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Bird Counts

Wahkiakum CBC Results

Sanderlings (Image: USFWS)

On Thursday December 30, 19 volunteers participated in the thirteenth Wahkiakum Christmas Bird Count. The Wahkiakum Count straddles the Lower Columbia River, including the Julia B. Hansen and Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuges and the towns of Brownsmead, Knappa & Westport in Oregon and Cathlamet, Puget Island and Skamokawa on the Washington side. Weather was clear with a mild east wind, with a low near 28 degrees F and a high near 40.

The final species count is 114 plus two additional count week species, which is six species above average and one short of the record for this count circle.

Two species were new to the Wahkiakum CBC: a Redhead was at Little Island and a flock of nderlings, long overdue for this count circle, were on Grassy Island. A Black Phoebe was on Little Island, and a Northern Mockingbird was seen on Puget Island. Other species uncommon in this count circle included White-winged Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, and Savannah Sparrow.

A Wahkiakum CBC record of 19 Streaked Horned Larks were just inside the count circle on White’s Island. A count of 116 Surf Scoters shattered the previous record for that species; likewise the count of 80 Greater White-fronted Geese. Great Egret, once rare here, has now been seen for the seventh straight year. We have recorded the colonization of Eurasian Collared-Doves in this area, from 0 found in 2008 to 10 in 2009 to 55 for this count. Misses included Cooper’s Hawk (second miss in the history of this count) and American Dipper (first miss). The most abundant bird, for the thirteenth straight year, is Greater Scaup, with a relatively high count of 22,294. We are definitely one of the country's most important wintering areas for this species; some years we record more than any other U.S. count circle.

The attached pdf file breaks down the count circle by area, with totals on the far right. The areas are numbered as follows:

  • 1. Skamokawa valleys
  • 2. Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge
  • 3A Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge, mainland
  • 3B Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge, Tenasillahe Island
  • 4 Blind Slough Swamp Preserve (not separately counted this year; parts included in areas 2 & 5)
  • 5 Knappa
  • 6 Brownsmead
  • 7 Clifton/Westport/Nicolai Mt.
  • 8A Cathlamet/Elochoman
  • 8B Puget Island
  • 8C Little Island
  • 8D White's, Ryan & Lark Islands

Many thanks to all of you who helped count this year, and thanks to Willapa Hills Audubon and Columbia River Kayaking for sponsoring the count!