Christmas Bird Count 2 – Westport

31 12 2008
White-winged Scoter - Larry Flynn

White-winged Scoter - Larry Flynn

After lousy weather was predicted (and arrived) on December 21st Jim (my co-compiler) and I  made the decision to bump the Westport Christmas Bird Count up to this Saturday, December 28th. Obviously these kind of last minute changes bring the usual problems with team members dropping out due to previous commitments and no guarantee that the weather would be any better this weekend. In the end it wasn’t ideal but we struggled through the mist and a need to quickly build a scratch team to cover parts of Westport on the morning itself to get the count done.

All in all we had a great count with a representative number of species found (115 with most areas submitted). As always a few goodies were found and a few regular species were missed. The most uncommon species of the count were the continuing Snowy Owl seen from the beach in Penfield (amongst 6 species of owl seen) as well as a flyover White-winged Crossbill. Highlight though was the flock of 1169 White-winged Scoter that Larry Flynn and Alex Coffey found from the boat out to the Norwalk Islands, the first time a flock of this size has been seen on the count for over 30 years.

Most importantly everyone seemed to have had a fun day out and were thankful that we hadn’t tried to run the count the week before. We had a good number of new participants, which was fantastic, and something we hope to expand upon next year.

Also up was the number of feeder watchers. These feeder watchers make up an important part of the count and those I contacted seemed to have had great fun taking part. We didn’t have anything out of the ordinary at the feeders (like the Yellow-throated warbler on the Greenwich count) but it certainly helps us have a much better representation of what is out there.

Too many people to thank individually here but I just wanted to pass on thanks to all of those that helped out in the field, watched their feeders, helped publicize the event and got stuck in with all of the other organization that is required to make these kind of things happen with only a volunteer group. It was much appreciated.

Hopefully I learned a few things about how to make it even more successful next year. Until then, thanks everyone for getting involved.

Local Coverage in the Norwalk Hour (not quite what I remember saying but anyway these things happen with reporters) and The Advocate.

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