Audubon Christmas bird count reveals new and repeat visitors

Despite cold weather, local club reports good numbers in area

Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010

Thirty-six birders participated in this year's Christmas bird count held in December in the Juneau area. Given the cold weather leading up to the count, the tallied report shows a "respectable" 72 species of birds counted during the day and more than 10,000 birds overall.

Several common species were relatively scarce, such as Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter and Steller's Jay, based on the reported numbers. However, a new high count was reported for one species, the Ring-necked Duck.

Two new species were added to the cumulative count-day list, the Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk and the Willow Ptarmigan. Another species, the Eurasian Collared-Dove, was also new, but found only during the count week.

Other unusual species present in the area included the Gyrfalcon, American Kestrel, Eurasian Wigeon, Long-billed Dowitcher, Northern Flicker, American Pipit and Lincoln's Sparrow. Not all the listed species were seen on the day of the count, but they were seen three days before or after the count. Moreover, a male Barrow's X Common Goldeneye hybrid was located on count day. This bird (presumed to be the same) was first seen by Paul Suchanek in Feb. 2007, and has been seen each winter since.

Juneau birders found an additional eleven species during the official count week but those were not seen on count day. The inclusion of these species with count day information certainly helps round paint a picture of the local avian diversity in early winter.

Organizers would like to thank all the volunteers for donating their day to the count effort and to those who birded during the count week. Also, thanks to Paul Suchanek for organizing the in-town groups, and to Gus van Vliet for tracking count-week birds and overseeing the evening tally (with help from Molly McCafferty). Finally, thanks for all the absolutely tremendous food at the potluck.

• For more information on the Juneau Audubon Society go online to juneau-audubon-society.org.



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