2007 Christmas Count Highlights

I have the best of news to report. We finally broke 100 for the Denton Xmas Count! I didn't think it was possible. We got 101 species!! Unbelievable! The planets or whatever must have all been in the proper alignment or something. The weather was certainly better than what had been forecast earlier in the week and with a lot of effort we had a great day.

What made this new record possible is not missing any of the birds that we should get if conditions were good. It's so easy to miss Catbirds, Brown Thrashers, Snipe, Woodcock, and that sort of thing. We didn't see a Great Black-backed Gull and that was the biggest disappointment that comes to mind--we didn't have them last year either. We had a Mute Swan, a Pied-billed Grebe, and a Goldeneye in the count period and with just a tad more good fortune we could have added them to the total.

Here are the good birds we did see: Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, L. Scaup, Hooded Merganser, (missed C. Merganser but they showed up on Tuesday) Golden Eagle (a first for the count), Saw-whet Owl, Pine Siskin, Rusty Blackbird, Red Crossbill, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, Vesper Sparrow, Black-headed Gull and Ross's Goose.

Thanks again to all our counters!

Steve Westre


Possible Important Bird Areas in Caroline County

Wayne Bell reports that Adkins Arboretum and Tuckahoe State Park will qualify as an Audubon IBA due to the number of Prononotary Warblers found there.

I checked in with David Curson, Maryland Audubon Society's Director of Bird Conservation responsible for the Maryland-DC Important Bird Areas Programs. David said he thinks it will.

As for Idyllwild Wildlife Management Area, he thinks that site will also qualify, thanks to the efforts of the Bird Blitzers. Prothonotary warblers and Whip-poor-wills will be the species for which it qualifies. David did a nightjar survey in June and heard 7 whips in one evening so he's sure the actual population would be about twice that.

Species totals from the Bird Blitz done on 27 May2007 at Idyllwild
Primary targets - At-risk species
Prairie Warbler 2
Prothonotary Warbler 11 (also a FIDS)
Worm-eating Warbler 6 (also a FIDS)
Louisiana Waterthrush 4 (also a FIDS)
Wood Thrush 2 (also a FIDS)

Secondary targets - species assemblages
a) Forest interior dwelling species (FIDS)
Red-eyed Vireo 5
Ovenbird 6
Acadian Flycatcher 10
Summer Tanager 2
Pileated Woodpecker 2
(So we saw 9 species of FIDS altogether because 4 of the at-risk species are also FIDS)

b) Shrubland species assemblage
Field Sparrow 2
Eastern Towhee 2
Brown Thrasher 2
White-eyed Vireo 7
(So we saw 5 species of shrub land birds because Prairie Warbler is also in the shrub land assemblage)

They will be reviewing the IBA nomination for Idyllwild at the next IBA Technical Review Committee meeting in a couple of weeks.

What's an IBA? Go to: http://www.audubonmddc.org/SciCon_IBAs.html


Fox Sparrows

Karen Harris of the Talbot Bird Club reported seeing three Fox sparrows in among the White-throated and Song sparrows in the North Meadows field at Adkins Arboretum recently.

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