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Humdinger Seward Christmas Bird Count

The 2016 Seward Audubon Christmas Bird Count was held on a beautiful, mild Saturday on December 17, the day after torrential rain on ice. During the CBC, 4 Boat Crew, 10 Field Counters, and 5 Feeder Counters counted all the birds they saw in the Seward Count Circle, a 15-mile diameter circle centered on the Seward Highway and Nash Road.

The most extraordinary species were two male Anna’s Hummingbirds, never before counted in Seward. Another southeastern species, a male Red-breasted Sapsucker, was another first that disappeared on Count Day but returned for Count Week.

The resident Trumpeter Swan family including both parents, 3 cygnets, and another adult that is possibly an older sibling, popped up for Count Week, then again disappeared. Our swan family has been counted the last four years.

Other unusual birds included two White-throated Sparrows, one American Pipit, 15 Rock Ptarmigan, a first for our Count, and two Crested Auklets. A Great Horned Owl and Saw-whet Owl were heard calling at night.

48 Robins and 14 Varied Thrushes were counted, feeding on frozen Mt Ash berries and at suet feeders. We often get these hardy heralds of spring on the Count. Four Great Blue Herons, a secretive, year-round bird, were counted as well.

Last year, a record 546 Common Murres were counted during a winter of great stress; none were seen on this Count. A total nesting failure was reported this summer for Murres and Black-legged Kittiwakes.

Only 1 Pine Siskin was counted, and no Common Redpolls. These irruptive species often fly great distances in the winter, so this is not unusual.

The most song birds and variety of species were concentrated in town on Mt Ash trees and at bird-friendly yards with feeders filled with black-oil sunflower seed and suet.

Barrow’s Goldeneye numbers were the highest at 336, with Pine Grosbeaks coming in second with 249. 15 species had only one or two birds.

The total species count of 56 plus another 11 during Count Week was one less than last year, though the species varied a bit. The total number of individuals counted was 2447, about one for every Seward resident.

Thanks to all the bird lovers who kept their feeders full and landscape with bird habitat in mind. Thanks to the dedicated CBC Counters who worked hard to cover a vast circle with fewer than normal participants. Many thanks to Captain Mike Brittain who once again provided the Dora for the boat team survey. Thanks to Resurrect Coffee House and Art Gallery for their hospitality before and after the Count. It was a humdinger!

UPDATE: just found out a Fox Sparrow was seen during Count Week. So the total species count was 56, with another 12 for Count Week for a total of 68 species.

2016 Alphabetical Checklist Seward Christmas Bird Count 12-24-16

2                Auklet, Crested                                                           ­­­

7                Blackbird, Rusty                      ­­­

116             Bufflehead

30               Chickadee, Black-capped          ­­­                  ­­­

CW Chickadee, Boreal

51               Chickadee, Chestnut-backed

65               Cormorant, Pelagic

4                Creeper, Brown                       ­­­

CW Crossbill, White-winged              ­­­

129             Crow, Northwestern

5                Dipper, American                    ­­­

65               Duck, Harlequin

2                Duck, Long-tailed

CW Dunlin

50               Eagle, Bald

1                Falcon, unknown species

CW Gadwall

336             Goldeneye, Barrow’s

98               Goldeneye, Common

75               Grebe, Horned

6                Grebe, Red-necked                           ­­­

249             Grosbeak, Pine

1                Guillemot, Pigeon

1 Gull, Glaucous-winged X Herring hybrid (not a species)

176             Gull, Glaucous-winged

9                Gull, Herring

55               Gull, Mew                                                         ­­­

4                Heron, Great Blue

2                Hummingbird, Anna’s

38               Jay, Steller’s

81               Junco, Dark-eyed (Slate-colored)

including 1 Junco, Dark-eyed (Oregon)                         ­­­

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12               Kingfisher, Belted

23               Kinglet, Golden-crowned          ­­­

15               Loon, Common                       ­­­

6                Loon, Pacific

36               Magpie, Black-billed                                            ­­­

117             Mallard

48               Merganser, Common

CW Merganser, Hooded

48               Merganser, Red-breasted

99               Murrelet, Marbled

25               Nuthatch, Red-breasted

CW Owl, Great-Horned

1                Owl, Northern Saw-whet

98               Pigeon, Rock

1                Pipit, American

15               Ptarmigan, Rock

57               Raven, Common

48               Robin, American                     ­­­

CW Sandpiper, Rock

CW Sapsucker, Red-breasted

2                Scaup, Greater

65               Scoter, Surf

1                Scoter, White-winged

1                Shrike, Northern

1                Siskin, Pine                             ­­­

2                Sparrow, American Tree

2                Sparrow, Golden-crowned

6                Sparrow, Song                                 ­­­

8                Sparrow, White-crowned

2                Sparrow, White-throated

CW Sparrow, Fox

CW Swan, Trumpeter

CW Teal, Green-winged

14               Thrush, Varied                        ­­­

CW Waxwing, Bohemian

6                Woodpecker, Downy

3                Woodpecker, Hairy

1                Wren, Pacific

TOTAL SPECIES: 56, 12 for Count Week, 68 total

Total Individuals: 2447

Carol Griswold, compiler

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