Date: 12/31/17 1:42 pm
From: Chris Howard <chris93514...>
Subject: ESbirds: Bishop Christmas Bird Count 2017 Results
The Bishop Christmas Bird Count is a one-day effort sponsored by the
Eastern Sierra Audubon Society to tally all the birds in the Bishop area.
The 36th annual Bishop CBC was held December 16, 2017. Sixty-two birders
counted every bird in the fixed 15-mile diameter CBC circle centered on the
intersection of Ed Powers Road and Red Hill Road. The circle extends to
Round Valley School, includes Pleasant Valley Reservoir, the Owens River
along Chalk Bluff to Laws and south to East Line Street, south to New
Wilkerson, all of downtown Bishop and West Bishop, up Bishop Creek to Big
Trees Campground, and the Buttermilks.

The weather this year was less than ideal with strong 25 mph north winds
all day long, with frequent gusts to between 30 mph and 40 mph. The
temperature at dawn was 47F, gradually dropping through the day to 37F at
sunset. Skies were overcast in the morning, clearing in the afternoon.
Birders in ten teams tallied a respectable 103 species with a total of
11,720 individual birds. Overall, bird numbers and diversity were below
average, due in part to the difficulty finding birds in such windy
conditions. Open water and creeks were not frozen, so waterfowl numbers
were found in reasonable numbers.

There was a good selection of rare birds, notably two species never
recorded on the Bishop CBC: 1) a BOHEMIAN WAXWING feeding on Bradford Pear
in the Dixon subdivision, and 2) a SUMMER TANAGER at the Bishop Country
Club. BOHEMIAN WAXWING, the northern cousin of Cedar Waxwing, rarely stray
south into California. Indeed, this bird is the only individual recorded so
far in California this winter. The SUMMER TANAGER was a mustard-yellow
female with some subtle reddish tones, plumage characteristics consistent
with the race from the eastern United States. The Bishop Country Club
hosted a flock of four geese of three species, one GREATER WHITE-FRONTED
tally hit a new high count of 884 birds. NORTHERN PINTAIL also reached a
high count of 20 birds. A COMMON LOON at Pleasant Valley Reservoir was
unexpected as this species has only been recorded on 5 previous counts.
NORTHERN HARRIER reached a new high count with 29 individuals. A BURROWING
OWL in an abandoned ditch north of Bishop made an appearance for the third
consecutive year. ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRDS continue their prevalence, this year
setting a new high count of 18 birds. A male COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD was at a
feeder in New Wilkerson where it has been seen in previous years. Forty-one
AMERICAN KESTRELS were tallied, a new high count. A PEREGRINE FALCON made
an appearance over Meadowcreek subdivision the day before the count but was
not located on count day. BLACK PHOEBE hit a new high count with 53 birds
observed. For only the second Bishop CBC, an EASTERN PHOEBE was found. This
bird has been present in a McLaren backyard since mid-October and may
attempt to over-winter. Bluebird trends are noteworthy: WESTERN BLUEBIRDS
are on the rise with a new high count of 86 birds, while MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS
continue to decline with only 15 birds. HERMIT THRUSH reached a new high
with 7 birds observed.

Many thanks to all the talented and generous volunteers who make the Bishop
CBC possible! A special thank goes to Steve and staff at the Bishop Country
Club, Destin at the City of Bishop, and Kay Wilson for hosting the
post-count tally potluck. Mark your 2018 calendar for the next Bishop CBC
on Saturday, December 15, 2018.

Chris Howard,
Bishop CBC Compiler


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