[Tweeters] Sequim-Dungeness CBC results

B Boekelheide bboek at olympus.net
Sat Jan 18 11:55:47 PST 2020

Hello, Tweeters,

The 44th Sequim-Dungeness CBC, held on Dec 16, 2019, tallied 140 species, three species below average for the last 25 years. The count of individual birds was 59,783, slightly below the 25-year average of 61,131. We had 110 field observers along with 21 feeder watchers. The morning started out with lovely overcast and calm winds for owling, then mostly cloudy with sunbreaks and light winds through the day.

The most abundant species, as usual, was American Wigeon, with 10,789 individuals. The other top-ten abundant species were Mallard (4,413 individuals), Dunlin (3,791), Pine Siskin (3,701), American Robin (2,944), large pink-legged gulls (Glaucous-winged and Olympic Gulls combined - 2,368), Dark-eyed Junco (2,291), Northern Pintail (2,215), Bufflehead (1,757), and Brant (1,545). These 10 species made up about 60% of birds on our count.

Species setting record high-counts included Northern Saw-whet Owl, Anna's Hummingbird, Red-breasted Sapsucker, California Scrub-Jay, and Spotted Towhee. Several species tallied above 25-year averages but did not set all-time high counts, including Red-breasted Merganser (highest since 1997), White-winged Scoter (highest since 2012), Common Goldeneye (highest since 2000), Wilson's Snipe (highest since 1997), and Canada Jay (highest since 2003). It was particularly good to see increased numbers of White-winged Scoters, but they are still much lower than their population in the 1980s and 1990s.
Some species scored far below average, including Mallard (lowest since 2012), Western Gull (lowest since 1988), Savannah Sparrow (lowest since 2012), and Brewer's Blackbird (lowest since 1991). A number of introduced "invasive" species also scored surprisingly low counts, including Rock Pigeon (lowest since 1992), Eurasian Collared-Dove (lowest since 2014), and Eurasian Starling (lowest since 1981).

There was one new species for the SDCBC: One lone Caspian Tern that lingered in Dungeness Bay since November. Other unusual species included Redhead, Yellow-billed Loon, Sora, California Scrub-Jay, Western Bluebird, and Swamp Sparrow, all of which have occurred multiple times on this CBC.

Missed species included Greater White-fronted Goose, Red Crossbill, White-throated Sparrow, and Orange-crowned Warbler. The SDCBC has only missed White-fronted Geese twice in the last 13 years. The last time we missed Orange-crowned Warbler was in 2009, the last time we missed Red Crossbill was 1998, and the last time we missed White-throated Sparrow was 1997.

Some species show remarkable consistency from year to year. The winner is Northern Harrier, which has been amazingly consistent on our CBC over several years (32 harriers in 2014, 33 in 2015, 35 in 2016, 32 in 2017, 32 in 2018, and 33 in 2019). Other diurnal raptors have also been consistent recently, like Sharp-shinned Hawk (15 in 2018, 16 in 2019), American Kestrel (15 in 2018, 14 in 2019), Merlin (12 in 2018, 12 in 2019), and Peregrine Falcon (11 in 2018, 11 in 2019). Does this consistency reflect our CBC counting methods, or are these populations fairly stable at or near carrying-capacity?

Many thanks to all our participants, particularly those who traveled long distances. And special thanks to landowners who allowed access and to the cooks who prepared delicious food for the compilation.

Bob Boekelheide
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