Words On Birds by Steve Grinley

Low Numbers of Birds on Cape Ann Count
December 26, 2015
By Steve Grinley

     As I mentioned last week, the annual Christmas Bird Counts are in full swing. Last Sunday was the Cape Ann Count. Jim Berry is the Count Coordinator and he posted the following report, which I included just some hightlights:

     “The 86th Cape Ann count was held Sunday [December 20]. After early-morning clouds and a northeast wind, the weather changed by 8 or 9 to fairly mild, sunny conditions with temps in the high 30s and the wind mostly northwesterly. Despite these favorable conditions, all sectors reported fewer birds than “normal” for this time of year, with many species in notably low numbers and only 2 new count highs, of which one was house sparrow!

[highlights only listed here]

mute swan 8
am. black duck 427 low for recent years
harlequin duck 110
common goldeneye 39 new low count; first time ever under 100
red-br. merganser 253 lowest since 1992
wild turkey 78
pied-billed grebe 2
horned grebe 18 lowest since 2000
red-necked grebe 6 low
great cormorant 10 new count low
great blue heron 11
turkey vulture 1
purple sandpiper 10 lowest since 1998
amer. woodcock 1 7th count record
dovekie 1
razorbill 7 lowest since 2001
black guillemot 10 lowest since 1994
lesser black-backed gull 1
great black-backed gull 898 3rd consecutive year under 1000, continuing a downward trend
eastern screech owl 15
great horned owl 8
snowy owl 3 all at Crane Beach
barred owl 3
long-eared owl 1 the 5th time Dave Peterson has found one or more on Choate Is, Essex
belted kingfisher 4
red-bellied woodpecker 45 note how many CBCs this is now the 2nd-most common woodpecker
yellow-bellied sapsucker 2
downy woodpecker 154
hairy woodpecker 9
noorthern flicker 19
pileated woodpecker 2
ash-throated flycatcher 1 5th count record, all since 2002 (1 was Count Week)
common raven 1 7th record, all since 1999 (1 was Count Week)
black-capped chickadee 934
tufted titmouse 340
red-breasted nuthatch 4
white-breasted nuthatch 258 new count high (old record 241 last year)
winter wren 3
carolina wren 8 not surprisingly, the lowest since 1997
eastern bluebird 16
american robin 429 lowest since 2003
gray catbird 3
snow bunting 52 all at Crane Beach
orange-crowned warbler 2 ties count high, for what it’s worth
yellow-rumped warbler 59
Am. tree sparrow 46 low
fox sparrow 1
lincoln’s sparrow 1 FIRST COUNT RECORD (documented)
northern cardinal 216
dickcissel 1 regular in the 1960s, sporadic since
red-winged blackbird 11
house finch 362 highest since 1999
purple finch 19
pine siskin 2
american goldfinch 320
house sparrow 3337 new count high (old record 3000 in 1960)

     103 total species. Some notable misses: king eider, barrow’s goldeneye, sanderling, dunlin (first miss since 1993), glaucous gull, amer. kestrel, savannah sparrow (first miss since 1997).”

     The numbers of feeder birds are high as more feeder watchers reported their birds. I think other birds were low because the weather has been so mild and most water was open, so birds were more scattered and hard to find. The Newburyport Count is tomorrow (Sunday, December 27), so if you are in the Newburyport area and want to report your feeder birds, please call the store on Sunday before 4pm and we will be sure your bird counts are included. We already have a report of a Baltimore oriole coming to a feeder on Plum Island!

Steve Grinley
Bird Watcher’s Supply & Gift
Route 1 Traffic Circle
194 Route 1
Newburyport, MA 01950
Celebrating 2
4 years of service to the birding community! 
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