RESULTS – Morro Bay Christmas Bird Count, Dec 17, 2022

RESULTS – Morro Bay Christmas Bird Count, Dec 17, 2022

The 69th Morro Coast Audubon CBC was held on December 17, 2022 and recorded a total of 200 species, which is slightly above our count average since 1980. We had good weather on Count Day, but a few rainy days before the count left some muddy roads that were closed or inaccessible, including west Cuesta Ridge (home to Mountain Quail and Bell’s Sparrow). Nevertheless, we had good coverage overall with 123 participants (appropriate for the 123rd year of the national Audubon CBC). Our one-day total of 45,349 birds was 5.6% below our count average since 1980.

A few notable species seen on Count Day included Black-necked Stilt (SLO Wastewater Treatment Plant), White-faced Ibis (Foothill Blvd. wetlands), Long-eared Owl (See Canyon), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Old Mission Cemetery), an astounding 31 Lewis’s Woodpeckers (Irish Hills), Tropical Kingbird (Laguna Lake), 18 Mountain Bluebirds (mostly Camp SLO), Tennessee Warbler (Laguna Lake), Palm Warbler (Cerro San Luis Obispo), Yellow Warbler (MBSP Campground), Summer Tanager (SLO), and Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Coon Creek). Our expert team of sea-watchers reported White-winged Scoter, Parasitic Jaeger, Rhinoceros Auklet, Black-vented Shearwaters, and a flyby unidentified Murrelet, to name a few.

Although not countable as a separate species, the unusual Dark-eyed Junco x White-crowned Sparrow (hybrid) first reported in February 2022 at Sweet Springs continued at that location. Because of its rarity, it’s very likely that it will be the only such individual of its kind reported on the entire Audubon CBC! And finally, Count DAY “no-shows” that at least were seen during Count WEEK included Greater White-fronted Goose, Common Goldeneye, Prairie Falcon, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Chipping Sparrow, and Black-and-White Warbler.

Complete results will soon be available on the MCAS and Audubon CBC web pages. Thanks to ALL of the participants, organizers and Area Leaders who contributed to this year’s successful count — it would not happen without you!

Jay Carroll, 2022 Count Compiler

Los Osos