2009 Comox CBC – Pre-count Scouting

I’m leading a group of birders in Area 11 on the Comox Christmas Bird Count (CBC) this year and headed out today to do a pre-count reconnaissance of the area. The last time I birded this territory was back in 2004 with my wife and my mother-in-law. I knew that it had a variety of good birding habitat so when the opportunity came up to lead a team for this area I grabbed it. I figured it would be a pleasant change of scene.

Area 11 is a large, sprawling territory and encompasses old and new subdivisions, farm fields, numerous ponds, a couple of cranberry farms, old second-growth forest, Seal Bay Regional Park, and access to the ocean at Bate’s Beach, Perrey’s Beach, and Seal Bay. I spent most of the early part of the day checking out the subdivisions and the farm fields and the edges of Seal Bay Regional Park. In the late afternoon I did a quick check of the beach accesses.

Much of the land bird activity dropped off noticeably after lunch so my strategy on Sunday is to cover the suburbs and fields as best we can before noon and then spend the afternoon working along the shore to pick up water birds. I’m glad that I spent the day scouting the area because I found a couple of good spots for birds and have a better idea of what streets go where in the maze of rural suburbs. With a late start and an hour and a half break in the middle to do some errands, I didn’t really have enough time today to do the water birds justice. I expect that on Sunday we’ll do a little better on the ocean and hopefully the fields will be a little more lively.

Perrey's Beach - one of the beach access points in Area 11, Comox CBC.
Perrey's Beach - one of the beach access points in Area 11, Comox CBC.

My list for the day was 36 species:

  • Mallard
  • Bufflehead
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Rock Dove
  • Trumpeter Swan (fly-over)
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker (many)
  • Steller’s Jay
  • Common Raven
  • Northwestern Crow
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown Creeper
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • American Robin
  • Varied Thrush
  • Spotted Towhee
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco (many)
  • Fox Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • Purple Finch
  • House Finch
  • Pine Siskin (many)
  • European Starling
  • Common Loon
  • Horned Grebe
  • Pelagic Cormorant
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Surf Scoter
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Killdeer
  • Glaucous-winged Gull