Comox Christmas Bird Count 2009

It’s all over but the owling and I don’t think many of the birders who braved the cold wet day today are up to spending another couple of hours out listing for owls. As I mentioned in my pre-count post, I was the team leader for Area 11 which encompasses a large area of older suburbs, farm fields, second growth forest in Seal Bay Regional Park, and some ocean frontage at Bate’s Beach, Perrey’s Beach and Seal Bay itself. The weather for most of the day was a light misty rain and the majority of birds were located at, or near, feeders.

We did fairly well all things considering and while we didn’t get anything extremely unusual we did get a few nice birds. Unfortunately we made a map reading error and birded a small part of another team’s waterfront – that cost us three species from our overall count but did give our neighbouring team a pair of Wilson’s Snipe. I was also unable to relocate three birds that I picked up on my pre-count reconnaissance.

The top area today was 66 species. Our total count was 47 species, putting us somewhere in the middle of 12 groups. The highlight birds of the day included a Hermit Thrush, a huge flock of 75 Red Crossbills, a large flock of 60 Dark-eyed Juncos, several raptors, 2 Wilson’s Snipe, and a fantastic lunch in Seal Bay at a team members’ house enjoying a well needed cup of bird-friendly coffee while watching birds at her feeders.

Birds seen today included:

  • Trumpeter Swan (14)
  • Mallard (26)
  • Ring-necked Duck (1 – on a pond in a subdivision)
  • Harlequin Duck (62)
  • Surf Scoter (17)
  • Black Scoter (7)
  • Long-tailed Duck (2)
  • Bufflehead (61)
  • Common Goldeneye (7)
  • Hooded Merganser (2)
  • Red-breasted Merganser (58)
  • Pacific Loon (16)
  • Common Loon (13)
  • Horned Grebe (17)
  • Red-necked Grebe (3)
  • Pelagic Cormorant (37)
  • Great Blue Heron (1)
  • Bald Eagle (5)
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (27)
  • Western Gull/Glaucous-winged Gull hybrid (1)
  • Rock Pigeon (5)
  • Downy Woodpecker (3)
  • Hairy Woodpecker (1)
  • Northern Flicker (4)
  • Pileated Woodpecker (3)
  • Steller’s Jay (1)
  • Northwestern Crow (17)
  • Common Raven (4)
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee (16)
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch (7)
  • Bewick’s Wren (2)
  • Winter Wren (1)
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet (5)
  • Hermit Thrush (1)
  • American Robin (5)
  • Varied Thrush (9)
  • European Starling (37)
  • Spotted Towhee (19)
  • Fox Sparrow (7)
  • Song Sparrow (11)
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow (15)
  • Dark-eyed Junco (262)
  • Purple Finch (18)
  • House Finch (40)
  • Red Crossbill (87)
  • Pine Siskin (154)

Birds poached from Area 12:

  • Black Turnstone (10)
  • Dunlin (2)
  • Mew Gull (12)
  • Wilson’s Snipe (2)