- Category: Bird Counts
By Suzy Whittey ~ Organizer ~ Long Beach, WA
I want to thank the 23 property owners who live around Willapa Bay and other key locations that granted the 42 birders in 8 sectors access to count birds on December 20, 2014 for the 115th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. The information gathered in the Christmas Bird Counts that happened all across North America is invaluable to ornithologists who monitor bird populations.
The hardy birders, some who traveled over 100 miles to have the opportunity to count birds in Pacific County braved a wet and windy day with posted high surf advisories that did not allow the Pacific beach to be counted this year. But the stormy weather brought species like Red Phalaropes, Western Sandpipers and Snowy Plovers inland to be seen in puddles along G Street in Surfside and the Beach Barron Field on Sandridge Road. The Bay Center Group saw 7 Snow Geese and 16,000 Dunlin in Willapa Bay. But, their highlight was a rare sighting of a Townsend Solitaire. Other groups documented a Barred Owl, Wilson Snipe, Canvasback Ducks, Eurasian Widgeon, White-winged Scoter, Trumpeter Swans and Spotted Sandpipers just to mention a few.
Even though the number of birds and the number of species were down this year, most of it can be attributed to the stormy weather. Thank you birders for your time and expertise in making the Leadbetter Christmas Bird Count a huge success. I also want to thank the Berry Patch Restaurant in Ocean Park and the Hunters Inn in Naselle for serving us breakfast and dinner.