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Bird Counts

2009 Christmas Bird Count Results from Wahkiakum County

On December 29, 2009, 21 volunteers participated in the twelfth annual Wahkiakum Christmas Bird Count.

Though the temperature rose into the low 40's from the morning's freezing temperatures, a cold east wind blowing over 20 mph in many parts of the circle made it hard to find birds. Some afternoon rain and snow didn't help either.

The count of 104 species is three below our average. Two species were new to the Wahkiakum CBC. Eurasian Collared-Doves are now well- established on Puget Island, where 10 were found on count day. An Empidonax sp. flycatcher was found near the east end of East Birnie Slough Road, Puget Island. I attempted to relocate it, but did not succeed.

Other uncommon finds for our circle included an Eared Grebe,

a Red- shouldered Hawk and 31 Snow Geese in Brownsmead, a Clark's Grebe in Knappa, a Savannah Sparrow on the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge, a Great Egret on Tenasillahe Island, and a beautiful dark morph Rough-legged Hawk on Puget Island. Two Streaked Horned Larks were seen on Pillar Rock Island; White's Island, their other stronghold within the circle, was not covered.

 

The most abundant bird in the circle, for the twelfth straight year, is Greater Scaup with 10,434 recorded. That number is about 5000 below last year, which had similar coverage. Low numbers were recorded for many species. Only 23 Western Grebes were found, the lowest number in the history of the count. The average is 105. The average number of Marsh Wrens for the first ten years of the count was 24; last year we found four, and this year, one. We missed Tundra Swan for the first time; our average number is 88. Also missed for the first time were Mew Gull and Western Gull. Gulls of any kind were few and far between during this count. Other misses included Red- throated Loon, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Hutton's Vireo, and Red Crossbill.

An irruption of Pine Siskins gave us a count of 1547, more than double the previous high count. A count of 266 Gadwall more than doubled the previous high for that species as well. New highs were also recorded for Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, American Robin, European Starling and  Brewer's Blackbird.