The 122nd Christmas Bird Count in Maryland and Delaware

Catoctin Mountain had the record minimum low temperature of 12 F for the count season (2 degrees warmer than last year’s minimum low across all counts!). They also had the minimum high temperature (32 F). The highest low temperature was 58 F at Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook (their high was 63 F). The Loch Raven count had the highest high temperature of 65 F. Low temperatures averaged ~39 F and high temperatures averaged ~52 F. The highest winds were at Jug Bay (up to 35 mph), Point Lookout, and Seneca (both up to 30 mph; with minimum winds of 15 at Point Lookout), and St. Michaels close behind with winds up to 28 mph. Seaford Nanticoke was the only count reporting snow-covered ground with depths of 8-12”. Two counts reported light snow precipitation during the count (Jug Bay in the morning and Point Lookout in the afternoon).

Some of the more surprising finds this year in Delaware were yet another Pink-footed Goose (I suppose after three years running at one or another of the seven Delaware Counts, it isn’t that surprising?), a jaeger sp., a Black-legged Kittiwake, Black Skimmer, a Snowy Owl, Ruby-throated, Allen’s, and Calliope hummingbirds, Western Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, a Cape May Warbler, and a Dickcissel. In Maryland, a Little Blue Heron, Northern Shrike, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and several warblers (Tennessee, Nashville, Cape May, Prairie, Wilson’s), Yellow-breasted Chat, Lazuli Bunting, and the one surprising Winter Finch report (Red Crossbill) in a year with the only others being modest showings of Purple Finches (there were 17 counts and 2 cw reports) and Pine Siskins (6 counts plus a count week observation).

Unfortunately, as of the writing of this report, no data has been provided for the Port Tobacco Count (MDPT). I’m using “hc” and “lc” codes in this report to identify “all-time” highs and lows rather than compiler’s or editor’s ideas of what constitutes a high or low count but will also reference those as “near high” or “good number” or “lower than typical” (as examples).


Milford had 145,450 Snow Geese (hc). Bowie had four Greater White-fronted Geese (2nd occurrence), also Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook, and Ocean City each had a Greater White-fronted Goose (us). Bombay Hook and Milford each encountered a Pink-footed Goose (cw for Bombay Hook). Patuxent River had 13 Atlantic Brant - 13 (hc; us). Rock Run had 24 (hc), Lower Kent had 19, Sugarloaf had 14 (hc), and both Ocean City and Triadelphia had six Cackling Geese (not a hc for either count, but a good number). Seven other Maryland Counts, and Middletown in Delaware, had smaller numbers of Cackling Geese. Middle River had four Trumpeter Swans (us), while Bowie had three, and Lower Kent had one. Middle River had 90 Tundra Swans (hc).

Crisfield had 64 (hc), Annapolis Gibson Island had 62 (hc), and Seneca had 36 Wood Ducks (hc). Chesterville has missed Wood Duck but the one tallied was on the low side. South Dorchester had 262 Northern Shovelers (close to the all-time high of 275). Middle River had 668 Gadwall (hc), and Loch Raven had 62 (hc). Middle River 288 American Wigeon (hc). Loch Raven had 178 Mallards (hc). Middle River had 166 American Black Ducks (hc). Ocean City had 988 (hc), and Wilmington had 66 Green-winged Teal (hc).

On the Ocean City Count, 43 Canvasbacks was on the low side and Annapolis-Gibson Island had all-time low of 29 (lc). Rehoboth reported only one Canvasback where it has been missed, but they have also had as many as 10,000 (on count 60). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had only eight Greater Scaup which is considered low (has been missed) and Rehoboth had only one Greater Scaup (lc). Milford had a Harlequin Duck (1st occurrence). On the Oakland Count, six Surf Scoters and four White-winged Scoters were both all-time highs (hc). Oakland had nine Long-tailed Ducks (hc). Seneca had one Long-tailed Duck (us). Seneca had 322, and Milford had 153 Bufflehead (both hc). Counts of Common Goldeneye were low on a few counts. St. Michaels had 37 (lowest in 66 counts; lc), Annapolis-Gibson Island had five (lc), Lower Kent had 30 (lc; lowest in 63 counts), and Crisfield had only one (but has probably been missed entirely only twice in 55 counts). Oakland had 440 (hc), Rock Run had 427 (hc), and Middle River had 351 (hc) Hooded Mergansers. Oakland had 169 Common Mergansers (hc), and Seneca had 71 (hc). Oakland had 871 Red-breasted Mergansers (hc) Seneca had Red-breasted Merganser for count week (us). Middle River had a high count of 6359 Ruddy Ducks (hc).


Bombay Hook had 75 Pied-billed Grebes (hc). Crisfield had 706 (hc) and Chesterville had 348 (hc), and Oakland had 135 Rock Pigeons (hc). Seaford-Nanticoke had 99 Rock Pigeons (lc; lowest in 39 counts). Chesterville had 787 Mourning Doves (hc).

Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook and Miflord each had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (us). Seneca had a Rufous Hummingbird 1 (us). Wilmington reported an Allen’s Hummingbird and a Calliope Hummingbird (both banded; both us).


Southern Dorchester had 11 King Rails (near high; All-time high was 32 in count 75). Milford had 26 (hc) Clapper Rails. Jug Bay had two Clapper Rails (us). Middle River had 13 Virginia Rails (hc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had a Sora (us; 5th occurrence). Middle River had 311 American Coots (hc). A single American Coot was considered low at Seneca (though it has been missed several times). Middle River had 38 Sandhill Cranes (not a count high), and Middletown had 20 (hc). Jug Bay had two Sandhill Cranes (us).


Milford had an American Oystercatcher (2nd occurrence). Jug Bay had a Black-bellied Plover and Semipalmated Plover (both us). Milford had 180 Sanderlings (hc). Jug Bay had 33 (hc; us), and Lower Kent had five Least Sandpipers (hc; us). Elkton had four American Woodcocks (hc). An American Woodcock was also encountered on the Seneca Count (us).  Crisfield had 40 (hc), and Patuxent River had seven Wilson’s Snipe (hc). Bombay Hook had 77, and Salisbury had 21 Greater Yellowlegs (both hc). Bombay Hook had 39 Long-billed Dowitchers (hc).


Rehoboth had a Black-legged Kittiwake (us). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had a jaeger sp. (us; 2nd occurrence). Loch Raven had a Bonaparte’s Gull (us), and Seneca had one for count week (us). Point Lookout had a Black-headed Gull (us), Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had two. Rehoboth had 14 Laughing Gulls (hc). Loch Raven had 490 Ring-billed Gulls (hc). Milford had 991 Ring-billed Gulls (lc lowest in 20 occurrences). Rehoboth had 17 (hc), and Jug Bay had three Lesser Black-backed Gulls (hc). Chesterville had 353 Herring Gulls (hc). Wilmington had an Iceland Gull (the only count in either state this year to find one). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook, Seaford-Nanticoke, and Wilmington each had a Glaucous Gull (us). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 621 Great Black-backed Gulls (hc). Middle River had only 28 Great Black-backed Gulls (lc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had a Black Skimmer (us).


Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 431 Red-throated Loons (hc) and Milford had 111 (hc). Milford had 23 Common Loons (hc). Bombay Hook had 209 Northern Gannets (hc). Crisfield had a Northern Gannett (their 11th). Point Lookout had 19 Great Cormorants (hc) and 242 Double-crested Cormorants (hc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 760 (hc), and Middle River had 90 Double-crested Cormorants (lc). Ocean City and South Dorchester continue to host American White Pelicans (19 and 31 respectively) and this year Point Lookout had one for count week. Ocean City had 17 Brown Pelicans (hc). Oakland had eight Great Blue Herons (hc). Bombay Hook had 104 (hc), Middle River had three (hc), and Patuxent River had two (us; hc; 2nd occurrence) Great Egrets. Annapolis-Gibson Island also had a Great Egret (us). Crisfield had a Little Blue Heron (their 10th).


Seneca had 665 (hc), Chesterville had 400 (hc), Crisfield had 271 (hc), and Elkton had 171 Black Vultures (hc). Seneca had 647 (hc), and Jug Bay had 538 Turkey Vultures (hc). Annapolis-Gibson Island had 2 Osprey’s (10th occurrence). Loch Raven had 15 Cooper’s Hawks (hc). Ocean City had 177 (hc), Crisfield had 154 (hc), Milford had 136 (hc), St. Michaels had 124 (hc), Denton had 89 (hc), and Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 59 (near high) Bald Eagles. Sugarloaf Mountain had 84, Catoctin Mountain had 35, Patuxent River had 31, Crisfield had 18, Salisbury had 17, and Milford had nine Red-shouldered Hawks (all hc) while at Loch Raven 23 was an all-time low (lc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had five which (to me) seemed like a surprising all-time high (hc). Seaford-Nanticoke had only four Red-tailed Hawks (lc; lowest in 39 counts). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook, Oakland, and South Dorchester each had a Rough-legged Hawk. Ocean City had one for count week.


Denton had 24 Eastern Screech-Owls (hc). Seaford-Nanticoke had a single Eastern Screech-Owl (lc). Seaford-Nanticoke also had only one Great Horned Owl (lc). Middletown had a Snowy Owl (us). Bowie had 26 Barred Owls (hc). Salisbury had three Short-eared Owls (hc). Milford had three (hc) and Jug Bay had two Northern Saw-whet Owls (hc; us). Oakland had 10 Belted Kingfishers (hc).


Seneca had 177, Bowie had 96, Triadelphia had 82, Crisfield had 35, and Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 14 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (all hc). Southern Dorchester had 11 Red-headed Woodpeckers (hc). Wilmington had 227 (hc), Catoctin Mountain had 216 (hc), and Chesterville had 185 Red-bellied Woodpeckers (hc). Chesterville had 121 Downy Woodpeckers (hc). Loch Raven had 83 Downy Woodpeckers (lc). Wilmington had 61 (hc), Chesterville had 42 Hairy Woodpeckers (hc). Bowie had 125, Triadelphia had 110, Annapolis-Gibson Island had 61, Crisfield had 47, Wilmington had 43, Chesterville had 31, and Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 20 Pileated Woodpeckers (all hc). Sugarloaf Mountain had 236 Northern Flickers (hc).


Two American Kestrels at Southern Dorchester, and one at Rock Run was very low (have historically been missed only a few times on these counts). Crisfield and Wilmington each had six (both hc), and Bowie and Loch Raven each had five (both hc), and Rehoboth had four (hc) Merlins. Oakland also had a Merlin (us; 1st occurrence). Bowie and Seneca each had two Peregrine Falcons (both hc).



Triadelphia had a Northern Shrike (us). Chesterville had 11, Sugarloaf Mountain had 10, Point Lookout had eight, and Annapolis-Gibson Island had seven Eastern Phoebes (all hc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had a Western Kingbird (us). Milford had a White-eyed Vireo (us). Ocean City had five Blue-headed Vireos (hc; us) and they appeared on many other counts this year. Annapolis-Gibson Island, Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook, Southern Dorchester, and Point Lookout (cw) each had a Blue-headed Vireo (us; 1st occurrence for Southern Dorchester).

Loch Raven had 259 Blue Jays (hc) while 26 at Seaford-Nanticoke was a low (lc). Seaford-Nanticoke had 48 American Crows (lc). Loch Raven had 196 (hc), Milford had 55 (hc), and Middle River had 22 Fish Crows (lc). Triadelphia had 20 Common Ravens (hc), Annapolis-Gibson Island had five Common Ravens (hc), and all the way down in Delaware, Middletown  had two Common Ravens (us).


The Allegany Count had a Carolina Chickadee (singing the “fee-bee-fee-bay” song) in the Southern part of the count circle (in WV). Chesterville had 344 Carolina Chickadees (hc). Oakland had 457 Black-capped Chickadees (hc). Oakland had 184 Tufted Titmice (hc) while 28 at Seaford-Nanticoke was a low (lc). Loch Raven had five Horned Larks (hc). Middle River had a good representation of swallows (all well documented). Not just a Tree Swallow (us) but a Northern Rough-winged (us) and Barn swallow (us) as well. Chesterville had 90 Golden-crowned Kinglets (hc). Chesterville had 123 (hc), Patuxent River and Wilmington each had 48 Ruby-crowned Kinglets (hc for both). Triadelphia had 308 (hc), and Oakland had 137 White-breasted Nuthatches (hc). Chesterville had 51 (hc), and Oakland had 26 Brown Creepers (hc). At Rock Run, two Brown Creepers was a low count (lc; lowest in 58 counts). Southern Dorchester had a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1; us; 4th occurrence). Bowie and Sugarloaf Mountain each had four House Wrens, and Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had two (all hc). Jug Bay had one House Wren (us). Chesterville had 42 Winter Wrens (hc), and Wilmington had 33 (hc). Middle River, Middletown, and Wilmington each had a Sedge Wren (us; 1st occurrence for all 3 counts). Crisfield had 114 Marsh Wrens (hc), Milford had 17 (hc), and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had eight (hc). Bowie had 754 (hc), Sugarloaf Mountain had 500 (hc), Catoctin Mountain had 201 (hc), and Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 190 Carolina Wrens (hc).


Seaford-Nanticoke had 692 and Loch Raven had 682 European Starlings (both lc).  Milford had 31 (hc), Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 21 (hc), and Chesterville had 20 Gray Catbirds (hc). Milford had 17 (hc), Elkton and Loch Raven each had five (both hc) and Sugarloaf Mountain had three Brown Thrashers (hc). Triadelphia had 617 (hc), Annapolis-Gibson Island had 460 (hc), Chesterville had 310 (hc), Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 176 (hc), and Oakland had 49 Eastern Bluebirds (hc). Chesterville had 123, Triadelphia had 103, Sugarloaf Mountain had 57, Rock Run had 33, and Catoctin Mountain had 15 Hermit Thrushes (all hc). Wilmington had 3725 (hc), and Oakland had 26 American Robins (hc). Oakland had 124 Cedar Waxwings (hc). Elkton had 38 House Sparrows (lc; lowest in 57 counts). Oakland had 9 Red Crossbills (us). Loch Raven had 61 (lc), and Elkton had only 10, and Seaford-Nanticoke only three American Goldfinches (both lc).


Washington County (us; 1st occurrence) and Ocean City (us; 4th occurrence) each had a Grasshopper Sparrow. Several Counts had higher than normal numbers of Chipping Sparrows. Ocean City had 555 Chipping Sparrows (close to the all-time high of 599). Point Lookout had 110, Jug Bay had 92, Seneca had 81, Sugarloaf Mountain had 65, Lower Kent had 63, Rock Run had 33, and Patuxent River had 32 Chipping Sparrows (all hc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 59 Chipping Sparrows where it was a high count (all time high is 115 during count 120). Five Chipping Sparrows at Loch Raven was a count low (lc). Chesterville had 432 Field Sparrows (hc). Loch Raven had 31 Field Sparrows (lc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 71, and Wilmington had 54 Fox Sparrows (both hc). Southern Dorchester had 25 Dark-eyed Junco (was considered low). Oakland had 58 White-crowned Sparrows (hc). Chesterville had a Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrow. Chesterville had 3184, Wilmington had 2517, and Oakland had a high count of 48 White-throated Sparrows (all 3 hc). Milford had 210 (hc) Savannah Sparrows. Chesterville had 1981 Song Sparrows (hc). Chesterville had two Lincoln’s Sparrows (hc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 287 Swamp Sparrows (high but not all-time hc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 67 (hc), Sugarloaf Mountain had 59 (hc), Catoctin Mountain had 22 (hc), and Washington County had four Eastern Towhees (hc). Ocean City had a Yellow-breasted Chat (us).


Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had 288 Eastern Meadowlarks (higher number than usual). Milford had 110 (hc), Loch Raven had 17 Eastern Meadowlarks (hc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook, Denton, Lower Kent, Triadelphia (us; 8th occurrence), and Wilmington each had a Baltimore Oriole (us). Annapolis Gibson Island had a Baltimore Oriole for count week. Middle River had 4594 (hc), and Oakland had 321 Red-winged Blackbirds (hc). Jug Bay had 3605 (hc), Chesterville had 703 (hc), and Patuxent River had 454 (hc), and Loch Raven had 199 Brown-headed Cowbirds (hc). Cape Henlopen - Prime Hook had only seven Brown-headed Cowbirds (close to the all-time low of 4 in 58 counts). Lower Kent had 10 Common Grackles (lc).

Chesterville had a Tennessee Warbler (us). Chesterville also had an abnormally high count of 35 Palm Warblers (21 Yellow; 13 Western; 1 undetermined). Catoctin Mountain had 66 Yellow-rumped Warblers (hc). Ocean City had 10 Orange-crowned Warblers (not an all-time count high). Middle River had three Orange-crowned Warblers (hc). Annapolis-Gibson Island had an Orange-crowned Warbler (of note; 9th) and one each Palm and Pine. Chesterville, Rock Run, and Seneca also each had an Orange-crowned Warbler. Point Lookout had an Orange-crowned Warbler for count week. Middle River had a Nashville Warbler (us). Middle River had a Common Yellowthroat (us). Middletown and the Sugarloaf Mountain Count each had a Cape May Warbler (us). Middle River had two Palm Warblers (hc). Ocean City had a Prairie Warbler (us). Point Lookout had a Wilson’s Warbler (us; cw).

Denton had 506 Northern Cardinals (hc). Seaford-Nanticoke had 68 Northern Cardinals (lc). Loch Raven had a Lazuli Bunting (us).