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San Juan Islands Audubon Christmas 2011 Bird Count tallies 25,742 birds

The San Juan Islands Audubon Christmas Bird Count tallied a total of 25,742 birds of 123 species. - Contributed photo
The San Juan Islands Audubon Christmas Bird Count tallied a total of 25,742 birds of 123 species.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The San Juan Islands Audubon Christmas 2011 Bird Count tallied a total of 25,742 birds of 123 species with the help of 74 observers in the field.

The number of species counted has been steadily increasing the last ten year and peaked this year. The weather on count day, Dec. 17, was clear, calm and in the mid-40’s, which is great winter weather to observe birds, but many said they could only find marine birds.

Fall weather did not see much freezing and was fairly dry with little standing or moving fresh water in many of the usual places, according to Barbara Jensen of the San Juan Islands Audubon. There were no new species this year but three black-capped chickadees, seen for the first time last year, were seen on Orcas again.

Highlights of the day included three boats with observers and good coverage in the southern end of San Juan Channel. Two blue-winged teal and eared grebes were seen on San Juan, one surfbird on Yellow Island, two townsend’s and yellow-rumped warblers and a lonely Savannah sparrow on San Juan.

This was the first year we worked with the National Parks Conservation Association to do the Battlefield Birding Christmas Bird Count in Civil War era national parks and those numbers are part of our count, said Jensen. Notable misses included cackling geese, redhead, ring-necked pheasant, wild turkey, turkey vulture, golden eagle, western sandpiper, western screech owl, great horned owl, saw-whet Owl and townsend’s solitaire.

Record high counts this year were 1,599 canada geese, whose numbers have been steadily increasing each year, 1,309 northern pintails, 198 white-winged scoters, 103 long-tailed ducks, 57 eurasian-collared dove, 27 Anna’s hummingbirds, 3 black-capped chickadees, 183 pacific wrens, and 167 house sparrows.

Low counts were 58 gadwalls, 16 northern shovelers, 80 common loons, a black-bellied plover, 6 killdeers and 22 red crossbills.

For more info and to find this count’s records go to audubon2.org/cbchist/count_table.html"http://audubon2.org/cbchist/count_table.html. The area circle is called WASJ. Choose the span of years to review and a chart is made for species.

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