Overall temperatures on most counts were fairly low. The lowest temperature reported was a min of 21F at Chesterville on Maryland’s Eastern Shore on December 22nd. The highest of the high temperatures was 63F at Ocean City, MD on December 28th. The only CBC reporting any snow at all was Oakland with light snow in the pm (heavy rain in the morning). Six counts had heavy rain at some interval (Allegany, Catoctin Mountain, Oakland, Sugarloaf, Washington County, and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook). Cape Henlopen and Sugarloaf Mountain were held on December 29th and the rest of these were held on December 14th, 2019. Four other counts only ever had light rain (Point Lookout, Triadelphia, Milford, and Wilmington).
Some of the key highlights this year were a Pink-footed Goose and a large group of Sandhill Cranes in Delaware, amazing varieties of warblers and some unbelievable numbers too! There was a Western Kingbird, Maryland’s second record of Golden-crowned Sparrow, and a Painted Bunting.
Washington County had a Snow Goose (4th occurrence). Southern Dorchester had two Greater White-fronted Geese (their 11th occurrence). Chesterville had one for count week. Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a Pink-footed Goose. Chesterville had a Greater White-fronted x Canada Goose hybrid. Thirteen Maryland and three Delaware Counts had Cackling Geese: Lower Kent had 34 (hc), Rock Run had 12 (hc), Triadelphia had 11 (hc), Saint Michaels had 10 (hc), Wilmington had seven (hc), Ocean City had four, Annapolis-Gibson Island and Southern Dorchester each had three, Jug Bay had two, and Oakland had one (8th occurrence). In the “Special Aspects” section of the Southern Dorchester Count, Compiler Bruce Peterjohn points out that “Cackling Geese are probably regular on this CBC but are normally overlooked by the participants” and I’d add that this is likely true across the region since they weren’t granted full species status until 2004. Bombay Hook, Bowie, Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook, Loch Raven, and Sugarloaf Mountain each had one. The Bowie Count had two Trumpeter Swans (us). Jug Bay also had one and a hybrid Trumpeter x Tundra Swan. Crisfield had a high count of 732 Tundra Swans.
Two Wood Ducks was a highlight of an abysmally rainy and foggy Allegany Count (10th occurrence). Two at Chesterville was a low count. Triadelphia had a high of 31 Gadwall. Chesterville had only one American Wigeon (lc). At Annapolis-Gibson Island, 24 American Black Ducks was a low count. At Port Tobacco 21 Mallards was an all-time low count. Patuxent River had five Muscovy Ducks (exotic). Sugarloaf Mountain had a Blue-winged Teal for count week. Triadelphia had a count high of 61 American Green-winged Teal.
Southern Dorchester had 1190 Redhead (hc; the count’s all time is 2500!). Cape Henlopen had a King Eider for count week. Milford had 138 Bufflehead, Seaford-Nanticoke had 59, and Chesterville had 30 (all hc). Seneca had 11 Common Goldeneye (a relative high count; highest since 2005 when they had 50). Annapolis-Gibson Island had 34 Common Goldeneye (lc). Chesterville had 235 and Bowie had 217 Hooded Mergansers (hc). Chesterville had a high of 542 Common Mergansers, Southern Dorchester had 343 and inland at the mountainous Oakland Count the high was 90. Seneca had their second highest Common Merganser count of 42. Seven Red-breasted Mergansers was a count high for Chesterville. Saint Michaels had a high of 4768 Ruddy Ducks, Elkton had 800, and Bowie’s high was 126.
TURKEY & QUAIL
Five Counts had all-time or relative high counts of Wild Turkey. Oakland had 150, Sugarloaf Mountain had 76, Cape Henlopen had 75 (not all-time high having had 94 in count 112), Triadelphia had 48, and Loch Raven had four. Chesterville had a Gray Partridge (presumed hunting release).
GREBES – DOVES & HUMMINGBIRDS
Chesterville had two Pied-billed Grebes (considered low). Seneca had a Rufous Hummingbird for count week.
RAILS & CRANES
Jug Bay had a Clapper Rail (1st occurrence). Milford had 24 and Southern Dorchester had 18 (both hc). Milford had eight and Rock Run had four Virginia Rails (both hc). Rock Run had two Sora (hc), Bowie had their 1st, Salisbury had their 7th, and Rehoboth had their 5th. Crisfield had seven (their 17th). Middletown had 14 Sandhill Cranes (hc) and Seneca had three.
Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had an American Avocet and 72 Black-bellied Plover (hc). Two Killdeer on that count was considered a low number. Bombay Hook had a Marbled Godwit and 34 Long-billed Dowitchers was a high count. Triadelphia had 18 Wilson’s Snipe (hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had two “Western” Willets (hc; they also had a Willet on last year’s count).
ALCIDS – GULLS
Rehoboth had the alcid trifecta with a Dovekie (their 5th), two Common Murre’s (1st occurrence), and five Razorbills (8th occurrence). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had four Black-headed Gulls and Point Lookout had one. Seneca had a Laughing Gull (2nd occurrence). Middletown had their first occurrence of Iceland Gull and Wilmington had three, Seaford-Nanticoke had two (not unusual for these counts). Salisbury had seven Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Bombay Hook had four (both hc). Middletown had a Glaucous Gull (1st occurrence). Milford had a count high of 400 Great Black-backed Gulls.
LOONS, GANNETS, PELICANS, & HERONS
Milford had six Common Loons (hc) and Chesterville had their highest so far of two (hc). Milford had 196 Northern Gannets (hc). Bombay Hook’s high was 14. Loch Raven had a Great Cormorant for count week. Seneca had a high count of 16 Double-crested Cormorants and Washington County had one (1st occurrence). Southern Dorchester had 51 American White Pelicans (not an all-time high having had 69 during count 114) and Ocean City had 36 (hc) where nine Brown Pelicans was also a count high. St. Michaels had a Brown Pelican (their 6th) and others occurring elsewhere in the bay seem more common (Patuxent River had their 11th, Point Lookout had 14 for their 17th occurrence). Elkton had their 3rd ever Great Egret.
Rehoboth had four Tricolored Herons and Crisfield had one. Jug Bay had their first Black-crowned Night-Heron. Crisfield had a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (1st occurrence).
VULTURES - HAWKS & EAGLES
High counts of Black Vulture were at Jug Bay (877), Salisbury (873), Annapolis-Gibson Island (341), Lower Kent (236), Seneca (547), and Bombay Hook (132). For Turkey Vultures the all-time high counts were at Salisbury (1421), Seneca (576), and Annapolis-Gibson Island (273).
Saint Michaels had a Golden Eagle again this year and Southern Dorchester and Lower Kent each had one too. Patuxent River had a high of seven Northern Harriers. At Milford, two Sharp-shinned Hawks was a low count. Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a high of 10 Cooper’s Hawks and Patuxent River had five (hc) while one at Sugarloaf Mountain was a low count. Middletown had a Northern Goshawk. All-time count highs for Bald Eagle were at Chesterville (144), Bombay Hook (77), Bowie (73), Middletown (71), Seneca (36), and Catoctin Mountain (12). Chesterville had 22 Red-shouldered Hawks, Wilmington had 16, and Washington County had 13 (all hc). The only Rough-legged Hawk reported across all the Maryland and Delaware counts was at Chesterville.
OWLS & KINGFISHER
Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a Long-eared Owl, with two at Middletown, while Milford and Wilmington each had one. Chesterville had a Short-eared Owl (their 1st). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook, Milford, and Rehoboth each had a Northern Saw-whet Owl. Chesterville had 17 Belted Kingfishers (hc).
Chesterville had 47 and Saint Michaels had 36 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (both hc). Seneca had a near high count of Red-headed Woodpeckers (117; their all-time high is 134). Chesterville had a high of 180 Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Chesterville had 21 and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 15 Pileated Woodpeckers (both hc).
Washington County had two and Middletown had only one American Kestrel (both lc). Bowie had five Merlins (hc) and Denton had a Peregrine Falcon (their 3rd).
SONGBIRDS, FLYCATCHERS, SHRIKES, CORVIDS
Bowie had 19, Chesterville had eight, Milford had five, and Middletown and Wilmington each had three Eastern Phoebes (all hc). Milford had a Western Kingbird (1st occurrence). Catoctin Mountain had a White-eyed Vireo (us; 1st occurrence). A Blue-headed Vireo was a first for the Ocean City Count.
On the Oakland Count, 393 American Crows was a low count as was 342 at Sugarloaf Mountain. Wilmington had 6824 Fish Crow and Bowie had 1029 (both hc). Raven numbers appear to be increasing on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Seneca had 17, Bowie had 14, Triadelphia had nine, Annapolis-Gibson Island had five, and Jug Bay had two Common Ravens (all hc).
CHICKADEES – NUTHATCHES & CREEPER
At Denton, 32 Horned Larks was an all-time low count. At Bowie, 358 Carolina Chickadees was a relatively low count. Point Lookout had only five Carolina Chickadees (lc). At Bowie, 237 Tufted Titmouse was a relative low. Sugarloaf Mountain had 92 and Port Tobacco had 53 Tufted Titmouse. These were both all-time low counts. At Chesterville, 27 White-breasted Nuthatches was a low count. At Crisfield 208 Brown-headed Nuthatches was a count high. Chesterville’s seven and Patuxent River’s one Brown Creeper were low counts.
WRENS – KINGLETS
Denton had a House Wren (us). Seaford-Nanticoke had 24 Winter Wrens (hc) and Sugarloaf Mountain had three (lc). Crisfield had a count high of Sedge Wrens (28; hc). Jug Bay had one (us; their 6th). Crisfield also had a high count of Marsh Wrens (78; hc), Southern Dorchester had a relative high of 44 (all-time was 134 in count 85), Milford had 12 (hc), and Jug Bay had one (their 23rd). Oakland had 25 and Catoctin Mountain had 12 Carolina Wrens (both hc). Middletown and Seneca each had a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (us). Crisfield had 136, Chesterville had 85, Denton had 31, Seaford-Nanticoke had 27, and Milford had 23 Ruby-crowned Kinglets (all hc).
THRUSHES, MIMIDS - FINCHES
Oakland had seven Eastern Bluebirds (hc). Chesterville had 61 Hermit Thrushes (hc). Annapolis-Gibson Island had 23,958 American Robins and Sugarloaf Mountain had 6078 (both hc). Crisfield had 43 Gray Catbirds and Chesterville had 10 (both hc).
Bowie had a near high of 18 Brown Thrashers (all-time hc is 20). Sugarloaf Mountain had 76 Northern Mockingbirds (lc) and 92 on the Annapolis Gibson-Island was considered a low number. A Common Redpoll was reported on the Seneca Count. Only Ocean City and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had Snow Buntings (with counts of 47 and 1 respectively).
Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 115 Chipping Sparrows, while Annapolis-Gibson Island had 94, Bowie had 73, Lower Kent had 39, Middletown had 25 (all hc). Elkton had a relatively high count of 12 Chipping Sparrows. Crisfield reported a Clay-colored Sparrow again (no details available). Chesterville had 233 Field Sparrows (hc). They also had four American Tree Sparrows (hc). A single American Tree Sparrow was found on the Sugarloaf Mountain Count (lc).
Chesterville had 62 Fox Sparrows, and Lower Kent had 47 (both hc), while Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had one (lc). Sugarloaf Mountain had a low count of 396 “Slate-colored” Dark-eyed Juncos. A number of other counts experienced relatively low counts of 637 at Triadelphia where the record low is 36 from several years ago (count 49) and 628 at Annapolis-Gibson Island. These counts (as most in the region) typically see high numbers of the species (e.g. all-time highs of 2561 and 3492 respectively for these two counts). Seneca described their Junco count as the lowest since 1961 having only 502 during this count (highest: 5275 and lowest: 56). Oakland had 14 White-crowned Sparrows (hc) while Sugarloaf Mountain had 27 (lc). Chesterville had a Golden-crowned Sparrow that was at the Washington College grasslands from mid-October until present. It is still being seen as I write this report (the eBird map is showing a record from March 28 as I write this on March 29, 2020). Oakland had 34 White-throated Sparrows (hc). Milford had 347 (lc) and Southern Dorchester had a near low of 89 (record low is 83 from count 51!). Southern Dorchester had a Vesper Sparrow (us). Chesterville had 1,214 Song Sparrows, and Oakland had 114 (both hc). Bowie had a Lincoln’s Sparrow (us; 7th occurrence). Wilmington had 95 and Oakland had 11 Swamp Sparrows (both hc). Wilmington had 161 and Seneca had 98 Eastern Towhees (both hc).
CHAT, BLACKBIRDS, ORIOLES – WARBLERS
Point Lookout had a Yellow-breasted Chat (us). Milford had only one Eastern Meadowlark (lc). Ocean City had a Baltimore Oriole and Sugarloaf Mountain had one for count week. Ocean City and Southern Dorchester each had a Black-and-White Warbler (1st for Ocean City and 2nd for Southern Dorchester). Ten counts had Orange-crowned Warblers. There were three at Ocean City, two each at Bombay Hook, Chesterville, Lower Kent, Middletown, and Rock Run, and one at Jug Bay, Salisbury, Seaford-Nanticoke, and Southern Dorchester. Ten counts had Common Yellowthroats (7 at Southern Dorchester, 3 at Crisfield, 2 at Bombay Hook, Lower Kent, Rock Run, and 1 at Bowie, Jug Bay, Milford, Rehoboth, & Salisbury). Washington County had an American Redstart that had been around for a while (a nice bird on a count having only one Yellow-rumped (“Myrtle”) Warbler). Ocean City had their first Northern Parula, and their first Yellow Warbler. Seaford-Nanticoke had an unprecedented 64 Palm Warblers (multiples found by several separate parties)! Denton had six yellow and six unspecified Palm Warblers (hc) and Southern Dorchester had 11 (hc). Seaford-Nanticoke had 49 Pine Warblers, Bowie had six, Wilmington had five (all hc), and Bombay Hook had one (us). Ocean City had a Prairie Warbler (their 4th) and their 2nd Black-throated Green Warbler (us).
CARDINAL, GROSBEAKS - BUNTINGS
Ocean City had a Painted Bunting. Chesterville had a Blue Grosbeak seen at Mount Harmon (Cecil County) and Rock Run had a Dickcissel.