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Bird Counts

Leadbetter Christmas Bird Count Results

By John and Margaret Green 

The Leadbetter CBC took place on what we might consider a balmy day in the middle of December (average temperature at 46 F) and certainly not typical of most past counts. There were intermittent showers but not the blustery winds, torrential downpours and brutal cold that have often visited years past.  Robert and Sam Sudar, once again served us well as count compilers, and many of our past participants continued their tradition as section leaders and support teams.

Robert noted several comparisons to past counts: The 111 species found is the best in several years. The 2016 total was 98 and 2015 was 95. Notable sightings included a rare visit from the north, White-winged Crossbill and rare for the season, Band-tailed Pigeons. Other notable water birds included Black, Surf and White-winged Scooters, Common, Pacific and Red-Throated Loons. We are continuing to see increasing numbers of Western Grebes, 35 this year, after becoming a bit of a rarity 10-15 or so years ago. Horned, Red-necked and Pied-billed Grebes were also seen. 2 Pileated Woodpecker showed up; we know they are around but we don't always see them.

Notable absences were Scaup, American Coot, American Bittern and Mourning Dove. Notable "returnee" which hadn't been seen for several years was the Great Egret. The counts implied a notable trend away from Mourning Doves (1) to Eurasian Collared Doves (43) and Western Scrub Jays, rare several years back, continue to be present.

Of the top 10 species, eight were waterfowl (including American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Mallard) and shorebirds (highest numbers of Dunlin). American Crows and European Starlings were the most numerous in the song bird category.

The other count numbers that resonate with us as count coordinators are the human numbers; we had 35 enthusiastic participants and 3 feeder counters, great section leaders and great fun. The Christmas Bird Count continues to provide excitement and enjoyment