Date: 12/30/19 2:31 pm
From: Marcia Watson <marshwren50...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Jug Bay CBC Results - December15, 2019
Here's a summary report of the results of the Jug Bay Christmas Bird Count,
held on Sunday, December 15, 2019. The Jug Bay circle covers parts of
Prince George's, Anne Arundel, and Calvert Counties, and includes the
Patuxent River from a couple miles north of Jug Bay south to just past Lower
Marlboro, as well as open waters of the Chesapeake Bay from
Churchton/Franklin Manor south to Chesapeake Beach. The circle includes
rural areas; suburban developments; a couple of small towns and a few
villages; county-owned parks and preserves such as Jug Bay Wetlands
Sanctuary (Anne Arundel) and Patuxent River Park (Prince George's); a number
of state hunting/wildlife management areas; and municipal parks and beaches.



As has been reported for other counts, the weather was fair and mild on
December 15, with temperatures ranging from the upper 30s in early morning
to the mid-fifties by noon. There was no precipitation and most of the day
had light winds, with some gusts to 24 mph in the afternoon.



Overall, our counters observed a total of 115 species. Over the previous ten
years, from 2009 through 2018, the total species ranged from 89 to 115, with
a ten-year average of 108 species. Thus we had good diversity in 2019. But
we did not set a record. The highest species number on record was in 2001,
with 122 species.



This year, we had 13 "Add-On Species" (species not found annually and so not
included on our regular checklist):

. Trumpeter Swan

. Trumpeter/Tundra Swan Hybrid

. Mallard X Amer Black Duck Hybrid

. Blue-winged Teal (Count Week)

. Black Scoter

. Black-crowned Night Heron

. Clapper Rail

. Lesser Black-backed Gull

. Common Raven

. Sedge Wren

. Palm Warbler

. Orange-crowned Warbler

. Pine Siskin



A number of birds - 23 species - were observed in just one of the 12 sectors
in our count circle, and our counters put in extra efforts to turn up these
specialties, which included many of the add-ons but also regular checklist
species such as Northern Shoveler; Redhead; American Coot; American
Woodcock; Laughing Gull; Marsh Wren; Pine Warbler; Savannah Sparrow; and
Pine Siskin.



This year, the total number of individual birds - 115,366 birds - was
bolstered by a count of over 60,000 Common Grackles and almost 8,000
Red-winged Blackbirds from a single sector that covers prime Prince George's
County farmlands. Over the previous ten years, the total number of
individual birds ranged from 34,140 to 1,413,515, averaging 218,550
individuals. Thus, at first glance, this year's count provided lower than
average numbers of individual birds. And indeed, most counters reported that
birds were scarce in the field. However, that ten-year average of 218,550
individual birds is skewed by a high count of 1,413,515 birds in 2018, that
included over 300,000 red-wingeds, over 500,000 grackles, plus another
500,00 blackbird "sp." Likewise, in 2015, the total number of 255,508
individuals was skewed by very high blackbird numbers. Ignoring 2015 and
2018, this year's number of individual birds EXCEEDED the total numbers of
individuals in eight of the previous ten years. Still, further analysis of
count trends will no doubt show that some species have suffered drastic
declines.



We had a total of 41 counters in the field, all of whom put in a remarkable
effort. We had no feeder watchers. I have been astonished to read about the
large numbers of counters who participated in some of the other counts,
e.g., the Seneca CBC, which was held on the same day as the Jug Bay count,
had 158 people in the field plus 19 feeder watchers. That's almost exactly
one counter for each square mile in the Seneca count circle. By contrast,
the coverage for the Jug Bay circle equated to one counter for each 4.3
square miles in the count circle (admittedly, our circle includes large
areas of water that are viewed from land). Many of our counters worked solo
and most spent some time owling. We finished the day with a tally rally and
Dutch-treat meal at the Chesapeake Grill and Deli in Dunkirk. I commend all
of our Jug Bay CBC volunteers for their hard work and dedication.



Marcia

_________

Marcia Watson

Patuxent Bird Club

A Chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society

<http://www.patuxentbirdclub.org> www.patuxentbirdclub.org



Bowie, MD

<Marshwren50...>



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