Words On Birds by Steve Grinley

Record High Numbers for Cape Ann Bird Count
January 06, 2018
By Steve Grinley

     Coordinator Jim Berry of Ipwich released the results of the Cape Ann Christmas Bird Count that was held on December 17, before the bitter cold and snow took over later in the month. A number of record-high counts, or near high counts resulted, as well as several notable low counts. Here is his report, which I edited for just the highlights:

     “Here is my long-delayed summary of the Cape Ann CBC, conducted Dec. 17 in cold conditions with most fresh water frozen. Temps ranged from 15 to 28 d.F with wind 5-10 mph from the NW most of the day. There was barely any snow. The day was sunny till late afternoon.

     “49 field observers in 22-23 parties, plus 8 feeders, counted 25,513 birds of 106 species, both numbers typical for this count. (Records are 49,771 [birds] in 1988 and 122 [species] in 2012, respectively.) The count began in 1928 so this would have been the 90th, but no counts were conducted in1940-43 (war) and 2009 (weather), so it was only the 85th.

snow goose 4
brant 49 2nd highest in count history (54, 2008) 
wood duck 1
king eider 1
common eider 1986
harlequin duck 153
common goldeneye 90 only the 2nd time under 100 since 1945
ring-necked pheasant (Count Week)
wild turkey 127 new count high
red-throated loon 8
common loon 71
horned grebe 20 (low)
red-necked grebe 6 (low)
great blue heron 7
bald eagle 7 new count high
northern harrier 6
Cooper’s hawk 18 new count high (by 1)
red-shouldered hawk 1
red-tailed hawk 45 new count high (by 1)
rough-legged hawk 2
black-bellied plover 3
sanderling 190 2nd highest (595, 1999)
purple sandpiper 41
dunlin 652 2nd highest (744, 2012)
razorbill 36
black guillemot 19
Bonaparte’s gull 22
herring gull 2025 2 years in a row under 3000–last time was 1948
lesser black-backed gull 1
glaucous gull (Count Week)
great black-backed gull 438 5 years in a row under 1000 and lowest since 1966 
rock pigeon 270 lowest since 1983
eastern screech owl 21
great horned owl 10
snowy owl 4
barred owl 3
long-eared owl 6 new count high (restricted private property)
northern saw-whet owl 2 
yellow-bellied sapsucker 2
American crow 1218 2nd highest (2538 in 2008) and only the 3rd time over 1000
common raven (Count Week)
winter wren 11 2nd highest (12, 1973)
Carolina wren 11 numbers remain very low 3 years after the disastrous winter of 2015 
ruby-crowned kinglet 1
eastern bluebird 15
hermit thrush 13
American robin 2,728 2nd highest (4759, 2008)
gray catbird 10 2nd highest (16, 2005)
northern mockingbird 30
pine warbler 3 tied for count high
yellow-rumped (myrtle) warbler 26
field sparrow 1
fox sparrow 1
dark-eyed junco 620 3rd highest (650, 1963 and 1964)
Savannah (Ipswich) sp. 6 2nd highest (16, 1961)
song sparrow 234 new count high
swamp sparrow 32 new count high, double the old one
red-winged blackbird 9
rusty blackbird 1
brown-headed cowbird 25
Baltimore oriole (Count Week)”

     The Newburyport Christmas Bird Count was postponed from December 23 due to the ice storm and held last Sunday, December 31 despite below zero wind chills. I will share those results with you next week.

Steve Grinley
Bird Watcher’s Supply & Gift
Route 1 Traffic Circle
194 Route 1
Newburyport, MA 01950
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