Seward Christmas Bird Count Results

66 species plus two for Count Week with a total of 3241 birds just about wraps it up! But for more details, read on:

After a stormy, windy and wet Friday with turbulent seas, a light snow greeted birders on Count Day, Saturday, December 16. The snow exhausted its supply after dispensing about ½” of white stuff and sputtered out with a light rain that ended before sunrise at 10 am. Golden sunshine peeked through the clouds for some, while the Lost Lake Trail team hiked in fog most of the day. The bay was miraculously calm all day for the boat crew resulting in excellent counting conditions. It was a great day to bird!

Temperatures ranged from 32 to 38 degrees with calm to variable winds. One team reported wind to 15 mph. The Lost Lake team measured 32” of snow where all other routes reported that scant half-inch.

A small but dedicated group turned out for the Count: 18 observers counted in the field by, car, hand cycle, fat bike, foot, and boat. Five observers counted their feeders, and two field observers rushed home to count their feeders.

The boat crew had a fabulous day on the bay with a record number of species and number of individuals of the same species. They racked up 20 species in the first hour alone and 35 species total.

Of note were a record 137 MARBLED MURRELETS, 7 GREAT BLUE HERONS, a notoriously secretive species; three loon species including 13 COMMON LOONS, 4 PACIFIC LOONS, and 2 YELLOW-BILLED LOONS; five gull species including 2 GLAUCOUS GULLS, 1 THAYER’S GULL, 59 MEW GULLS (a low number), 13 HERRING GULLS, and 31 of the 80 GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS. Two DUNLIN were spotted with 26 ROCK SANDPIPERS, now expected winter visitors.

COMMON MERGANSERS were notably not common with only 34 seen when there should have been at least several hundred. Only 5 COMMON MURRES were found, which is low, but at least some were found considering the terrible wreck last year.

BARROW’S GOLDENEYES at 328 took first place for the most birds, though this number is historically higher.

While motoring back to the dock, a single BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE flew behind a boat. The other birders waited expectantly but a Mew Gull appeared, much to the chagrin of the spotter. Fortunately, the alleged Kittiwake followed and redeemed his sterling reputation.

Over half the teams found a BROWN CREEPER, for a record number of 33. A record number of 150 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS were counted.

The town team, including an intrepid birder who put on four miles on her hand cycle, pulled out the only BOHEMIAN WAXWING, feeding on the few remaining Mt Ash berries at the Alaska Sealife Center, two of the three RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, a single GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, the handsome Rufous FOX SPARROW, six RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, 23 ROBINS, and the third GLAUCOUS GULL.

The Tonsina Point team found the only DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, and the only 2 PACIFIC WRENS, a record number. The Lost Lake Team found the only SPRUCE GROUSE. Ava’s Place reported the only MERLIN, which has been plaguing her feeders for some time, two AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, a single WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, and the third RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET.

A single HOODED MERGANSER and single GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH missed Count Day but showed up for Count Week. No owls were seen or heard.

Overall, my impression is that of fewer birds for the majority of species, even factoring in the small number of observers.

Many thanks to Captain Mike Brittain and his famous Dora for donating his boat, fuel, and time once again, to all the dedicated participants who set aside their whole day to walk, bike, hike, and drive around the Circle, and to Micheley who graciously welcomed the birders to Resurrection Art Coffee House Gallery for our pre and post meetings.

Species List:

Blackbird, Rusty 6                  ­­­

Bufflehead 64

Bunting, Snow 8

Chickadee, Black-capped 78               ­­­           ­­­

Chickadee, Chestnut-backed 58

Cormorant, Pelagic 49

Cormorant, Double-crested 1

Creeper, Brown 33                            ­­­

Crossbill, Red 16

Crossbill, White-winged 155

Crow, Northwestern 183

Dipper, American 2

Duck, Harlequin          69

Duck, Long-tailed 3

Duck, sp 83

Dunlin 2

Eagle, Bald total 90

Eagle, Bald adult 67

Eagle, Bald immature 30

Gadwall 7

Goldeneye, Barrow’s 328

Goldeneye, Common 30

Grebe, Horned 71

Grebe, Red-necked 8               ­­­

Grosbeak, Pine 118

Grouse, Spruce 1

Gull, Glaucous 3

Gull, Glaucous-winged X Herring hybrid 1

Not counted as a species

Gull, Glaucous-winged 80

Gull, Herring 13

Gull, Mew 59                                                ­­­


Gull, Thayer’s 1                                 ­­

Hawk, Sharp-shinned 3

Heron, Great Blue 7

Jay, Steller’s 18

Dark-eyed Juncos­­­ 62

Junco, Dark-eyed (Oregon) 7

Junco, Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) 55

Kingfisher, Belted 5

Kinglet, Golden-crowned 150

Kinglet, Ruby-crowned 3

Kittiwake, Black-legged          1

Loon, Common 13                              ­­­

Loon, Pacific 4

Loon, Yellow-billed 2

Magpie, Black-billed 81                     ­­­

Mallard 104

Merganser, Common 34

Merganser, Hooded CW

Merganser, Red-breasted 56

Merlin 1

Murre, Common         5

Murrelet, Marbled 137

Nuthatch, Red-breasted 63

Pigeon, Rock 180

Raven, Common 99

Redpoll, Common 199                                    ­­­

Robin, American 23                           ­­­

Rosy-Finch, Gray-crowned CW

Sandpiper, Rock 26

Scoter, Surf 52

Shrike, Northern 3

Siskin, Pine 249

Sparrow, American Tree 2

Sparrow, Fox 2                                               ­­­

Sparrow, Golden-crowned 1

Sparrow, Song 2                                              ­­­

Sparrow, White-crowned 1

Swan, Trumpeter 11

Thrush, Varied 5

Waxwing, Bohemian 1                                    ­­­

Woodpecker, Downy 11

Woodpecker, Hairy 3                                    ­­

Wren, Pacific 2





Carol Griswold, Seward CBC Compiler


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