[Tweeters] Sequim-Dungeness Christmas Bird Count results

B Boekelheide bboek at olympus.net
Sat Dec 26 13:58:37 PST 2020

Hello, Tweeters,

Like all CBCs, the Sequim-Dungeness CBC had to cope with COVID restrictions this year, but it actually turned out okay for birding. Even though we had to cancel our offshore boat, we ended up splitting several onshore parties to decrease group sizes, allowing some groups more time to concentrate in smaller areas.

On Dec 14th our 93 field observers and 17 feeder watchers counted 79,636 individuals of 149 species, the fourth highest species count for the SDCBC. The weather was spectacular, with light winds and partly cloudy skies for most daylight hours.

The most abundant species, as usual, was American Wigeon, with 16,587. Other species in the top ten, in decreasing order of abundance, were Pine Siskin (8966), Mallard (7140), American Robin (5198), Northern Pintail (4037), Glaucous-winged/Olympic Gull (3322), Brant (2513), Bufflehead (2146), Red-winged Blackbird (1911), and Dunlin (1773). These 10 species made up about 2/3rds of all the birds seen on our count.

Several species set records or near records for the 45 years of our count: Trumpeter Swan, Eurasian Wigeon, American Wigeon, Greater Scaup, Long-billed Dowitcher, Short-eared Owl, Anna’s Hummingbird, Merlin, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, Pine Siskin, and Evening Grosbeak. Pine Siskins were the big winners, far exceeding their old record. Increased numbers of Merlins may be taking advantage of the siskin numbers, often seen hanging out near the swirling siskin flocks. Our Dungeness Spit party tallied an amazing 9 Short-eared Owls.

We had very few misses or low counts. Eurasian Collared-Doves scored their lowest count in 10 years, making us wonder whether predators are finally having an impact on collared-dove numbers. A few other species scored well below average, particularly Hooded Mergansers and Golden-crowned Kinglets. No screech-owls, unfortunately.

Stake-out Sandhill Crane and Pacific Golden-Plover cooperated well for the count. This is at least the fourth straight winter for a golden-plover to stay in our area, possibly the same bird. Other unexpected species included Blue-winged Teal, Turkey Vulture (maybe two?), Northern Goshawk, Gyrfalcon, five Snow Buntings, and the strangest of all, a well-described MacGillivray’s Warbler. Some unusual species are now fairly regular on our count, such as Willet, Yellow-billed Loon, and White-throated Sparrow. Count-week birds included American Bittern, Rough-legged Hawk, and Western Bluebird.

Many thanks to all our counters and watchers, and Happy Holidays to everyone!
Bob Boekelheide

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