- Category: Bird Counts
December 30, 2014, was the Wahkiakum Christmas Bird Count. The count circle straddles the lower Columbia River, including Puget Island, Cathlamet, Skamokawa, and the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge in Washington and Westport, Nicolai Mountain, Brownsmead, Knappa and the Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
The day dawned clear and 28 degrees F, with a light east wind. Twenty-five volunteers found 120 species plus two additional count week species, equaling our highest previous total. The most abundant species in the circle, for the third straight year, was Cackling Goose, with over 16,000 found. This was a new high count for this species.
We had high counts for ten other species, most notably Double-crested Cormorant, European Starling, and Horned Lark. Whites Island is our local breeding area for the endangered (and recently federally listed) “Streaked” Horned Lark, and the count of 45 more than doubled our previous high count. New to the count this year was a Barrow’s Goldeneye found by Mike Passmore on the Wahkiakum ferry trip to Westport. A Redhead was in Net Rack Slough. The Northern Mockingbird that was at 80 North Welcome Slough on Puget Island on last year’s count spent the entire year there and was seen on this one as well.
Other species that have been expanding their range northward, Black Phoebe and Red-shouldered Hawk, continue to remain established here. Seven Trumpeter Swans flew over the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge. We missed Virginia Rail for the first time in the Wahkiakum CBC’s seventeen years. The Snowy Egret reported on Sunday was not relocated. Thanks to all volunteers!