Preliminary results from Sunday's Christmas Bird Count tallied 112 total species plus 3 count week birds. That is only slightly above the past 30-year median. Since 1990, we have counted more than 110 species in just 13 years.
The surprise miss was Monk Parakeet, which had been declining in its stronghold in Stamford. Count week only birds so far were Greater Yellowlegs, Laughing Gull, and Brown-headed Cowbird. However, Rusty Blackbird. Red-winged Blackbird, and Common Grackle, all showed up on count day. Highlights were some of this year's irruptive species: Red Crossbill, Common Redpoll, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Pine Siskin (but no Evening Grosbeak). There was a good showing of Owls, including Long-eared and Northern Saw-Whet, and Sparrows, including Savannah, Chipping, Field, Fox and Eastern Towhee. Warblers were scarce except for a Common Yellowthroat. The Sound and coastal counts located American Pipits, Horned Larks, Snow Buntings Glaucous Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, Razorbill, and Purple Sandpiper, plus six Common Eider, a species that has been seen fairly regularly all along the CT coast this winter, but are often absent this far west in most years.
A huge thank you to the nearly 40 participants who trekked in the snow and mist and managed the Covid limitations to make for another fun but safe birding adventure. And special thanks to Ryan MacLean and Greenwich Audubon for hosting our Zoom meeting so we could still hear the reports, share stories and see one another after a full day of great birding -- all to contribute to the nation's longest-running community science bird project.