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Bird Counts

Leadbetter Christmas Bird Count Results

By Robert Sudar

Strong coastal storm systems in the preceding days gave way to better weather on Saturday, December 21st, as 29 intrepid counters took part in the Leadbetter Point Christmas Bird Count.  The count circle is centered in Willapa Bay and includes about half of the Long Beach Peninsula along with a considerable portion of land on the east side of the bay.  The counters were distributed over seven portions of the circle, recording species and numbers from before daylight (when a Great Horned Owl was heard!) until dusk.  Overall, 97 species were seen (or heard) on count day and two more during “count week”. 

As has been the case every year there were some interesting results, both encouraging and disappointing.  On a positive note, there were record numbers of Pacific Loon (8), Pied-bill Grebe (27), Spotted Towhee (86), Brown Creeper (8), Double-crested Cormorant (128), Red-winged Blackbird (500), Brewer’s Blackbird (192), Bald Eagle (58), Pine Siskin (953), Ring-billed Gull (1425!), Eurasian-collared Dove (125) and Belted Kingfisher (28).  That’s a lot of new record highs!

On the other hand, there were no Scaups of either species at all, along with no Mourning Doves and only a single Coot.  There were also no Great Egrets or Bitterns, species which are not always seen but still a disappointment when we can’t include them.  I remember seeing my first Great Egret on the 1981 count, the first time I participated, in the Bay Center area.  I find it interesting that I now see them so frequently in the Longview area, but they appear to remain only an occasional visitor to the coast.

2019 Cowlitz Columbia CBC Results

 By Bob Reistroffer

On Tuesday, January 1, 2019 the 37th Cowlitz-Columbia Christmas Bird Count (3CBC), the first of the New Year, was conducted. We had 19 field observers and 3 feeder watchers out for the day peering through the fog and finding 89 species of birds. The species count this year was the lowest since 2010. Since 2010 we have had 4 years with over 100 species and the rest in the mid 90’s. Our highest species number was 108 in 2013 and 2016.

The count circle was begun in 1982 with 57 species and 4,545 individual birds found. This year we found 89 species and 14,721 individuals. We recorded some all time individual high counts; 597 Tundra Swans, 394 Ring-necked Ducks, 165 Buffleheads, 664 Rock Doves, 13 Red-breasted Sapsuckers, 200 Western Scrub Jays, 98 Golden-crowned Kinglets, 768 American Robins, and 13 Brown Creepers(tied a high).

Thank you to all our field observers and feeder watchers.

2019 Wahkiakum CBC Results

By Andrew Emlen

We found 109 species (about average for this circle) plus six additional count week species, despite fairly steady rain. The most abundant species in the circle was Greater Scaup with a count of 23,832, followed by Cackling Goose with 12,240. The most unusual species found were a Lesser Goldfinch (a Wahkiakum county and Wahkiakum CBC first) on Puget Island, a Harris's Sparrow on Aldrich Point Road in Brownsmead, and a Lesser Yellowlegs on Jackson-Pentilla Road in Brownsmead (a first for this CBC). New high counts were set for Trumpeter Swan, Cinnamon Teal, Ring-necked Duck (302, previous high 188), Black Phoebe (10, previous high 4), California Scrub-jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Brown Creeper, and American Robin (683, previous high 394).

We missed Townsend's Warbler for the first time. A count of 1 Western Grebe was disturbingly low (previous low 23, previous high 245).

The count was hampered somewhat by the government shutdown, as the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge boat could not be used to access the more inaccessible islands (Marsh and Karlson Islands) of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Nevertheless, most islands were accessed via kayaks.

Thanks again to everyone for volunteering!

2019 Leadbetter Christmas Bird Count Results

By Suzy Whittey

The Leadbetter Christmas Bird Count (and the WHAS) would like to thank the generosity of all of the private property owners and businesses who allowed the birders to access their property to count birds.

A special thanks to Anita’s Café in Ocean Park and the Hunter’s Inn in Naselle for feeding the birders breakfast and dinner respectively.

The Audubon “Leadbetter” Christmas Bird count falls within a fifteen mile circle on a map that includes the peninsula from 185th street north to the tip and around Willapa Bay as far north as Bay Center.  There were 28 hardy birders that volunteered their day to count as many birds as they could within this circle.

The total number of species that were counted on Dec. 15th was 92, down slightly from previous years. The birders had a good day of weather between our coastal storms, but the storms played a role in the low numbers.

2019 Cowlitz County Bird List - January Update

Palm Warbler seen at Woodland Bottoms - Image courtesy of Lyn Topinka
Palm Warbler seen at Woodland Bottoms - Image courtesy of Lyn Topinka

As usual we jump started our year with a nice list of species from the Cowlitz/Columbia Christmas Bird Count on New Year's Day.

Our most unusual finds occurred in the Woodland Bottoms, starting with our fifth record of Brant on 1/4/19. This goose spends the winter eating eel grass in Willapa Bay and other coastal areas and rarely ventures this far inland.

Even more exciting was Cowlitz's third record of Palm Warbler found on 1/28/19 and still present at the end of the month. It had been seen by a number of birders. A species that breeds in boggy areas of Canada and very northeast U.S. east of the Rockies spends its winters in the southeast U.S. and the West Indies. A much smaller number winter annually from western California up into coastal Washington with numbers decreasing as you go north.

This winter there has been a much greater influx of this species into Washington as well as some a little farther inland, and our bird is a part of that phenomenon. 

Download the pdf here.

 

Upcoming Events

Sep 10-11;
Puget Sound Bird Fest
Sep 23-25;
Wings over Willapa Festival
Oct 08;
Board Meeting
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