The 5th running of the Palmetto Island CBC was held January 5 2021. The count circle is centered at Palmetto Island State Park in Vermilion Parish.
9 groups/areas, 29 individuals.
Pending minor adjustments, the count total this year was 154 species, a little higher than the 5 year average of 151 and the 5 year total count is now 185 species.
The count circle is in an unique area of Louisiana that is an intersection of major terrain trends. The circle includes bottomland hardwoods from old Vermilion/Mississippi River 'meanderings' , coastal prairies, agricultural fields, 'urban' Abbeville down to the Cameron like industrial port of Intracoastal City. Add to that a boat-access only area of freshwater marsh south of Erath and Delcambre and a few private access, WRP and large refuge like properties and its easy to see why the species counts can be so high.
As is typical, we don't get a lot of vagrant/bold-faced species, but we just don't get many 'misses'.
However, the high species count is somewhat misleading this year, as the overall quantities were significantly down, especially in the southern half of the circle. Intracoastal City had 4-5 feet of water on the highway from Hurricane Delta and it showed in lower numbers for waterfowl, shorebirds and sparrows. Waterfowl numbers were 6500 compared to 30,000 last year! Total sparrow numbers down 30% and except for killdeer, shorebirds were down 25%. Interestingly, gulls were up significantly, especially in the northern part of the circle. I think this is a function of being closer to the city dump and having good coverage
New to the list: Prairie Warbler, Clay Colored Sparrow
Best of the rest: 15 species of waterfowl(albeit low totals), 15 birds of prey, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, Painted Bunting, Northern Waterthrush, B-W Warbler, all expected woodland birds, 4 species of Hummingbirds
Worst misses: Glossy Ibis(again), Wilson's Warbler, Lincoln's Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird, only 1400 geese compared to 20000 last year.
record high counts of note: Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks(2000), Neotropic Cormorant(1353), DC Cormorant(509), anhinga(58), White Pelican(900), Coot(1853), killdeer(1900), Western Sandpiper(153), Laughing, Herring and Ring Billed Gulls(>4000), Forster's tern(281), Downy Woodpecker(47), Vermilion Flycather(9),B-G Gnatcatcher(227), Goldfinch(197), Pine Siskin(10)
cool bird of the day: Mac and I found a creamy white leucistic BW teal in the Intracoastal city area, photos available.
CBOTD#2 - Dave, Kyle, Bill and Chloe were watching a located eagle nest when the male caught a fish in the Vermilion River and brought it up to the female on the nest! Sha...
if anyone would like to see the entire workbook, feel free to email me offlist, happy to send.
Special thanks to the great birders who gave their day: Mac Myers, Angela Trahan, Patti Holland, Dave Patton, Kyle Patton, Bill Vermilion, Chloe Vermilion, Rob Dobbs, Andy Form, Judge Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards, Phillip Wallace, Mark Shirley, Erik Johnson, Brad Price, David Booth, Dale Hamilton, Chuck Battaglia, Marty Guidry, Sandra Dehart and Kathleen Wade.