmas Bird Count (CBC) circles throughout North America and the world are 15 miles in diameter, and have a center point. Ours is in Beaver Lake in the city of Sammamish and our circle has 15 sections found in Marymoor Park/Ames Lake, West Snoqualmie Valley, East Snoqualmie Valley, Lake Sammamish State Park & Issaquah, West Lake Sammamish Parks, East Lake Sammamish Trail, Sammamish Plateau, and Fall City/Preston. All CBCs are held annually during a 3-week period and choose a date from December 14th through January 5th. On behalf of Eastside Audubon Society's (EAS) annual CBC, 64 volunteers were tallying outside in our CBC circle and 1 was at home watching backyard feeders on December 15, 2018. Several volunteers started before dawn to look for owls; some hiked forest & city park trails; and many drove from spot to spot counting birds in parks and neighborhoods. The results will be tallied and submitted to National Audubon for ongoing research on bird population trends and effects of climate change.

Interesting factoids

During last year's count, the 118th year, ours was one of the 2,585 CBCs held during the annual 3-week period:

463 counts were held in Canada, 1,957 in the United States (49 of these in our state of Washington!), and 165 in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands

There was a grand total of 76,987 CBC participants (14,264 in Canada, 58,719 in the US, and 4,004 in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Pacific Islands)

A total of 59,242,067 individual birds of 2,673 species and 426 additional forms and hybrids were tallied. In total 287 species were tallied in Canada, and 666 countable species (plus 44 identifiable forms and 44 exotic species) were tallied in the US

One-quarter of the species of birds in the world were tallied

Our 35th CBC

This was National Audubon's 119th CBC and EAS's 35th. Our first was in 1981 (there were no counts in 1982, 1983 and 1989). As we know, our winter weather can often be wet, windy and cold, but oh, what a grand day we had! The day's temperatures ranged from 42-51F, winds were mild at 0-4 mph, skies were cloudy to partly cloudy, our ponds weren’t frozen, and rivers were flowing. It was a great day to be outside counting birds!

How many birds were counted?

Overall, 101 species were tallied on “count day”, plus an additional 7 “count week” birds (species reported 3 days before or 3 days after, but not seen on Dec 15), for a grand total of 108 species for this year’s CBC. Our highest count ever was 110 total birds in 2014 (97 count day + 13 count week). The number of individual birds seen this year was 28,388, about 11,253 birds higher than the 20-year average of 17,135. The highest individual number of birds we have ever counted was 28,674 birds in 1999.

7 Count Week birds

Common Yellowthroat at Sikes Lake on 12/12, Peregrine Falcon at Fall City/Preston area on 12/12, Greater White-fronted Goose at Marymoor on 12/13, Brown-headed Cowbird at Gander Pond in Sammamish on 12/14, Cliff Swallow at Sikes Lake on 12/14, Band-tailed Pigeon at Sammamish on 12/16, American Pipit at Remlinger Farms on 12/17.

Owls are always exciting…. we tallied 3 different types

3 Barn Owls (West Snoqualmie, Lake Sammamish State Park & Marymoor), 1 Northern Saw-whet Owl (Tiger Mountain), and 1 Short-eared Owl (Issaquah).

First ever species in our CBC

1 Swamp Sparrow at West Snoqualmie on 12/15 Count Day; plus an unexpected winter sighting of a Cliff Swallow at Sikes Lake on 12/14 (Count Week).

Notable Sighting

A flock of over 2,500 Snow Geese were in the air and feeding on the ground at Remlinger Farm in Snoqualmie Valley on Count Day. Flocks of this size and in the tens of thousands are a common winter sight up north in the Skagit Valley, whereas, for our area, a typical sighting is 1 or a few Snow Geese, not in the thousands.This is notable!

Birds missed this CBC

Canvasback & Redhead ducks—were both at Lake Sammamish State Park for a couple months and last reported there Dec 3; California Quail—seen and heard at Sammamish a couple weeks before and a couple days after our Count Week ended; Savannah Sparrow; Rough-legged Hawk—1 near Duvall but not in our count circle; Herring Gull–1 seen at Lake Sammamish State Park a couple weeks before Dec 15; Great-horned and Barred Owls-- reported days before & after our count week; Hutton’s Vireo; Canada Jay (formerly Gray Jay) – we enjoyed tallying them for 9 years in a row (2007-2015), but they've not been heard or seen at the top of Tiger Mountain since our 2015 CBC (they’ve been reported farther east at Rattlesnake Ridge, which is not in our count circle).

Appreciation for all that you do

Thank you…… to the 15 teams of 64 birders who came outside to volunteer from dawn to dusk, and to the 1 person who counted yard birds; to the volunteers who organized, shopped, cooked and helped with the CBC dinner; to the Corvid Crier webmaster, editor and article writers; to Sheila for spreadsheets and team packets; to Jan for overall support; to all the EAS office staff; and to everyone involved in this important, annual event. You are valued and appreciated!

Our 2019 CBC

Save and add this date to your calendar for next year's CBC: Saturday, December 14, 2019

Sharon Cormier-Aagaard
Eastside Audubon Society CBC Compiler
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