Wednesday, January 6, 2015 Seward CBC wrap up

Seward, Alaska

Seward Christmas Bird Count: Sunday, January 3, 2016
Sunrise 10:00 am, sunset 4:04 pm for a total daylight of 6 hours and 4 minutes.

What a difference a day makes! Miraculously, Saturday’s raging waters subsided to flat calm; the squalls departed, depleted and defeated. The clouds stubbornly persisted, shedding half-hearted sprinkles throughout the day just because.

The temps rose from 33º to a pleasant 37º. The recent rains at sea level erased much of the remaining snow, but cloaked the surrounding mountainsides in white once again. Tempestuous rain hammered Seward on Monday and Tuesday, making all the birders very glad indeed for the window of grace on Sunday.

Seventeen Field Counters, including Captain Mike Brittain on the Dora and his crack crew of four birders, and three intrepid fatbikers, spent an enjoyable day looking for and counting birds. At home, ten bird watchers counted their feeders.

The unofficial total number of species is 66, with one more for Count Week.

One of the many highlights of the Count was 30 CRESTED AUKLETS spotted by the boat crew. Seward has never had this species on the CBC before. The recent storms delivered this unusual little alcid just in time.

Seward had an all time high of 546 COMMON MURRES, a species in distress whose numbers of dead birds floating in the water and washed up on the beaches, ranges in the thousands. A live MURRE was counted at Bear Lake in a little patch of open water. Another live MURRE, stranded against a fence as high as Mt Everest a block from the beach, was grabbed and splashed; quite a wonderful sight to see it actively preening and paddling away.

Two warblers, a YELLOW-RUMPED and an ORANGE-CROWNED somehow survived some pretty nasty weather to be counted.

The KILLDEER and HOODED MERGANSER, repeat honored winter visitors, made themselves quite visible. The resident TRUMPETER SWAN family, who often disappear for many days, graced the count with their presence. The cygnets were almost as white as their parents.

The only MERLIN and SHARP-SHINNED HAWK cruised by Ava’s Place, distressing the songbirds, but the only AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS (4) and RED CROSSBILLS (2) popped in.

On the last night of Count Week, a GREAT HORNED OWL, by Mile 1 Nash Road, softly hooted its way into the record.

Many thanks to all the birders who showed up on Saturday, including folks from out-of-town who braved nasty road conditions, all willing to count in dismal conditions; to the Feeder Counters who counted their feeders on Saturday and Sunday; to the Field Counters who spent the whole day counting on Sunday, and a big cheer to Captain Mike Brittain who donated his time, expertise, and trusty Dora once again for the CBC. HURRAH!

If anyone has any unlisted species to add to Count Week, or the Count Day, please email me ASAP.

2015 Alphabetical Checklist Seward Christmas Bird Count:

Final Total          Species                                          ­­­

30      Auklet, Crested                      ­­­                 
28      Bufflehead                             ­­­                 
35      Bunting, Snow                                         
93      Chickadee, Black-capped                 ­­­                           ­­­
6       Chickadee, Boreal                                            
132    Chickadee, Chestnut-backed                             
53      Cormorant, Pelagic                                           
11      Creeper, Brown                     ­­­­­­                 
2       Crossbill, Red                                  ­­­                 
156    Crow, Northwestern                        ­­­                          
6       Dipper, American                   ­­­­­­                 
76      Duck, Harlequin                     ­­­                 
7       Duck, Long-tailed                   ­­­                 
3       duck unknown species   ­­­                 
         52      Eagle, Bald adult                                                       
         15      Eagle, Bald immature                                        
67      Eagle, Bald total                     ­­­                 
1       Gadwall                                 ­­­                 
411    Goldeneye, Barrow’s                       ­­­                 
43      Goldeneye, Common                        ­­­                 
28      Grebe, Horned                                ­­­                 
5       Grebe, Red-necked                          ­­­­­­                 
71      Grosbeak, Pine                       ­­­                 
1       Guillemot, Pigeon                    ­­­                 
1       Gull, Glaucous-winged X Herring hybrid (not a species)­­­                 
106    Gull, Glaucous-winged            ­­­                 
1       Gull, Herring                                   ­­­                 
86      Gull, Mew                              ­­­                           ­­­
1       Hawk, Sharp-shinned                       ­­­                 
3       Heron, Great Blue                           ­­­                          
61      Jay, Steller’s                                   ­­­                          
4       Junco, Dark-eyed (Oregon)              ­­­­­­                 
114    Junco, Dark-eyed (Slate-colored)     ­­­                          
3       junco unknown species (pink)
1       Killdeer       ­­­                          
3       Kingfisher, Belted                   ­­­                          
14      Kinglet, Golden-crowned                  ­­­­­­                 
5       Kittiwake, Black-legged          ­­­                 
6       Loon, Common
1       Loon, Pacific                          ­­­                 
2       Loon, Yellow-billed                                           
2       loon unknown species    ­­­                          
72      Magpie, Black-billed                                                   ­­­
114    Mallard                                                   
12      Merganser, Common                                        
1       Merganser, Hooded                                          
7       Merganser, Red-breasted                                  
1       Merlin                                                              
546    Murre, Common                                               
66      Murrelet, Marbled                                             ­­­
70      Nuthatch, Red-breasted
CW   Great Horned Owl                                   
71      Pigeon, Rock                                                    
94      Raven, Common                                      
118    Redpoll, Common                   ­­­                 
19      Robin, American                    ­­­                 
4       Rosy-Finch, Gray-crowned              ­­­                 
9       Sandpiper, Rock                                      
109    Scoter, Surf                                             
2       Scoter, White-winged                                       
133    Siskin, Pine                            ­­­                 
4       Sparrow, American Tree                                  
3       Sparrow, Fox                                  ­­­                 
7       Sparrow, Golden-crowned                                 
8       Sparrow, Song                                 ­­­                 
5       Sparrow, White-crowned                                  
1       Starling, European                           ­­­                 
6       Swan, Trumpeter
1       Thrush, Varied                                        
1       Warbler, Yellow Rumped
1       Warbler, Orange-crowned               ­­­                 
11      Woodpecker, Downy                                                 
4       Woodpecker, Hairy                                                    ­­
1       Wren, Pacific                                                   
CW Great Horned Owl

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic CBC Compiler

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