Date: 12/30/19 6:35 pm From: 'James Tyler Bell' via Maryland & DC Birding <mdbirding...> Subject: Re: [MDBirding] Jug Bay CBC Results - December15, 2019
Nice count data!
Where was the Trumpeter Swan? There was one reported recently up near Deale. Perhaps in the Churchton/Franklin Manor area? If it was in Calvert, details on the location, please!
On Monday, December 30, 2019, 5:31:00 PM EST, Marcia Watson <marshwren50...> wrote:
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.