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Bird Counts

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.

 

2018 Cowlitz County Bird List - Final

Dunlin - Image by Charles J Sharp
Dunlin - Image by Charles J Sharp

The Cowlitz County Bird List is maintained by Russ Koppendrayer. Here is his take on 2018:

I believe this was the first time in the history of this project that we added NO new species in the final two month period. Never the less we had a very nice year breaking through the 200 barrier again with 201 species.

Three of those species were seen in the county for the first time ever. They were as follows: A Broad-winged Hawk was seen by an experienced hawk watcher who happened to be counting migrating Turkey Vultures in September at the Woodland Bottoms. A flock of Common Redpolls at a west Longview park in January that were part of a massive irruption of this species in all of Washington during the  winter of '17-'18. Also a Dickcissel made a stop at a bird bath north of Kelso in early June and was photographed by the owner.

The only species that was a big miss was Dunlin, a shorebird that can over winter here in small numbers, and if we miss them then we find them in spring migration. Not this year for whatever reason. On to a new year of exciting birding in Cowlitz County to see what it has to offer.

Download the pdf here.

 

2018 Cowlitz County Bird List - August Update

Pine Grosbeak - Image by Ron Knight
Pine Grosbeak - Image by Ron Knight

As usual we did not find many new species for the year in the July/August segment. The most unusual one was the third record for the county of Pine Grosbeak, found near Goat Marsh Lake on the southwest shoulders of Mt. St. Helens. Typically found farther north and closer to the Cascade crest, this was the second time this species showed up in this area in the fall, with the third sighting being being in winter west of Coldwater Lake in the middle of winter.

The other new species added was Semipalmated Sandpiper. This species has an interesting migration pattern in that it is extremely rare in Washington in the spring by going north through the eastern half of the continent. However, in fall we get small numbers coming through our state and find them in Cowlitz County in most years.

Also added were a couple species that were reported on eBird earlier in the year that had somehow been missed.

Download the pdf here.

2018 Cowlitz County Bird List - October Update

Surf Coters - Image by John Green
Surf Scoters - Image by John Green

We added three species to our Cowlitz year list  in the last two months, (Surf Scoter, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Pacific Loon) all of them being code 4. These codes are a way of determining the likelihood of finding a particular species and relate to the color of the square in the column immediately after the species name in the attached list.

  • Code 1 - Blue - You should find this species in appropriate habitat at the correct time of year.
  • Code 2 - Green - More difficult to find, but should be found in appropriate habitat in correct season with some effort.
  • Code 3 - Yellow - Recorded in the county annually, but you may or may not find one personally even with great effort. 
  • Code 4 - Orange - Five or more records of the species in the county, but does not occur every year.
  • Code 5 - Red - At least one, but less than five records within the county.
  • White - This species occurs on the Washington list, but has never been recorded in Cowlitz County.

Lets hope this makes the list more meaningful to some and one purpose of this project is to update these codes occasionally, usually in early January. 

To obtain a checklist of the birds found in any county in Washington with the code numbers go to wabirder.com and click on checklists on the left side of the page. There you scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the desired county on the map and get a list that you can print out.

Download the pdf here.

 

Upcoming Events

Sep 12-13, 2020
Puget Sound Bird Fest now online
Sep 24-27, 2020
Wings Over Willapa
Oct 24, 2020
WHAS Board Meeting
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