Author :
J.B. Churchill
Category :

The 123rd Christmas Bird Count in Maryland and Delaware

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This season’s average low temperature was 34.8° F and the average high was 48.9° F. The season’s lowest temperature was 16° F at South Dorchester (minimum low) and the highest temperature was 68° F during the Bowie count (maximum high). Rehoboth had 54° F (maximum low) and Oakland had the lowest high temperature of 28° F (minimum high). Highest winds were 26 mph E winds on the Jug Bay count. Garrett County Maryland is known for snow. There wasn’t any snow on the ground for any count except for Oakland. They had 1-2” and they were the only count with any precipitating snow (light) during the day. Only South Dorchester reported partly frozen moving water and fully frozen open water, though 10 counts (9 in Maryland and 1 in Delaware) had partly frozen still water.

Highlights were a Pink-footed Goose at the Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook count, an Ash-throated Flycatcher reported from the Catoctin Mountain count, a Harris’s Sparrow on the Chesterville count, a Lazuli Bunting on the Ocean City count, and a Painted Bunting on the Bombay Hook count.

WATERFOWL

Allegany had a Snow Goose (us), while Seaford-Nanticoke had 145 (considered low). Chesterville (1) and Rock Run (cw) each encountered Greater White-fronted Goose. Cape Henlopen – Prime Hook had a Pink-footed Goose. Fourteen Maryland counts and four Delaware Counts had Cackling Geese. Jug Bay had 11 Cackling Geese, and South Dorchester had 5 (both hc).

Bowie had five (hc), Middle River had four (hc), and Annapolis–Gibson Island had two Trumpeter Swans (us; hc). Seaford-Nanticoke had 3500 and Crisfield had 1679 Tundra Swans (both hc). St. Michaels had 123 Wood Ducks (hc). A single Wood Duck at Jug Bay was considered low (but it has been missed). Bombay Hook, Bowie, and Middle River each had a Blue-winged Teal (Ocean City had one for count week). Saint Michael’s had 23 Northern Shovelers (hc). Loch Raven had 98, and Washington County had 26 Gadwall (both hc). Wilmington had 1743, and Loch Raven had 209 Mallards (both hc). At Seaford-Nanticoke, 91 Mallards was low (lc). Loch Raven had 77 American Black Ducks (hc), while on the Southern Dorchester count, 166 was close to the all-time low count of 160 (over 76 counts), Rock Run (2 )was a low count (lc; lowest in all 59 counts), and two was also an all-time low at Seaford-Nanticoke (lc).

Allegany County had two Northern Pintails (hc; 7th occurrence). Loch Raven had 53 Green-winged Teal (hc). Loch Raven had 238 Redheads (hc). At Seaford-Nanticoke, 63 Ring-necked Ducks was considered low. At Middle River 2628 Greater Scaup was a high and for Loch Raven four Greater Scaup was a high count (both hc). Jug Bay only had Greater Scaup for count week (it has been missed before in their extensive count history). Middle River had 944 Lesser Scaup (hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a King Eider (us). Milford had a Harlequin Duck (their 2nd). Middle River had a White-winged Scoter (2nd occurrence). Saint Michaels had 26 Common Goldeneye (lc over all 67 counts). Point Lookout had a Barrow’s Goldeneye for count week.

Middle River had 613, Oakland had 523, Loch Raven had 288, and Denton had 27 Hooded Mergansers (all hc). Loch Raven had 752, and Oakland had 193 Common Mergansers (both hc). Middle River had 28 Red-breasted Mergansers (hc). Elkton had 1105 Ruddy Ducks (hc)

TURKEYS – GREBES – DOVES, HUMMINGBIRDS, RAILS & CRANES

Middle River had nine Wild Turkeys (hc), while Jug Bay only had one (considered low but has been missed). Sugarloaf Mountain had a Red-necked Grebe for count week. Jug Bay had two Clapper Rails (us). Middle River had 319 American Coots (hc) while 77 at Loch Raven was considered low (has been missed).

Loch Raven had only 82 (lc) Rock Pigeons and 88 (lc) Mourning Doves. Middle River had 68 Sandhill Cranes (hc) while Seneca and Rehoboth had them for count week (1st occurrence for Rehoboth).

Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (hc; us) and Ocean City had 1 (us).

ALCIDS, SHOREBIRDS & GULLS

Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had Dovekie and Common Murre for Count Week (both were us and 1st occurrences).

Milford had 43 American Avocets (1st occurrence). Milford also had two Semipalmated Plovers (their 2nd occurrence) and Jug Bay had one for count week (us). Two Killdeer at Oakland was a count high (hc). Jug Bay had 12 Purple Sandpipers (hc). Jug Bay had a Least Sandpiper for count week (us). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 35 American Woodcock (close to the all-time high of 41 for count 104). American Woodcock at Seneca was an unusual species. Point Lookout had 73, and South Dorchester had 50 Wilson’s Snipe (both hc). At Jug Bay, a single Wilson’s Snipe was low (has been missed). Point Lookout had a Spotted Sandpiper (us).

Middle River had 4433 Ring-billed Gulls (hc). Chesterville had 1801 Herring Gulls (hc). Middle River had an Iceland Gull (3rd occurrence over the span of their 8 counts). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 84 and Bombay Hook had five Lesser Black-backed Gulls (both hc). Point Lookout and Chesterville each had a Lesser Black-backed Gull (us; 1st occurrence for both). Ocean City had a Royal Tern (us).

LOONS, GANNETS, & CORMORANTS

Jug Bay had a Northern Gannet for count week. Ocean City had 291 Double-crested Cormorants (hc) and Seneca had 42 (hc).

Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 26 Common Loons (which was high for the count but not an all-time high). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a Brown Pelican (us)

HERONS, EGRETS & NEW WORLD VULTURES

Crisfield had 168 Great Blue Herons (hc). Sugarloaf Mountain had 305, and Oakland had five Black Vultures (all hc). Allegany County had 26, and Oakland had seven Turkey Vultures (both hc).

HAWKS & EAGLES

Sugarloaf Mountain had two Ospreys (2nd occurrence and hc). Rehoboth also had an Osprey (4th occurrence). Allegany County had a Golden Eagle (us; 3rd occurrence) as did Annapolis-Gibson Island (us). Wilmington had 18 (hc) and Middle River had eight Northern Harriers (hc).

Washington County considered a single Sharp-shinned Hawk to be low (though it has been missed). Bombay Hook had 18, Catoctin Mountain had 11, and Oakland had eight Cooper’s Hawks (all hc). Lower Kent had 202, Middle River had 101, Annapolis-Gibson Island had 72, Point Lookout had 45, and Oakland had 16 Bald Eagles (all hc). Loch Raven had 20 Bald Eagles which was a lc in their short 5-year history. Crisfield had 123, Sugarloaf Mountain had 95, Wilmington had 45, Jug Bay had 44, and Ocean City had 24, Salisbury had 21, and Point Lookout had 16 Red-shouldered Hawks (all hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had only 1 (lc). Oakland had 31 and Middle River had 28 Red-tailed Hawks (both hc). Sugarloaf Mountain had 34 Red-tailed Hawks (lc) and at Seaford-Nanticoke, six was close to the all-time low of four from last year’s count.

OWLS, KINGFISHER, WOODPECKERS, FALCONS

South Dorchester had 29 Eastern Screech-Owls (close to the hc of 33 in count 119). Jug Bay had only a single Eastern Screech-Owl (the species has been missed). A single Great Horned Owl was a verified low count (lc) at Seaford-Nanticoke. Point Lookout had five Barred Owls (hc). South Dorchester had a Long-eared Owl (us). Bowie had 41 Belted Kingfishers (hc).

Point Lookout had 26 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (hc). Loch Raven had 11 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (lc). Oakland had three Red-headed Woodpeckers (hc). Oakland had 56 Red-bellied Woodpeckers (hc). At Loch Raven 68 Red-bellied Woodpeckers was a low (lc). Loch Raven had a low of 73 Downy Woodpeckers (lc). Sugarloaf Mountain had 54 and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 18 Hairy Woodpeckers (both hc). Loch Raven had 16 Hairy Woodpeckers for a low (lc). Ocean City had 52 Pileated Woodpeckers (hc) and Chesterville had 33 (hc). Oakland had a high of  fourNorthern Flickers (hc).

Seaford-Nanticoke had five and both Lower Kent and Milford had three Merlins (all hc). Jug Bay had a Merlin (us) and also a Peregrine Falcon (us). Patuxent River had three Peregrine Falcons (hc).

FLYCATCHERS, VIREOS, CORVIDS

Sugarloaf Mountain had 10 Eastern Phoebes (hc). Catoctin Mountain had an Ash-throated Flycatcher (us). Annapolis-Gibson Island (3rd occurrence) and Port Tobacco (2nd occurrence) each had a Blue-headed Vireo (us). Oakland had 216 Blue Jays (hc). Loch Raven’s 76 Blue Jays was low (lc). Ocean City had 999 American Crows (hc). Patuxent River had 23 Fish Crows (hc), while at Loch Raven 508 was a low count (lc). Oakland had 43, Triadelphia had 41, Washington County had 16, Bowie and Sugarloaf Mountain each had 15, Loch Raven had seven Common Ravens (all hc). At Elkton and Port Tobacco (3rd occurrence) Common Ravens are still a bit unusual and two was a high for each (us; hc).

PARIDS, LARK, SWALLOWS, KINGLETS – WRENS

Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a Black-capped Chickadee (us) and a high count of 108 Tufted Titmice (hc). Crisfield had 122 (hc) titmice. Sugarloaf Mountain had a single Horned Lark (lc). Middle River had three Northern Rough-winged Swallows (us; 2nd occurrence). Middle River had 62 Ruby-crowned Kinglet (hc). They also had 85 Golden-crowned Kinglets (hc). Bowie had 96 Red-breasted Nuthatches which was a high number for the count (their all-time high was 276 in count 81). Patuxent River had 57, and Jug Bay had 54 Red-breasted Nuthatches (all hc). Bowie had 286, Saint Michaels had 124, Denton had 42, and Crisfield had 15 White-breasted Nuthatches (all hc). Southern Dorchester had 25 White-breasted Nuthatches which is high for that count (record high is 79). Wilmington had a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (us). Oakland had four Winter Wrens (hc). Sugarloaf Mountain had 517, Crisfield had 314, Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 205 Carolina Wrens (all hc).

STARLINGS, MIMIDS, AND THRUSHES

Annapolis-Gibson Island had 1236 European Starlings (considered low; has been missed) and Milford had 709 (lc). Middle River had 49, and Loch Raven had six Gray Catbirds (both hc). Milford had 27, and Elkton had six Brown Thrashers (both hc). Seneca had 988 Eastern Bluebirds (hc). Seneca had 65 Hermit Thrushes (not all-time hc). Loch Raven had a low count of two Hermit Thrushes (lc). Rock Run had a Wood Thrush (us; 1st occurrence). Loch Raven had a low of 133 American Robins (lc).

WAXWINGS, HOUSE SPARROW, PIPITS, and FINCHES

Loch Raven had three Cedar Waxwings (lc). Port Tobacco had a low of 14 Cedar Waxwings (lc) and Milford had only one (lc). Rock Run had 82 House Sparrows (lc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had an Evening Grosbeak, and one was reported at Seneca as well. Loch Raven had 20 Purple Finches (hc). Ocean City had two and Allegany County had a single Red Crossbill (us). Chesterville had three (hc) and Elkton had a single (2nd occurrence) Lapland Longspur. Triadelphia had a Grasshopper Sparrow (us). Chesterville had 81 Chipping Sparrows (hc). Bowie had a Clay-colored Sparrow (us) which was new for the count (1st occurrence).

Loch Raven had 59, and Oakland had five Field Sparrows (both hc). Annapolis-Gibson Island had 16 Field Sparrows (considered low; has been missed), Bombay Hook had one (lc) and Washington County also only had one Field Sparrow (but the count has missed the species occasionally). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a Lark Sparrow (us). Allegany County had 14 Denton had 13, and the Patuxent River Count had 12 Fox Sparrows (all hc). Oakland had a high of 546 Dark-eyed Juncos (hc). Lower Kent missed White-crowned Sparrow on count day for the first time (lc). Chesterville had a Harris’s Sparrow (us; 1st occurrence). Washington Count had 1927 White-throated Sparrows (hc). Loch Raven had 1103 White-throated Sparrows (lc). Chesterville had a Vesper Sparrow (us; 1st occurrence). Crisfield had 178 Savannah Sparrows (hc). Middle River had 20 Savannah Sparrows (hc). Middle River had 501 (hc) and Loch Raven had 301 (lc) Song Sparrows. Bowie had a Lincoln’s Sparrow (us). Allegany County had 16 Swamp Sparrows (hc). Oakland had an Eastern Towhee (us) and Seneca had 96 (near the high of 98 on count 120).

BLACKBIRDS

Milford had 114 Eastern Meadowlarks (hc). Wilmington had a Baltimore Oriole (us; their 7th). Seneca had only one Rusty Blackbird which has been missed but is on the low side. Loch Raven had a low of three Common Grackles (lc).

WARBLERS

Middle River had a Tennessee Warbler (us). All Delaware counts had an Orange-crowned Warbler (2 at Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook) though considered an unusual species on the Seaford-Nanticoke count (2nd occurrence). Six Maryland Counts encountered Orange-crowned Warblers including six on the Ocean City Count and two at Point Lookout. The other counts having one were Crisfield, Lower Kent, and Triadelphia, and also one for Middle River (cw only). Triadelphia and Wilmington each had a Nashville Warbler (us). Chesterville had a Common Yellowthroat (us). Washington County had a Northern Parula and Middle River had one for count week. Chesterville had a low of seven Yellow-rumped Warblers (lc). Thirteen was low on the Bowie Count where the species has never been missed over 56 counts (record low is 4). At Loch Raven, three Yellow-rumps was considered low and one on the Washington County count (but the species has been missed on both of those counts). Seneca had a Wilson’s Warbler (us; 5th occurrence).

GROSBEAKS AND BUNTINGS

Loch Raven had 260 Northern Cardinals (lc). Ocean City had a Lazuli Bunting (us). Milford had an Indigo Bunting (us). Bombay Hook had a Painted Bunting (us; 2nd occurrence).

 

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