Words On Birds by Steve Grinley
Area Christmas Bird Counts Are Happening
December 26, 2020
By Steve Grinley
Christmas Bird Counts are in full swing, and three area counts occurred this past weekend. We have the reports for the Coastal New Hampshire Count, the Greater Boston Count, and the Cape Ann Count.
Len Medlock compiler for the Coastal New Hampshire CBC reported that the early morning 4F thermometer reading gave way to 28F on Saturday, 19 December. The Count covered portions of the following towns: Exeter, Portsmouth, Newfields, Rye, Stratham, Hampton, Seabrook, Kensington, Greenland, and Hampton Falls.
Highlights included 27,590 total numbers of birds, comprising 1047 species.
It was a banner year for winter finches which included 59 Red Crossbills, 57 White-winged Crossbills, 111 Common Redpoll, 57 Pine Siskin, 32 Pine Grosbeak, and just 1 Evening Grosbeak.
Len reported: “This year’s impressive Red-breasted Nuthatch turnout yielded a respectable 481. Take a stroll in the wood and you’re bound to be treated with little tin horns.
Lingering warblers were Pine and Black-throated Blue, and a count week Snow Goose.”
Bob Stymeist reported on the 48th Greater Boston Christmas Bird Count, which was held Sunday December 20. The total number of species recorded was 117 plus 1 count week species. Outstanding was the discovery of an Eared Grebe by Ted Bradford on Jamaica Pond on December 6; this is a first for Boston.
“The Eared Grebe brings the all time total for the Greater Boston CBC, including Count Week, to an amazing 234! Unfortunately the Pacific-slope Flycatcher found November 24 at Fresh Pond by Ben Shamgochian remained up until December 16, one day shy of count period. The snow storm was devastating.”
“Noteworthy birds included Snow Goose, 2 Redhead, Virginia Rail, American Woodcock, Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 Snowy Owls, 4 Pileated Woodpeckers, a Marsh Wren and new high counts for 13 species.”
Robert Buchsbaum reported on the Cape Ann CBC, also held on last Sunday:
“Here are results from the Cape Ann Christmas Count held on Sunday, December 20, 2020. The count was unusual for a few reasons. First, everyone wore masks and adhered to social distancing protocols. Second we did our compilation a day later via Zoom (thanks to Peter Van Demark) rather than the traditional post birding pizza party. Finally, it had been a long time since we had a Christmas Count with so much snow on the ground (9-12 inches). That made parking and traversing trails more challenging than normal. Nevertheless, we persisted and came out with 114 species, slightly higher than the past few years.”
Particularly interesting sightings included 1 Red-shouldered Hawk, 79 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Common Murre, 40 Razorbill, 8 Black Guillemot, 1Black-headed Gull, 2 Kumlien’s Iceland Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 14 Eastern Screech-Owl, 15 Great Horned Owl, 1 Snowy Owl, 6 Barred Owl, 5 Northern Saw-whet Owl, 12 Pileated Woodpecker, 293 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 232 White-breasted Nuthatch, 1 Winter Wren (in our Essex yard), 2 Bohemian Waxwing, 1 Spotted Towhee, 1 Chipping Sparrow (in our Essex yard), 21 “Ipswich” Savannah Sparrow, 1 Fox Sparrow 1, 14 Purple Finch, 9 Red Crossbill, 4 White-winged Crossbill, 153 Common Redpoll, 10 Pine Siskin 10 and 1 Evening Grosbeak.
The Newburyport Christmas Bird Count is this Sunday, Dec 27. Birders will be out wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and not sharing scopes. Many reports, this year will come from feeder watchers from the safety of their own homes. I hope to have the results in the weeks ahead.
Happy and safe holidays to you all!