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Bird Counts

Wahkiakum CBC Results

By Andrew Emlen

On December 30, 2019, 25 volunteers participated in the 22nd annual Wahkiakum CBC. Calm weather and 47 degree F temperatures allowed us to find over 51,000 individuals of 119 species, our second highest species tally and just one shy of our all-time high of 120 species.

The most abundant species in the circle this winter was Cackling Goose, with a tally of 20,967, breaking the previous high count of 16,099. Second was Greater Scaup with a tally of 4878, along with 3072 Greater/Lesser Scaup. Third was European Starling at 3663. A Northern Waterthrush at the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge tide gate was not only new to the count but also a Wahkiakum County first. Many birders went to see it in the days following the count.

A Lesser Yellowlegs in Brownsmead and a trio of California Quail on Shingle Mill Road were also new to the count. Other unusual species included Barrow's Goldeneye, Clark's Grebe, and Common Yellowthroat. For the third winter running, three Turkey Vultures are wintering on Puget Island; this winter, all three were seen on count day.

The endangered "Streaked" Horned Larks appear to be thriving under the Army Corps of Engineers' management for them on Whites Island; 36 were seen in the circle on count day.

New high counts were set for Cackling Goose, Trumpeter Swan (20, previous high 9), American Kestrel (39, previous high 20), Chestnut-backed Chickadee (144, previous high 119), Red-winged Blackbird (873, previous high 801), and Brown-headed Cowbird (13, previous high 9).

Notable misses included Rock Pigeon and Great Horned Owl.

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