2008-2009 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT RESULTS BY AREA SACRAMENTO December 27 – Compiler Mark Cudney reported, “The Sacramento Christmas Count results are in! 162 species–one shy of the all-time record set last year. This is one of the highest inland count totals in the country. Weather was clear in the morning-partly cloudy in the afternoon. ‘You gotta be kidding birds’ included single individual Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Vaux Swift, Iceland Gull, Western Gull, Marbled Godwit, and Red-breasted Merganser.Birds seldom seen previously included Blue-winged Teal (20), Horned Grebe (1), Bald and Golden Eagle (1 each), Peregrine Falcon (6), Pacific Golden Plover (1), Hutton’s Vireo (1), Brown Creeper (2), Violet-green Swallow (2), Golden-crowned Kinglet (5), Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (1), Black-throated Gray Warbler (1), Townsend’s Warbler (1), Purple Finch (1), and Pine Siskin (22). Big misses included Ring-necked Duck and Spotted Sandpiper (ugh), Ferruginous Hawk, Osprey, Western Screech-Owl, and Phainopepla. An excellent job by all who participated.” FOLSOM January 4 – Compiler Chris Conard reported, “We had a very successful Folsom CBC, with near-perfect weather–okay, it was a little cold, but this is winter, after all. The 70+ participants tallied a preliminary new record of 147 species (143 last year tied the previous high). The following is tentative, without a careful review of all of the data sheets. “Notable reports included six Cackling Geese, one Green-winged Teal (easy to miss on this count), one Cinnamon Teal (easy to miss), one Black-crowned Night-Heron (easy to miss), both eagles, Ferruginous Hawk, four Rough-legged Hawks, Peregrine Falcon (reported by three parties–used to be tough to find on this count), 15,000 gulls (down from 70,000 last year) including one Mew Gull, 20+ Thayer’s, one adult Western Gull at Folsom Point, one first cycle Glaucous Gull at Beals Point, one Band-tailed Pigeon at Folsom Lake Peninsula (the first since 1994), one Western Screech-Owl, three Burrowing Owls, moderate numbers of Lewis’s Woodpeckers (Scott Rd and private property, a few elsewhere), several Hairy Woodpeckers, two Steller’s Jays (one at Folsom Lake Peninsula, and one along the west side of Lake Natoma), Yellow-billed Magpie (apparently up slightly), two Common Ravens (amazingly, only the third count record), Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Canyon Wren (Beek’s Bight–9th count record and the first in several years), Golden-crowned Kinglet (one near Cameron Park), Varied Thrush, California Thrasher, two Common Yellowthroats (easy to miss–only the 6th or 7th count record), two Slate-colored Juncos, Tricolored Blackbird, Purple Finch, Red Crossbills (Folsom), Pine Siskin (fewer than 10), and five Lawrence’s Goldfinches (Sweetwater Creek area). “Notable misses are relatively few--hence the good count total: both white geese, Tundra Swan (reported count week), Ring-necked Pheasant, Pacific Loon, American Bittern, Brown Creeper, American Dipper, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Mountain Bluebird, Vesper Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow.” “Thanks to all who participated, with extra thanks to the area leaders and sub-area leaders. Each year our coverage gets a little better, and without your help, this wouldn’t be possible.” LINCOLN December 30 – Compiler Ed Pandolfino reported, “Sixty-three participants braved thick morning fog to complete the seventh Lincoln Christmas Bird Count.We tallied 138 species, our second-highest total and counted over 120,000 individuals, also our second highest total. Although the numbers of waterfowl were down (geese in particular), we more than made up for that with blackbirds. We counted over 60,000 total blackbirds with Brewer’s accounting for over 26,000 and Red-wings another 18,000+. Most of these were asso-ciated with dairy operations southwest of Lincoln. These same dairy farms accounted for our new record number of European Starlings–over 9,000. “Our total of 10 Varied Thrushes was a new high count for Lincoln as was the 1700+ Mourning Dove total. Bucking the trend for other waterfowl, we set a new high for Northern Pintails with well over 6,000 in the flooded rice fields west of Lincoln.“Of continuing concern, we tallied only 50 Yellow-billed Magpies, a new low. Prior to the West Nile Virus outbreak in summer of 2005, the Lincoln CBC averaged 645 Yellow-billed Magpies. Since that year our average has been 149. Likewise, Loggerhead Shrikes totals averaged 39 before 2005 and less than 9 since. “Best birds were Eurasian Wigeon (2nd time), Barrow’s Goldeneye (2nd time), Steller’s Jay (1st time), Chestnut-collared Longspur (3rd time) and Pine Siskin (1st time). Finding all three subspecies of Merlin was a particular treat. “On a somber note, we missed Burrowing Owl for the first time. We have never managed more than one, and never at the same location twice. This bird seems to be well on its way to extirpation from Placer County, an all-too-familiar trend in California.” WOODFORDS December 20 – Dan Brown reported that 23 observers participated in this Sacramento Audubon Christmas count in Alpine County, CA and Douglas County, NV in the Sierra. He said, “The preliminary species total for the count was 79 species. (The ‘07 total was 76, ‘06 total was 85, ‘05 was 84 and ‘04 was 83.) Count-wide Highlights: 7 Bald Eagles, 38 Red-tailed Hawks, 8 Rough-legged Hawks, 7 White-headed Woodpeckers, 51 Clark’s Nutcrackers, 84 Black-billed Magpies, 14 Townsend’s Solitaires, 42 Pygmy Nuthatches, 125 Pine Siskins, 170 Cassin’s Finches, and 112 Spotted Towhees. “Highlights by area: #1 – 16 Red Crossbills; #2 – We added one species to the over-all checklist - Fox Sparrow from area #2. Also in area #2 were 1 Pinyon Jay and 1 Williamson’s Sapsucker; #3 – 1 Merlin and 582 Tundra Swans; #4 – 6 Townsend’s Solitaires; #5 – 1 Pine Grosbeak and #6 – 2 Varied Thrush (Markleyville) and 2 Marsh Wrens (Grover Hot Springs). “Lowlights: We missed Northern Goshawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Red-breasted and Red-naped Sapsuckers, Cedar Waxwing, Mountain Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, Evening Grosbeak and NO species of Owl were reported! The weather was great–clear and still, temperatures start-ed at 25 and ended up at 42. BENICIA-NAPA December 15 – Compiler Robin Leong reported that incomplete results showed that, “in spite of rain in the morning and hail in the late afternoon, we had 173 spe-cies with at least one count period bird. This is the best that we have ever done. Best species appear to be Long-tailed Duck, White-winged Scoter, Pelagic Cormorant and Townsend’s Solitaire. We had 69,000 birds, about on a par with other counts. Number of counters was 93, the most ever.” PUTAH CREEK December 14 – Compiler Steve Hampton reported, “Taking advantage of one of the brightest moons in 15 years, the 2008 Putah Creek Christmas Bird Count got off to a cold but clear start, with owls calling everywhere. Alas, the weather didn’t hold, and a cold rain came to dominate the after-noon. Temperatures never climbed above 45 degrees. Snow fell on birders on Blue Ridge. Nevertheless, we had an excellent turnout, with 76 participants. We logged 164 party hours and traveled 75 miles on foot, 289 miles by car, 14 miles by boat or canoe, and a record 16 miles by bike. “We found 142 species, just one less than last year despite the rain. We added two new species to the count, Cackling Goose and Western Sandpiper, and one new hybrid, Bufflehead x Common Goldeneye. Record high counts were set for 6 spe-cies: California Quail, Eurasian Collared-Dove (jumping from 2 to 31 individuals), Acorn Woodpecker (for the second year in a row), Tree Swallow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee (with a whopping 58), and Northern Mockingbird. We also had 2nd-ever count records for three interesting subspecies: ‘Harlan’s’ Red-tailed Hawk, ‘Red’ Fox Sparrow, and ‘Pink-sided’ Junco. The Harlan’s was a very rare light phase individual and became one of the only ones ever photographed in the state. “The only record low count was for Loggerhead Shrike. In addition to the shrike, two other species suspected of being impacted by West Nile Virus, Yellow-billed Magpie and Oak Titmouse, continued to post very low numbers.
“Thanks to all the area leaders, potluck organizers, and others who helped make this a great CBC.” Stephen D’Amato