Date: 1/13/21 4:46 am
From: Fred Atwood <FAtwood...>
Subject: [va-bird] Walkerton CBC summary Jan 3, 2021
Dear Virginia Birders
On an overcast drizzly Sunday Jan 3 with wet farm fields and high river
levels, twenty birders participated in the Walkerton Christmas Bird Count
in the Middle Peninsula in King William, King and Queen, and a little bit
of Hanover and New Kent counties. Many thanks to them for their skilled and
thorough work and many thanks to the 30+ landowners who gave us permission
to access their farms, river-shores, lumber tracts, swamps, and private
wildlife refuges.
Our total of 101 species was slightly above the average for the last twenty
years (100). New species for the count were 2 Common Gallinules seen by
Nick Newberry and Maeve & Joey Coker in a private kitty-litter-quarry pond
in Walkerton, and a total of 116 Evening Grosbeaks seen in 5 of the 8
sectors. The grosbeaks were a real treat since they have only been seen
once during count week during the 26 previous years of this count, and they
gave many great views. This brings our all-time count day total to 144
species. Other highlights were Ross's Goose in The Pocket and a nearby
cornfield (2nd count sighting), Great Egret in The Pocket (5th count
sighting), Laughing Gull (3rd count sighting), Blue-headed Vireo (2nd
count sighting), and two Common Yellowthroats (4th count sighting). We also
had new high counts of the following species: Red-shouldered Hawk, Blue
Jay, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and
White-throated Sparrow.

The evening grosbeaks and the high count of red-breasted nuthatches were
the result of this irruption year as northern birds moved further south
because of food scarcity. Purple FInches had their second highest count.
And the 4 Pine Siskins, another irruptive species, were only the 6th record
for this CBC.

Because of the late start due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and because
of the rainy predawn conditions, nocturnal birding was minimal and woodcock
counts were lower than usual. We missed Screech Owl for the first time
since 2001. And the only other owls were 5 Barred and 3 Great Horned, both
below average counts. There were also fewer ducks than usual this winter.
We missed Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye, and Northern
Shoveler, and had lower than average numbers of several other species. We
also missed Tundra Swan for the first time since 2002. The rainy conditions
also kept many of the raptors "grounded" giving us lower numbers than usual
of Bald Eagles (lowest count since 2003), both vultures, Red-tailed Hawk
(lowest count since 2001) and American Kestrel. We missed Cooper's Hawk for
the first time since 1999. The Ravens that have been seen in the count
circle on the previous two counts could not be found on the count this
year. Blackbirds were much less common this year. We often have tens of
thousands in the farm fields or streaming overhead (sometimes over
100,000). This year our total of all blackbirds was only 6785 (7060 if you
include starlings).

For any of you who might be interested in such details, below are the total
counts from this year compared to other years.
ave = average, max = previous high count, # /26 = number of years it has
been seen on the count out of 26.

7434 Canada Goose (ave 7148, max 17400, 26/26)
3 Cackling Goose (ave 1, max 6, 11/26)
1 Ross's Goose (ave 0, max 3, 2/26)
25 Wood Duck (ave 39, max 172, 25/26)
114 Green-winged Teal (ave 95, max 481, 21/26)
35 American Black Duck (ave 142, max 464, 26/26) lowest count since 2006
378 Mallard (ave 577, max 1372, 26/26) lowest count since Dec 2012
626 Pintail (ave 556, max 1372, 23/26)
124 Gadwall (ave 132, max 420, 23/26)
7 American Wigeon (ave 5, max 20, 20/26)
13 Canvasback (ave 17, max 361, 9/26)
271 Ring-necked Duck (ave 355, max 1144, 26/26)
4 Lesser Scaup (ave 27, max 447, 19/26)
81 Bufflehead (ave 119, max 470, 25/26)
24 Hooded Merganser (ave 40, mac 117, 25/26)
66 Ruddy Duck (ave 78, max 580, 22/26)
18 Pied-billed Grebe (ave 13, max 53, 25/26)
24 DC Cormorant (ave 18, max 91, 21/26)
40 Great Blue Heron (ave 35, max 69, 26/26)
1 Great Egret (ave 1, max 9, 5/26)
117 Black Vulture (ave 140, max 289, 26/26)
140 Turkey Vulture (ave 289, max 649, 26/26)
30 Bald Eagle (ave 40, max 77, 25/26)
16 Northern Harrier (ave 8, max 19, 26/26) third highest count
4 Sharp-shinned Hawk (ave 4, max 11, 26/26)
41 Red-shouldered Hawk (ave 19, max 38, 26/26) New High Count
14 Red-tailed Hawk (ave 26, max 39, 26/26) lowest count since CBC 101
87 Wild Turkey (ave 36, max 101, 26/26)
15 Northern Bobwhite (ave 9, max 28, 20/26) found in only ONE sector this
year
2 Common Gallinule NEW SPECIES for the CBC
12 Coot (ave 54, max 628, 20/26) numbers of this species fluctuate greatly
from year to year
106 Killdeer (ave 168, max 625, 26/26)
2 Greater Yellowlegs (ave 10, max 55, 15/26)
76 WIlson's Snipe (ave 47, max 202, 26/26) 75 were found in farm fields in
Pampatike sector
18 Woodcock (ave 22, max 187, 22/26)
1 Laughing Gull (ave 0, max 4, 3/26)
156 Ring-billed Gull (ave 331, mac 939, 25/26)
5 Herring Gull (ave 2, max 19, 15/26) first since CBC 115
9 Rock Pigeon (ave 21, max 78, 20/26)
295 Mourning Dove (ave 376, max 956, 26/26)
3 Great Horned Owl (ave 10, max 40, 26/26)
5 Barred Owl (ave 7, max 15, 25/26)
22 Belted Kingfisher (ave 20, max 43, 26/26)
9 Red-headed Woodpecker (ave 15, max 60, 25/26)
106 Red-bellied Woodpecker (ave 72, max 145, 26/26) Third highest count
41 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (ave 26, max 43, 26/26) Second highest count
66 Downy Woodpecker (ave 48, max 90, 26/26) Fifth highest count
24 Hairy Woodpecker (ave 14, max 34, 26/26) Third highest count
152 Flicker (ave 126, max 234, 26/26)
38 Pileated Woodpecker (ave 33, max 64, 26/26)
5 American Kestrel (ave 8, max 17, 26/26)
No Merlin or Peregrine
43 E Phoebe (ave 34, max, 87, 26/26) Fourth highest count
1 Blue-headed Vireo (ave 0, max 1, 2/26)
230 Blue Jay (ave 77, max 142, 26/26) New high count smashed previous high.
533 American Crow (ave 565, max 847, 26/26)
85 Horned Lark (ave 65, mac 204, 24/26)
153 Carolina Chickadee (ave 106, max 175, 26/26) Fourth highest count
108 Tufted Titmouse (ave 88, max 161, 26/26)
18 Red-breasted Nuthatch (ave 3, max 11, 16/26) New High count in this
irruption year
24 White-breasted Nuthatch (ave 29, max 58, 26/26)
13 Brown Creeper (ave 9, max 20, 26/26)
214 Carolina Wren (ave 106, max 218, 26/26) Second highest count.
3 House Wren (ave 1, max 5, 11//26)
24 WInter Wren (ave 18, max 43, 26/26)
71 Golden-crowned Kinglet (ave 55, max 103, 26/26)
65 Ruby-crowned Kinglet (ave 34, max 107, 26/26) Third highest count
214 Eastern Bluebird (ave 198, max 482, 26/26)
7 Gray Catbird (ave 3, max 9, 20/26) tied for second highest count
66 Mockingbird (ave 46, max 110, 26/26) third highest count
20 Brown Thrasher (ave 12, max 23, 25/26)
1432 Robin (ave 1599, max 4480, 26/26)
55 Hermit Thrush (ave 35, max 126, 26/26)
196 American Pipit (ave 133, max 365, 24/26)
300 Cedar Waxwing (ave 369, max 1308, 26/26)
275 Starling (ave 680, max 1670, 26/26) Third year in a row below 300 birds.
134 Yellow-rumped Warbler (ave 101, max 290, 26/26)
6 Pine Warbler (ave 4, max 27, 24/26)
4 Palm Warbler (ave 1. max 6, 7/26)
2 Common Yellowthroat (ave 0, max 1, 4/26) New High Count
88 Chipping Sparrow (ave 39, max 209, 23/26)
74 Field Sparrow (ave 31. max 77, 26/26) Second highest count
157 Savannah Sparrow (ave 48, max 127, 25/26) New high count
26 Fox Sparrow (ave 13. max 54, 23/26) Fourth highest count
762 Song Sparrow (ave 327, max 734, 26/26) New high count
105 Swamp Sparrow (ave 51, max 119, 26/26) second highest count
1911 White-throated Sparrow (ave 1038, max 1697, 26/26) New high count
1 White-crowned Sparrow (ave 3. max 33, 18/26)
811 Junco (ave 609, max 1307, 26//26)
50 Eastern Towhee (ave 32, max 71, 26/26)
419 Cardinal (ave 225, max 493, 26/26) Second highest count
6248 Red-winged Blackbird (ave 34994, max 250987, 26/26)
5 Rusty Blackbird (ave 7, max 53, 15/26)
500 blackbird sp (ave 14349, max 150000, 18/26)
7 Common Grackle (ave 18977, max 167452, 26/26) Second lowest count
25 Brown-headed Cowbird (ave 264, max 4562, 26/26) one bird that gave a
quick impression of a bronzed cowbird took off before ID could be certain
100 E. Meadowlark (ave 61, max 176, 26/26) second highest count in past 16
years
39 Purple Finch (ave 5, max 53, 11/26) Second highest count, a finch
irruption year
60 House Finch (ave 5, max 188, 26/26)
116 Evening Grosbeak NEW SPECIES (previously only a count week bird, once)
irruption year
217 Am Goldfinch (ave 147, max 408, 26/26)
4 Pine Siskin (ave 2, max 43, 6/26) missed most years, a finch irruption
year
18 House Sparrow (ave 21, max 78, 26/26)


All the best,
Good Birding
Fred Atwood, Oakton, Fairfax Co.


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