Saturday, December 16, 2006

Washington CBC

Today was the Christmas Bird Count for Washington, DC. Like last year, I joined the group surveying the National Arboretum on the Anacostia Sector. The day started with an assembly in the parking lot at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens at 7 am, before splitting up to cover the different parts of the Anacostia Sector. While there, we witnessed a rocket launch that took place on the Eastern Shore (pictured above).

At the Arboretum we split further into teams of 2-4 to cover the ground more efficiently. The team I was with, which included two other DC Audubon members, focused on the Asian Gardens, River Trail, and the Holly and Magnolia area. These areas have a high concentration of robins during the winter; we counted at least 400 this morning.

It turned out to be a great day for raptors. We recorded six diurnal raptors, including a peregrine falcon that cruised low over Mount Olivet Cemetery, and a bald eagle high over the Arboretum. A great horned owl in the Arboretum was a personal highlight, as it was the first I have seen in DC. It perched almost motionless at the top of a tall pine and allowed great looks while it gazed back at us.

A few birds were in short supply. Sparrows were noticeable mainly by their absence. Even the juncos seemed fewer than normal. Goldfinches, too, were barely represented on our final tally.

The list below is my personal list for the day and does not include all birds seen in the Arboretum.


Canada Goose
Common Merganser
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Ring-billed Gull
American Herring Gull
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Cedar Waxwing
Carolina Wren
Northern Mockingbird
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
European Starling
House Sparrow
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Eastern Towhee
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal