Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT - Preliminary Results


It will be a while before the count results are compiled, so here is a brief rundown on the results.
Last night at the compilation potluck we tallied 199 species.  There are a few species that still need documentation, which means we may add, but are unlikely to subtract from that total.  Since 1980 the average number of species recorded on the count is 198.6. 
Not a lot of rarities this year, therefore the total is a continuing indication of the variety of habitats found in the circle that includes our jewel, Morro Bay. 

Highlights from last night’s compilation are:
Long-tailed Duck – north of Morro Rock
Black Vulture – first time recorded on count day!
Bald Eagle – recorded on less than ten counts, all recently
Marbled Murrelet – seen from the bluffs at Montana de Oro State Park
Ancient Murrelet – seen from the bluffs at Montana de Oro State Park 
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Santa Rosa Park, San Luis Obispo
Eastern Phoebe – one in the trees at the north end of Pecho Road, and one along SLO Creek between Bianchi Ln and Madonna Rd
Common Raven – recorded on less than tens counts, seems to be increasing in the count circle
Barn Swallow – once unexpected, now a few around most winters
Black-and-white Warbler – one in willows at the Doris Ave marsh adjacent to Cuesta Inlet, Los Osos
Nelson’s Sparrow – one at an unusual location along Quintana Road, Chorro Flats
Grasshopper Sparrow – two in Morro Bay SP east of South Bay Blvd, one in the South Hills Open Space, SLO
Bullock’s Oriole – one at a feeder in Los Osos
Other rare or sometimes missed, but regular species included Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Fulmar, Black-vented Shearwater, Green Heron, Thayer’s Gull, Common Murre, Rhinoceros Auklet, Greater Roadrunner, Spotted Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Yellow-billed Magpie, Wilson’s Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, and Tricolored Blackbird.
Count week continues through Tuesday. We could still use a Western Screech Owl if anyone hears one in the count circle. Other misses in the circle include White-winged Scoter, Mountain Quail, Wandering Tattler, Northern Pygmy Owl, Long-eared Owl, Mountain Bluebird, Nashville, Black-throated Gray, and Hermit Warbler. 
Thanks to everyone that participated and to our very competent team that helped pull this all together.  More to come later when the final numbers are tallied.

Tom Edell
Count Compiler
Cayucos, CA