Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Bird Count - Initial Report

All the precincts have yet to be counted, but early returns suggest that this year's Four Holes Swamp Christmas Bird Count (CBC) numbers will be significantly lower than last year's.  With three of the 13 areas yet to report, the comparison to last year is 86 versus 100 species, and 7700 versus 17,300 individual birds.  The lower numbers were unexpected, since last year's weather rose to a high (read that as HIGH) of 34F and was blustery, while this year's weather quickly rose from 34F into the upper 60Fs and was sunny and calm.  Maybe the birds did not get the email specifying the date and time of the count.  Thank you to the 22 volunteer counters who turned out to help six members of the Audubon South Carolina staff.

While overall numbers are certainly lower, some groups had busy days, including team #11 counting in Harleyville and The Bend of Four Holes Swamp.

We had a great count yesterday.   We had 15 Sandhill Cranes, about 100 American Pipits, and 7 Wilson's Snipe as highlights for us. We had not previously recorded pipits or snipe in the past 3 years on this territory.  The pipits prevented us from reaching Giant Cement on time, so you can blame them!  The Giant Cement property did prove fruitful, giving us some wading birds, Bald Eagles, and Fox Sparrows.

Keith L. McCullough

 Taken Feb. 2011 near Harleyville

Keep watching this space!  We'll post the results of the CBC as soon as the counters of the remaining three areas send in their data sheets.

Image by Mark Musselman

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