South Whidbey bird count finds wigeons aplenty

Whidbey Audubon members gather along Ewing Road during the annual Christmas Bird Count. - Photo courtesy of Jenny Brown
Whidbey Audubon members gather along Ewing Road during the annual Christmas Bird Count.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Jenny Brown

Approximately 70 volunteers came out to help with Whidbey Audubon’s first-ever Christmas Bird Count on South Whidbey, Audubon officials said Monday.

The count was held Friday, Dec. 30, and counters recorded more than 100 species in a 15-mile-diameter circle that was centered at Goss Lake. The counting boundary stretched to Greenbank Farm to the north and to the Clinton Ferry Terminal to the south.

Govinda Rosling of Whidbey Audubon said the weather was calm in the morning with a few sun breaks, followed by rain and a hail storm during the lunch hour, and then clear again yet windy for the afternoon counts.

Volunteers gathered at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland for post tabulations and shared stories from the field, as well as soup, carrot cake muffins, cheeses and even origami crane wontons.

Rosling said some of the highlights of species documented include a northern shrike, western meadowlarks, and orange-crowned and yellow-rumped warblers. More than 750 Western grebes were reported, plus 2,650 American wigeons alone at Deer Lagoon. American robins still outnumber European starlings, and the ratio between American crows to common ravens was calculated at roughly 20:1.

For the North End Christmas Bird Count, held Dec. 17, a total of 60 people volunteered their time and counted 20,116 birds across 148 species.


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