The 121st Christmas Bird Count in Maryland and Delaware

The minimum low temperature was 10 F at Catoctin Mountain. The highest low temperature was 53 F at Seaford-Nanticoke (their high only got to 55 F). The maximum high temperature was 57 F at Rehoboth. The minimum high was 29 F at Rock Run. The counts run in early January averaged slightly higher temperatures (average low to average high was 33.71 – 45.29 F) and lowest in the earliest dates of the count period. Looking at 12/19 and 12/20 as a group (n=16), average low to average high was 20.7 to 40.7 F. Maximum snow depth was 6-10 inches and all in the earlier part of December. Only Point Lookout had any snow precipitation listed during the count (in the morning). Twelve Maryland counts and two Delaware Counts had some measure of rain at some point during the day.

Avian highlights in Delaware this year were another Pink-footed Goose along with White Ibis, and a Townsend’s Solitaire. Maryland had King Eiders (3 of them), and the returning Barrow’s Goldeneye. Both states had Eared Grebe. In Maryland both a Western Grebe and a Western/Clark’s Grebe (not officially determined as of yet) made a visit. Both states also had Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Maryland had a Rufous Hummingbird. A few interesting warblers were found including a Yellow-throated, and a Black-and-white Warbler. It was a good year for the winter finches with numbers of Red Crossbill and Evening Grosbeak reports and a Common Redpoll here or there with regular pushes of Pine Siskins and Purple Finches.

WATERFOWL

Seaford-Nanticoke had a low count of 53 Snow Geese. Lower Kent County had three, and Seneca had a single Ross’s Goose (us). Triadelphia had eight (not all-time hc). Lower Kent County had six Greater White-fronted Geese (hc; 3 separate pairs), Bowie had four (hc, us) and St. Michaels had three (hc). Lower Kent County had 29 Cackling Geese (not even an all-time high! but close to their hc of 34). Jug Bay had six, Elkton had five (both hc). Rock Run, Seneca, and Southern Dorchester each had three. Chesterville, Oakland, and Patuxent River each had two. Annapolis-Gibson Island, Bowie, Bombay Hook, Denton, Milford, Point Lookout, Seaford-Nanticoke, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Wilmington each had one. Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had one for count week (cw). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a Pink-footed Goose again this year. Bowie had 15,656 Canada Geese (close to their all-time high of 16,044). Lower Kent County had a Snow x Canada Goose hybrid.

Trumpeter Swans are apparently becoming fairly common. Jug Bay had 10 (hc), South Dorchester had four, Bowie had three, and Loch Raven had one. Patuxent River had 27 Tundra Swans (which is low for that count).

Ocean City had an all-time high of 75 Wood Ducks and 54 at South Dorchester was also high number for that count. Bowie had two Blue-winged Teal (us). South Dorchester had 275 Northern Shovelers (hc) and Annapolis-Gibson Island had 29 (hc). Ocean City had 362 Gadwall (hc; record all-time high is 407 from count 115). Wilmington had 272, and Bowie and Seneca each had 60 (hc). Seaford-Nanticoke had six American Black Duck (lc). Wilmington had 41 Green-winged Teal (hc).

Rock Run had 232 Redheads (hc). South Dorchester had higher than usual numbers of Ring-necked Ducks (461) though this was not an all-time hc. Jug Bay had 233 (hc). Oakland had 14 Greater Scaup (hc). The Loch Raven count had a Redhead x scaup sp. hybrid. Rehoboth had 31 Common Eiders (hc).  Oakland had two White-winged Scoters and five Long-tailed Ducks (hc).  Lower Kent had 246 Surf Scoters (hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 56 Long-tailed Ducks (close to their hc of 75 from count 114). Oakland had 206 Bufflehead, Milford had 139, and Washington County had seven (hc). Chesterville had a low count of only one Bufflehead. Common Goldeneye numbers were down at the Patuxent River Count (42) and Point Lookout had a Barrow’s Goldeneye again (cw).

Bombay Hook had 389, and Bowie had 254 Hooded Mergansers (hc). South Dorchester had 148 (high numbers). Chesterville had 648 Common Mergansers, and Oakland had 107 (hc). Triadelphia had 13 Red-breasted Mergansers (hc). Rock Run had a high of 4253 and Seaford-Nanticoke had 260 Ruddy Ducks (hc) while a count of 290 was an all-time low for the Patuxent River count (lc).

TURKEY & QUAIL

Bowie had 62 Wild Turkey and Point Lookout had 61 (hc).

GREBES – DOVES & HUMMINGBIRDS

Bombay Hook had 40 and Patuxent River had nine Pied-billed Grebes (hc). Loch Raven had a Red-necked Grebe (us). Rehoboth had and Eared Grebe and Saint Michaels had one for Count Week. Loch Raven had a Western Grebe and a potential hybrid Clarks x Western Grebe.

Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook, Milford, and Ocean City (us; 4th occurrence) each had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Port Tobacco had a Rufous Hummingbird.

RAILS & CRANES

Jug Bay had 14 Virginia Rails (hc). Saint Michaels and South Dorchester each had a Sora (us). Middletown had 16 (hc and 2nd occurrence), Catoctin Mountain had 40, Middle River had 58 (hc), and Seneca had two Sandhill Cranes.

SHOREBIRDS

Saint Michaels had an American Avocet (cw). Milford had 257 Black-bellied Plover (hc). Ocean City had two Semipalmated Plover (us). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 153 Killdeer (a high number but the all-time high for the count is 306 from count 98). Bombay Hook had four Marbled Godwits (us; and hc). At Ocean City seven Ruddy Turnstones was low (though the species has been missed historically). Jug Bay had a Purple Sandpiper (cw). Ocean City had a high of 5502 Dunlin (hc). Bombay Hook had a Western Sandpiper.

ALCIDS – GULLS

Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 35 Razorbills (their all-time high is 354). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had two Black-headed Gulls. Port Tobacco had 125 Laughing Gulls (hc). Saint Michaels had an Iceland Gull (the count's first ever). Rock Run had two Glaucous Gulls (hc). Seaford-Nanticoke had a Herring x Glaucous Gull. Wilmington had 5765, Patuxent River had 639, and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 607 Great Black-backed Gulls (all hc). Ocean City had 421 Forster’s Terns (hc but not all-time which was 1100 from count 102). They also had seven Royal Terns (hc and us; 4th occurrence).

LOONS, GANNETS, PELICANS, & HERONS

Patuxent River had nine Great Cormorants (hc) and 1840 Double-crested Cormorants (hc). Lower Kent 1655 Double-crested Cormorants (hc) and Ocean City had 171 (hc). Ocean City had 66 American White Pelicans (hc) and South Dorchester continues to get them as well (only 1 on this year’s count). Patuxent River had 121 (near hc). Patuxent River had a Great White Heron (cw). Lower Kent had two Great Egrets (us and hc) and Middle River also had two (us). Bombay Hook had a Cattle Egret (us; their 2nd). Ocean City had two Green Herons (us - hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a White Ibis (us).

VULTURES - HAWKS & EAGLES

Chesterville had 374 Black Vultures (hc). Southern Dorchester had 161 (all time hc). Patuxent River was the only count to have an Osprey (us). Lower Kent had a Golden Eagle (as did South Dorchester). Triadelphia had 21 Northern Harriers (hc). Chesterville had 17, Sugarloaf Mountain had 11, and Patuxent River had five Cooper’s Hawks (all all-time hc). Seneca had 18 Cooper’s Hawk (near to the high of 19 in count 110). At Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook, nine Cooper’s Hawks was near to the high of 10 from last year. Crisfield had 143, and Milford had 97 Bald Eagles (both hc). Red-shouldered Hawks were all-time highs for several counts (Triadelphia had 89, Rock Run had 32, Port Tobacco and Wilmington each had 31, Catoctin Mountain had 30, Chesterville had 27, Ocean City had 21, and Elkton had 13). Bombay Hook had a Rough-legged Hawk (67th occurrence).

OWLS

Bowie had 10 Great Horned Owls (the all-time high is 25 but 10 is still good), Seaford-Nanticoke had only one (lc ). South Dorchester had nine Barred Owls (hc). Ocean City had five (hc), Bombay Hook had two, and Bowie had a single Northern Saw-whet Owl (us). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a Snowy Owl for count week.

WOODPECKERS

Bowie had 88 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (not quite their all-time of 94 but still a very good number). Triadelphia had 57, Patuxent River had 41, Elkton and Washington County each had 25, and Crisfield had 22 (all hc). Wilmington had 38 Red-bellied Woodpeckers (hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook’s count of seven was near their high of nine from Count 119. Chesterville had 88 Downy Woodpeckers (hc). Bowie had 88 Pileated Woodpeckers (near the all-time of 90). Wilmington had 38 Pileated Woodpeckers and Chesterville had 27 Pileated Woodpeckers (both hc).

FALCONS

Triadelphia had six Merlin (hc), Catoctin Mountain and Jug Bay each had one (us). Bowie also had a Merlin (cw). Crisfield had three Peregrine Falcons (hc), Bowie had two, and Jug Bay had one (us).

SONGBIRDS

FLYCATCHERS, SHRIKES, & CORVIDS

Crisfield had 22 Eastern Phoebes (very close to the all-time high of 23). Crisfield had a White-eyed Vireo (us). Chesterville had 190 American Crows (hc). Seneca had 19, Triadelphia had 16, Washington County and Wilmington each had eight, and Jug Bay had four Common Ravens (all hc).

CHICKADEES – NUTHATCHES, CREEPER, & WRENS

Washington County had 594 Horned Larks (hc). South Dorchester had 144 Tree Swallows (not an all-time high, but good numbers). Saint Michaels had 170 Red-breasted Nuthatches (hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 19 White-breasted Nuthatches (near the high of 24 from count 119), and Crisfield had 13 (hc). Point Lookout had 60 Brown-headed Nuthatches and South Dorchester had 231 (high numbers but not an all-time high). Seneca had a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (us). Seneca had three House Wrens (hc). Seaford-Nanticoke had 25 Winter Wrens (hc) and Saint Michaels had 17 (near to the hc of 19). Wilmington had two Marsh Wrens (2nd occurrence). Sugarloaf Mountain had 478, Chesterville had 282, and Jug Bay had 47 Carolina Wrens (all hc). Annapolis-Gibson Island had 611 Carolina Wrens (a high number for the count; all-time hc was 683).

THRUSHES, MIMIDS - FINCHES

Bowie had 18 Gray Catbirds (near to the all-time high of 22). Washington County had three (hc). Bowie had 24, and Wilmington had four Brown Thrashers (both hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a Townsend’s Solitaire (us). Bowie had 167 Hermit Thrushes (all-time high is 168), Triadelphia had 78 (hc), and Catoctin Mountain had 11 (hc). Catoctin Mountain had 1649 American Robins (hc). Lower Kent had 523,

Seneca had 426, and Triadelphia had 359 American Pipits (all hc).

Washington County had 30 House Finches (lc). Southern Dorchester had only two House Finches (low but not all-time low). Seneca had 22 Common Redpolls (hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had one, Triadelphia had one, and Oakland had one for count week. Red Crossbills were counted at nine counts [Bowie (1), Jug Bay (cw), Lower Kent (1), Ocean City (3), Point Lookout (8), Southern Dorchester (5), Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook (18), Milford (4), Rehoboth (3)]. Pine Siskins occurred at 24 out of 25 Maryland Counts and five out of seven Delaware counts. Lapland Longspur occurred at eight counts [Catoctin Mountain (1), Chesterville (2), Jug Bay (2), Point Lookout (cw), Rock Run (cw), Seneca (cw), Bombay Hook (2), and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook (3)]. Snow Buntings were at Seneca (1), Bombay Hook (1), and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook (76).

SPARROWS

Triadelphia had 43 Chipping Sparrows (hc). Milford, Ocean City, and Sugarloaf Mountain each had one Clay-colored Sparrow (us). Triadelphia had 3659 Dark-eyed Juncos and Catoctin Mountain had 1715 (both hc). Lower Kent had only three White-crowned Sparrows (lc). Chesterville had 382 White-crowned Sparrows (hc) including a single Gambel’s race.

Bowie had 5132 White-throated Sparrows (not all-time hc of 5172). Triadelphia had 4070, Sugarloaf Mountain had 2517, Catoctin Mountain had 1682, and Allegany had 453 White-throated Sparrows (all hc).  South Dorchester had only 71 White-throated Sparrows (lc). Jug Bay had a Vesper Sparrow (us).

Seaford-Nanticoke had 255, and Sugarloaf Mountain had 31 Savannah Sparrows (both hc). Oakland had six Savannah Sparrows (us). Chesterville had 1228 Song Sparrows (hc). Bowie, Chesterville, Milford (us; first occurrence), Oakland, and Wilmington (2nd occurrence) each had one Lincoln’s Sparrow (us), and Ocean City had two (all hc). Lower Kent had 436, Bowie had 335, Chesterville had 206, and Patuxent River had 52 Swamp Sparrows (all hc).

CHAT, BLACKBIRDS, ORIOLES – WARBLERS

Wilmington had a Yellow-breasted Chat (3rd occurrence). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had one (us), Middletown (1; us; 3rd occurrence), and Triadelphia (us; their 7th) had a single Baltimore Oriole. Denton had a Baltimore Oriole for count week (us).

Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 816 Red-winged Blackbirds (a low number for this count) and they also had only four Brown-headed Cowbirds (lc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 20 and South Dorchester had 68 Common Grackles (both counts were fewer than typical).

Annapolis-Gibson Island had a Black-and-white Warbler (us). Ocean City had six Orange-crowned Warblers (hc) and Bowie had one Orange-crowned Warbler (us). Annapolis-Gibson Island had an Orange-crowned Warbler for count week. South Dorchester had 18 Palm Warblers (hc). Patuxent River had three Palm Warblers (hc). Ocean City had a Yellow-throated Warbler (us). Bowie had only 12 Yellow-rumped Warblers (low; near to the all-time lc of 4).

 

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