Date: 9/18/17 1:28 pm
From: Will Cook <cwcook...>
Subject: Jordan Lake fall count mudflats birds; Chapel Hill spring count results
I had a great time yesterday covering the Northeast Creek mudflats off
NC 751 at Jordan Lake in Chatham County, NC. While these mudflats don't
get as much press as the nearby New Hope Creek mudflats, they are still
worth checking out. It's a bit of a hike getting to the back, walking
around the edge to where you can scope the birds well, but slightly
easier than getting to the other mudflats at Jordan. To get there, park
at 35.833210,-78.963835 then look for a little trail across the road to
the east. Follow this to the lake, then follow the shoreline as desired
to get a better look at the birds. Best scoping I had was from

Here's what I found there yesterday, highlighted by count rarities
Short-billed Dowitchers, Stilt Sandpipers, and a flyover Wood Stork:

The northern reaches of Jordan Lake were also covered on the Chapel Hill
Spring Bird Count back in May. I've just gotten the summary and detailed
results table posted (thanks for the reminder, Marilyn Westphal).

Detailed results and photos of rarities at

2017 Chapel Hill Spring Bird Count — Compiler's Comments

by Will Cook

We had an excellent Chapel Hill spring count on Saturday, May 13, 2017,
with the second highest species count in the last 30 years, though for
numbers of individual birds it was quite average. The calm, cool,
overcast conditions made for very pleasant counting and no doubt helped
the count by keeping the birds active throughout the day. The species
total of 130 is 9 above the 10-year average of 121, though the total
number of birds, 8381, is close to the average of 8433. Effort on the
count was average with 127.7 party-hours (average 128.2), as was the
number of birds per party hour (65.6, average 65.9).

We had an absolutely incredible three species new to the count this
year: Short-billed Dowitcher, Willow Flycatcher, and Dickcissel. I'm not
sure when the last time that happened, but it was probably decades ago.
The Chapel Hill count has been going on continuously since 1957, so it
isn't too easy to add a new species! The Short-billed Dowitcher was
spotted by Jan Hansen on the rocky bank near the dam at University Lake.
Jan also scored a Dickcissel at Maple View Farm and got a nice
photograph. Mark Kosiewski found the Willow Flycatcher on the Briar
Chapel trail. It cooperated nicely for photos, but couldn't be
identified for sure without hearing its call. Fortunately it responded
to a tape of Willow by sounding off the "ritz-bew" call. Other goodies
included Common Gallinule (Jill Froning, 4th count record), Semipalmated
Plover (Hansen), Black-billed Cuckoo (Mark Goodwin, first since 1975),
Hermit Thrush (Karyn Hede), Blackburnian Warbler (Brian Bockhahn), Palm
Warbler (Kosiewski), both Canada and Wilson's Warblers at Mason Farm
(Will Cook), and a count week King Rail (Ginger Travis, who couldn't get
to Cub Creek on count day).

We set a good number of record highs this year: Spotted Sandpiper (97,
average 16), N. Rough-winged Swallow (254, average 68), Cliff Swallow
(62, average 7), Magnolia Warbler (14, average 2). This is the second
record-setting year in a row for Rough-winged and Magnolia. Also in
unusually high numbers: Solitary Sandpiper (20, average 10), E.
Wood-Pewee (67, average 32), Acadian Flycatcher (81, average 59), Barn
Swallow (179, average 74), Veery (11 is highest since 1978, average 3),
Louisiana Waterthrush (31 is highest since 1976, average 14), Yellow
Warbler (15, average 8), Chestnut-sided Warbler (6, average 1), and
Black-throated Green Warbler (3, average 1)

The one big miss was Blue-headed Vireo, the first miss of this local
breeding bird since 1985. Remarkably scarce this year: Eastern Kingbird
(15 is lowest since 1974, average 26), Purple Martin (19, average 53),
Wood Thrush (38, average 60), White-throated Sparrow (1 ties record low,
average 17), and House Sparrow (13 ties record low set last year,
average 47).

Team honors: Jan Hansen, covering both the University Lake and Dairyland
Road areas, recorded a outstanding 97 species and 819 indivudual birds,
the highest for both. Tom Driscoll got the highest individual count with

Weather in brief: low 53F, high 65F; wind variable 0-5 mph; mostly
cloudy, no rain.

Thanks to the 48 field counters and 3 feeder watchers for your help!

Will Cook - Durham, NC
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