Words On Birds by Steve Grinley

Newburyport Christmas Bird Count Has Few Surprises
January 09, 2016
By Steve Grinley

     The Newburyport Christmas Bird Count was held on Sunday, December 27. My field team covered parts of Plum Island where our highlights included 2 black-bellied plovers on the beach and a dead thick-billed murre that I found on the beach near Camp SeaHaven. One of my customers had a Baltimore oriole coming to a feeder on Plum Island during count week, and another customer in Newbury who called in her feeder birds on Count Day had one of only four Carolina wrens in her sector of the count. Carolina wrens were among the casualties of last year’s harsh winter, but we expect these resilient birds to make a comeback in the years ahead.

     Tom Young of Merrimac, New Hampshire is the Compiler, and he posted the following report, the list for which I have edited for highlights only:

     “The 78th Newburyport, MA Christmas Bird Count was conducted this past Sunday, December 27. The weather conditions were fairly inhospitable, with rain for much of the day, although temperatures were warmer than normal (mid-40s). A total of 107 species were found, which is about average for recent history (i.e. the last 30 years or so); an additional 14 species were recorded during count week–an exceptionally high number (a lot of “count week” species means that poor weather on count day kept a bird/birds that was/were present during the week from showing up to be counted). 

     “Wild Turkey was the only species to hit a record high number, with a rather extraordinary 183. Other noteworthy records are in boldface below with parenthetical notes about the significance of each: 

Greater White-fronted goose 2 (4th record, ties all-time high #)
Snow goose 3
Eurasian wigeon cw (5 records in count history)
Wild turkey 183 (all-time high #)
Great blue heron 7
Bald eagle 4 (all adults)
Rough-legged hawk 2
Black-bellied plover 2
Long-billed dowitcher 3 (5th record)
Razorbill 49
Black guillemot 1 (8th record)
Eastern screech-owl 1
Great horned owl 1
Snowy owl 1
Barred owl count week
Short-eared owl count week
Northern Saw-whet owl count week
Red-headed woodpecker 1 (2nd record; the other was in 1994)
Red-bellied woodpecker 73
Yellow-bellied sapsucker 1 (8th record)
Pileated woodpecker 3
Eastern phoebe 1 (5th record)
Carolina wren 22 (lowest # since ’09; down from a record # of 87 last year)
Eastern bluebird 70
Gray catbird 1
Brown thrasher count week (9 records in count history)
Orange-crowned warbler count week (1 record in count history)
Common yellowthroat 2 (10th record)
Fox sparrow count week
Red-winged Blackbird 16
Common Grackle 4
Baltimore oriole count week
Purple finch 3
Common redpoll count week
Pine siskin 1 

Total Species on Count:107, Total individuals: 22310, Count week species:14.

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