|12/24/2014 10:27:00 AM|
Christmas Bird Count - Results from Thomaston-Rockland count
by Don ReimerAs part of National Audubon Society's 115th Christmas Bird Count, the annual Thomaston-Rockland Bird Count was conducted this past Saturday, on December 20. Currently there are 32 Christmas Bird Counts held across the state. The count period extends from December 14 through January 5 and is intended to provide a winter snapshot of bird populations and distribution across the western hemisphere.
Two dozen hardy volunteers tallied 78 species and 6,311 individual birds within the 15-mile count circle that is geographically centered at the Knox Mansion in Thomaston. Bare ground conditions made for easy travel conditions this time around, and some of the larger water bodies remained open. Chickawaukie Lake, in particular, offered up a nice variety of waterfowl, including Scaup ducks, Ring-Necked and several other species of divers. A flock of 148 American Coots near the Route 17 lake margin was certainly a highlight there.
Due to poor cone crops across our region this year, we had not anticipated groups of winter finches, and, clearly, this prediction came true on Saturday. With the exception of a few Common Redpolls, 10 Bohemian Waxwings and three colorful Evening Grosbeaks, the northern finch contingent was virtually absent. Not a single Cedar Waxwing was recorded on any of the three local bird counts this year.
Each count presents some surprises: A Clay-Colored Sparrow found at the Samoset Resort is a new species for this count and is an exceptional find at this season of the year. A Black-Legged Kittiwake, spotted by a Vinalhaven Ferry birder near Owls Head, was another notable find. A lingering Gray Catbird, two Red-Winged Blackbirds and a Double-Crested Cormorant loafing in a quarry added a hint of summer past to the results.
We note a continent-wide march of northern range expansions for dozens of species. Here in Maine, numbers of Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Carolina Wrens and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers continue to build as these former southern species now overwinter in Maine. The gradual recovery of Eastern Bluebirds is very encouraging (over 300 bluebirds were recorded across Maine on last year's counts).
Thomaston/Rockland CBC Results — December 20, 2014
|Red-throated Loon||9||Downy Woodpecker||26|
|Common Loon||79||Northern Flicker||2|
|Red-necked Grebe||9||Pileated Woodpecker||5|
|Horned Grebe||32||Northern Shrike||1|
|D-crested Cormorant||1||Blue Jay||157|
|Canada Goose||682||American Crow||351|
|Black Duck||64||Common Raven||28|
|Ring-necked Duck||2||Tufted Titmouse||23|
|Greater Scaup||10||R-breasted Nuthatch||20|
|Ruddy Duck||1||W-breasted Nuthatch||39|
|Common Eider||196||Brown Creeper||9|
|Long-tailed Duck||88||G-crowned Kinglet||3|
|Black Scoter||1||American Robin||34|
|Surf Scoter||59||Eastern Bluebird||9|
|Common Goldeneye||37||No. Mockingbird||2|
|Hooded Merganser||11||Bohemian Waxwing||10|
|Common Merganser||39||European Starling||551|
|R-breasted Merganser||101||No. Cardinal||54|
|Bald Eagle:||12 adults||Am. Tree Sparrow||53|
|6 immatures||Song Sparrow||17|
|Northern Harrier||2||Clay-colored Sparrow||1|
|Sharp-shinned Hawk||2||Wh-throated Sparrow||31|
|Cooper's Hawk||1||Dark-eyed Junco||40|
|Red-tailed Hawk||14||Red-wing Blackbird||2|
|Rough-legged Hawk||1||House Finch||56|
|Wild Turkey||93||Pine Siskin||17|
|Ruffed Grouse||4||American Goldfinch||166|
|American Coot||148||Evening Grosbeak||3|
|Purple Sandpiper||8||House Sparrow||61|
|Ring-billed Gull||25||and 6,311 |
|Herring Gull||728||individual birds|
|Gr. Black-back Gull||19|
Note: "Count Week" birds (birds that are not found on the official count date, but are seen within a 3-day period prior to the count date and 3 days after the count date) so far include Iceland Gull, Great Blue Heron, Snow Bunting, Pintail
Posted: Thursday, January 1, 2015
Article comment by:
Don - I live in Camden - just outside of town toward the Snow Bowl - and I'm a backyard birder. I read this year's bird-count results and noted that there were no Cedar Waxwings sighted. Early morning on Dec 31 I observed a small flock of about 8-10 in a fruit tree we have and they were back today, Jan 1. They did not look as colorful as they are when I've seen them in the spring but they were definitely Cedar Waxwings. We have all of the regular birds you would expect, including a family of cardinals for the past several years. Most summers we have nesting bluebirds in boxes we have on the property.
My mother was a great backyard birder and it was she who really sparked my interest. She lived in a small town outside of NYC and on one visit with her, we were having breakfast and I was telling her about my first sighting up here of a large flock of Cedar Waxwings in the berry trees we have on our property - they are such a beautiful bird. Her breakfast nook looked out over a berry tree and about 5 min after I told her that story, a large flock of them alighted in the tree and began to feed. It was an amazing coincidence.
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