Date: 1/1/18 6:37 am From: Fred Atwood via va-bird <va-bird...> Subject: [Va-bird] Walkerton CBC results Dec 31, 2017
Dear VA-Birders Though yesterday was a very cold day with brutal windchill of 8 F, and even though hunting prevented access to 6 of our best locations this year, the 8 teams of 22 birders were able to find 99 species, including two very exciting finds: a Say's Phoebe found by Nick Flanders in King William County, and a Clay-colored Sparrow found by Andrew Rapp, Carson Lambert and Sheila Barnett in Hanover County. If you are going to try to see the clay-colored sparrow, please hold off trying to do so until I hear back from the landowner about access. If you are going to try to see the Say's Phoebe, please note this recent post sent to VA-Bird by Nick Flanders:
"This appears to be the first Say's Phoebe to be found on the Middle Peninsula. It is on private property. The landowners are friendly towards birders and are excited about hosting a rare bird. They have requested that you stay on the road and keep away from the house. Please be conscientious about your behavior while searching for the bird and communicative with other birders who may not be following the instructions in this message.
Directions: Turn north from Green Level Rd. (Rt. 621) onto Hybla Farm Road (Rt. 681) and continue along the road, always keeping right when there is an option, until reaching a patch of cedars on the left side of the road just before the road goes up a hill towards the landowner’s house. The Say’s Phoebe has been at times associating with a bluebird flock, at times with Eastern Phoebes, and at times alone. It almost always stays within 2 feet of the ground and has ranged from the edge of the cedars to the fields below the house to the red barn/shed a bit further down the road, but before reaching the house. You will drive through a cow pasture before reaching the hill with house/cedars and the phoebe has been spending time near the ground around cow manure."
Other positive highlights from the Walkerton CBC were the following:
4 Snow Geese in The Pocket, including one Blue 344 American Black Duck, (nearly 3 X the average) 1372 Mallard, a new count high (prev 1214) 38 Shoveler (2 x ave) Pocket 17 American Wigeon (ave = 4) Walkerton, Hatchery, Pocket 14 Redhead, a new count high (prev high 1, seen on 7 of prev 22 counts), all in Walkerton 117 Hooded Merganser, a new count high (prev high 89) 21 Bobwhite in two locations in one sector (Hatchery) 27 Red-headed Woodpecker (2 x ave) 43 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a new count high (prev high 40) 2 Merlin (single birds in two sectors: Pampatike, New Kent) 87 Eastern Phoebe, crushing our prev high of 56 2 House Wrens (single birds in two sectors: Pampatike, Pocket) 27 Winter Wren (ave 16) 77 Hermit Thrush (our second highest count, ave = 32, max = 126) 21 Brown Thrasher ( ave = 11, max = 23) 229 Yellow-rumped Warbler our second highest count (ave 101, max 290) 8 Pine Warbler our second highest count (ave 2, max 12) 96 Chipping Sparrow ( 3 x ave) 46 Fox Sparrow (2nd highest count, ave = 10, max 54) 2 Rusty Blackbird single birds at two locations in one sector (Pocket) 139 Meadowlark highest count since 2004 (ave 60, high 176)
In addition, we had significantly lower numbers than usual of the following species, probably most of which can be explained by the birds being less active because of the brutal winds, or the fact that the marshes and some ponds were frozen and ice-covered, or by the fact that we had no teams in boats on the rivers this year.
28 Green-winged Teal (ave 97. high 481) 288 Pintail (ave 569, high 2151) 2 Lesser Scaup (ave 29, high 447) Walkerton 32 Ruddy Duck (ave 82, high 580) 8 Pied-billed Grebe (ave 14, high 53) 13 DC Cormorant (ave 17, high 91) 16 Great Blue Heron (ave 37, high 69) 17 Red-tailed Hawk (ave 27, high 39) 8 Wild Turkey (ave 32, high 101) 1 Coot (ave 62, high 628) New Kent 149 Killdeer (ave 181, high 625) 4 Wilson's Snipe (ave 53, high 202) 3 American Woodcock (ave 22, high 187) Cohoke and King William 128 Ring-billed Gull (ave 343, high 939) 1 Screech Owl (ave 4, high 12) King William 6 Great Horned Owl (ave 10, high 40) 1 Barred Owl (ave 7, high 15) Aylett 10 Kingfisher (ave 20, high 43) 18 Pileated Woodpecker (ave 32, high 64) 5 Kestrel (ave 9, high 17) 52 Blue Jay (ave 73, high 142) 7 Horned Lark in only the Cohoke sector (ave 71, high 204) 70 Carolina Chickadee (ave 105, high 175) 53 Titmice (ave 88, high 161) 16 WB Nuthatch (ave 30, high 58) 84 Carolina Wren (ave 103, high 218) 159 Eastern Bluebird (ave 201, high 482)
The following birds that we have found fairly often on this count were missed this year: Cackling Goose, Canvasback, Lesser Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Herring Gull, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Purple Finch
Since there is very little public land in this count circle, we rely heavily on the generosity of private landowners. Many thanks to the 34 private landowners who provided access to their beautiful and very birdy properties, and to the following very conscientious and skilled birders who worked hard in tough conditions to amass an impressive list: Sector 1 Aylett Leslie Fellows, Ann and Kevin Jennings, Chuck Epes, Sector 2 Pampatike Arun Bose, Ellison Orcutt, Sector 3 Cohoke Nick Flanders Sector 4 Walkerton James Fox, Jason Strickland, Ray Smith Sector 5 Hatchery/Stephensville Teta Kain, Carolyn Phillips, Ron Kroll (et al) Sector 6 King William Dana Bradshaw, Bryan Watts Sector 7 The Pocket Fred Atwood, Nick Newberry Sector 8 Hanover/New Kent Andrew Rapp, Carson Lambert, Sheila Barnett