January 3, 2010 [LINK / comment]

Merry Christmas Bird Count!

Yesterday was the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for the Waynesboro area, supervised by Augusta Bird Club (ABC) member Crista Cabe. It was the first time since 2006 that I had participated in the CBC. The scheduled date for this year's Augusta County CBC (Dec. 19) conflicted with my teaching (or grading) duties, so I opted for the Waynesboro CBC instead. As it turned out, the blizzard forced a postponement of the Augusta County CBC, so I probably could have participated in it after all. Anyway, I joined former ABC President Grant Simmons for several hours yesterday morning and early afternoon as we drove all around the Fishersville-Lyndhurst area. I got to know several neighborhoods and birding hotspots I had never seen before. It was bitterly cold, however, with stiff winds that caused the wind-chill factor to drop to near zero. Altogether, we spotted 37 species, including the following highlights:

Not seeing any Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, Yellow-rumped warblers, or either species of Kinglets was a bit disappointing, but with such frigid conditions, it was amazing that any birds were out and about. Hardly any ducks or other waterfowl were observed in this year's CBC, because nearly all of the local ponds have frozen over, forcing those birds further south for the time being. In the evening, CBC participants gathered at the home of Gary and Crista Cabe, sharing our experiences and tallying up our totals for the day. Since I haven't been able to attend any bird club meetings since last spring, it was great to get back in touch with all those friendly folks.