Second highest bird count ever

The 2015 West Boundary bird count was enjoyed by 29 participants who sighted 56 species including 2,791 individuals.

Fourteen bald eagles congregated in Rock Creek to feast on a deer carcass. The birds were observed during the recent annual West Boundary bird count.

by Fred Marshall

The 2015 West Boundary bird count was enjoyed by 29 participants who sighted 56 species including 2,791 individuals.  Very surprisingly, this was the second highest count ever with only the 2006 count being higher with 3,893 individuals sighted. The species number at 56 was average with the highest being 60 in 2009.

Last year 55 species with 1,615 individuals were counted.

The West Boundary count area includes all of the West Boundary starting from and including Eholt.

Bohemian waxwings which topped the count last year with 443 birds sighted dropped to zero this year. This is the first time with no waxwings being observed.

California quail topped the count this year with 360 birds sighted. American Golfinch were second with 236 birds and Pine siskins were close behind with 226 individuals counted.

Another absentee this year were the Robins with none observed. Two new birds to the area are the Boreal chickadees (four) seen near Eholt by Dennis Graham and five White winged doves counted by Mary Cannon. The normal range for these doves is Mexico! So a long ways from home.

Mary said there were quite a few around during the summer with a few other people also seeing them and five stuck around for the Christmas count.

Unusual sightings included four Townsend solitaires with two being sighted by Pat Uglik near Rock Creek and two by Don Henry near Hulme Creek.

Lorri Harpur sighted the lone Northern Shrike while Norma Howes provided us with beautiful pictures of a Northern saw-whet owl and a Cooper’s hawk, both the lone sightings.

Len and Jean Schmidt observed nine ring-necked ducks.

Ring-necked pheasants which were regular residents at the Harpur ranch along Myers Creek for many years have not been observed for the last six years.

The Chukar partridge rescued by Len and Jean Schmidt on their front porch just north of Midway recovered and joined his brethren on the hillside above their house (likely some gray partridge) but was not sighted during our count period so was not included in the species mix.

Many thanks to everyone who participated. The more people who participate, the better the count.

Full count details are included below: great blue heron-1; mallard-20; common goldeneye-1; common merganzer-12; ring-necked ducks-9; American dipper-13; belted kingfisher-4; nald eagle-50; golden eagle-3;  ferruginous hawk-2; Cooper’s hawk-1; red-tailed hawk-5; kestrel-1; rough-legged hawk-2; northern goshawk-1; northern shrike-1; pygmy owl-11; downy woodpecker-34; hairy woodpecker-36; northern flicker-28; pileated woodpecker-5; grey Jay-39; Stellar’s Jay-49; Clark’s nutcracker-34; magpie-48; crow-80; raven-128; black capped chickadee-190; mountain chickadee-100; red breasted nuthatch-50; winter wren-6; mourning dove-22; Eurasian collard dove-66; ruffed grouse-10; blue grouse-4; California quail-360; wild turkey-128; song sparrow-25; English sparrow-13;  Townsend’s solitaire-4; snow buntings-40; pine grosbeak-10; evening grosbeak;43;  rosy finch-60; purple finch-20; house finch-113; American goldfinch-236; common redpoll 228; pine siskin-226; dark-eyed junco-74; and Starling-71.