24 June 2024

Christmas Count adventures

Saturday, December 19th, 2015
Purple Sandpiper, Rockland Breakwater, Rockland, Maine, 19 December 2015.

Purple Sandpiper.

Up early for the annual National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for our neck of the woods. This year, we diverged a bit from our customary first leg—the Rockland Breakwater—to make sure we recorded a noteworthy bird in our region: a Yellow-throated Warbler that had been seen for the past several days on the grounds of the Samoset Resort. Got it.

Common Ravens, Samoset Resort, Rockport, Maine, 19 December 2015.

Common Ravens.

The weather was balmy compared to most CBCs I remember—low- to mid-30s (F). (Typically, it seems like it’s been 12 degrees with a high wind.) But that meant odd birds, and not that many of ’em. Instead of a dozen or so Purple Sandpipers, for instance, we got one. Instead of fifty-plus species, we got forty-something. Since I never do the afternoon trip, I got thirty-four.

But those included two “warblers”: the yellow-throated and a Yellow-breasted Chat (arguably not really a warbler)—only the second of that species I’ve ever seen. Also a pair of vocal ravens flew over, and we had a little flurry of bird activity near the cemetery, and we counted about a hundred coots.

Ring-billed Gull, Samoset Resort, Rockport, Maine, 19 December 2015.

Ring-billed Gull.

Afterward, I rescued a house-bound Jack and we took a quick Beech Hill hike. Only two species up there today.

Windy as hell tonight.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 2:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. American Crow* (v)
2. Black-capped Chickadee* (v)


3. American Goldfinch
4. Herring Gull
5. Mallard
6. House Sparrow
7. Common Raven
8. Yellow-throated Warbler
9. Ring-billed Gull
10. Canada Goose
11. Common Eider
12. Red-necked Grebe
13. Horned Grebe
14. White-breasted Nuthatch
15. American Black Duck
16. Great Black-backed Gull
17. Long-tailed Duck
18. Surf Scoter
19. Purple Sandpiper
20. Black Guillemot
21. Great Cormorant
22. Bufflehead
23. Yellow-breasted Chat
24. Rock Pigeon
25. Tufted Titmouse
26. Brown Creeper
27. Downy Woodpecker
28. Red-tailed Hawk
29. Hairy Woodpecker
30. Common Goldeneye
31. Bonaparte’s Gull
32. American Coot

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

Owls Head Light, from the Rockland Breakwater, Rockland, Maine, 19 December 2015.

Owls Head Light.

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Bird Report is a (sometimes intermittent) record of the birds I encounter while hiking, see while driving, or spy outside my window. —Brian Willson

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