This weekend I went down to Washington so that I could participate in this year's C&O Canal Count. (My apologies for the lack of posts this weekend. I forget to schedule them before I left.) Like last year, I stayed with my friend Jed and traveled with him to cover some miles around Little Orleans in Allegany County. This year we helped Paul with his section, miles 141-143.
Allegany County has more northerly bird life than most of Maryland. For example, while most of Maryland is the land of Carolina Chickadees, Black-capped Chickadees predominate in Allegany. Birds that are common on the coastal plain, like Fish Crows, are scarce, but mountain-loving Common Ravens are present. Uncommon eastern birds like Ruffed Grouse and Golden Eagle are present but hard to find. This means that a bird count covering the area will probably produce fewer species but more interesting ones, and possibly even something unusual.
Of course, as soon as we finished our section and left the park boundaries, we encountered a mixed species flock that included Red-breasted Nuthatches and a Hermit Thrush, neither of which we recorded for the count.