[Tweeters] Fwd: Skagit Bay CBC - 1/1/22

Scott Ramos lsr at ramoslink.info
Tue Jan 11 18:04:32 PST 2022

The 35th SBCBC was held on January 1, 2022. The morning started off quite
cold, in the low 20s. Fortunately, the wind held off to the afternoon when
it became unbearable to stay out of protection for very long. Despite the
multiple snow events that preceded the count, the roads weren't bad:
arterials were mostly clear and side roads were mostly compact snow. Of
course, all wheel drive helped--we had one driver that did not have a
winter-equipped vehicle and they were restricted to main roads for their

There was plenty of snow on the ground and fresh water was almost all
frozen over, a combination of conditions which had a significant effect on
birding efficiency. The total tally for this year was 117 species, 5 below
the 35-year median, with no count week birds. The 56532 tally of individual
birds was barely over half of the average, an indication of the challenging
conditions. 68 species have been seen every year.

Yet, there were still some interesting birds, including one species new for
the count: Horned Lark (North of North Fork sector). Spotted Sandpiper (5)
had the highest total over 35 years. Fox Sparrow (200) was the 2nd highest
total for the count and Red-breasted Sapsucker (34) was also the 2nd
highest, the highest occuring 30 years ago. Peregrine Falcon (14), 3rd
highest, continues an increasing trend over the last 4 years, Cooper's Hawk
(12) was also the 3rd highest, and California Scrub Jay (1) was found for
only the 3rd time. American Wigeon (10168) was the 3rd highest
total--almost all of them were on snow-covered fields where they managed to
push through the snow to feed.

Bald Eagles continue to show rising numbers as do Anna's Hummingbird,
Common Merganser, Eurasian Collared-Dove and Mourning Dove, White-crowned
Sparrow and Brown-headed Cowbird. Significant low counts were found for
Snow and Canada Goose--no open ground to browse--and for Northern Shoveler
and Green-winged Teal--mud flats and shallows were all frozen. Most other
waterfowl were well below their 35-year averages. Loon numbers were low;
that may have been in part due to difficult viewing at distance. Only 1
each of Hairy and Pileated Woodpecker were seen.

Perhaps our best sighting of the day was this Deer Mouse feeding on catkins
not far from a flock of Pine Siskin. https://youtu.be/tLqAkFO7BUA

Thanks to the 2 dozen participants and 3 feeder watchers who contributed to
this census, braving the true winter weather that seems to be with us this
year. And the ongoing challenge of COVID.

Scott Ramos
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