CAPE CHARLES, VIRGINIA, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT CUMULATIVE LIST 1. THE 2004 COUNT. Corrections to the 2004 results. Please let me know if you want a corrected copy, paper or electronic. I incorrectly stated that Bald Eagle was missed on counts 1-7 and 8-14; what I meant to say is that it was missed on counts 1-7 and 9-14. There were 11 Ipswich Sparrows, not 10. There were 115 Boat-tailed Grackles, not 15. There were 49 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, not 28. There are a few other refinements not worth mentioning here. My heavily annotated and analyzed Christmas count lists over the years have as their inspiration the Maryland counts that Chan Robbins compiled. His informal apres-count lists contained notations on highs, lows, number of occurrences, etc., that were always a source of fascination to me as a boy. When I began compiling my own count I was determined to try to do something similar. 2. CUMULATIVE LIST. The addition of Snowy Owl and Northern Shrike in 2004 as well as Pacific Loon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird in 2003, and a new "in escrow" species, Cackling Goose, provide a good reason to re-evaluate the count's cumulative list. That list now stands at 251. Not included: Monk Parakeet, seen 1 year, but never really became established. Common Cuckoo, reported from Smith Island in 1965 by an English ornithologist. He gave a pretty good description but with such an astounding rarity it seems best to be cautious. I will submit the description to VARCOM (The Virginia Avian Rarities Committee) so an official judgement can be made. There have been 3 reports of Swainson's and 1 of Wood Thrush which I have tentatively included. I will review these old records soon. The original observer believes he was wrong, so I have not included Bachman's Sparrow. Ruffed Grouse, obviously a non-viable, released species, has been excised. An immature Egyptian Vulture was well-seen by 3 observers one year over Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. Richard Ryan, an authority on captive American birds, told me he thought it was an escape from the New Jersey theme park, Great Adventure. However, Bill Clark, in his second edition Peterson guide to raptors, includes this record. For purely arbitrary reason I have not counted it, although the identification is undoubtedly correct. It is a little surprising that several species have never been seen, including: Eared Grebe, Sandhill Crane, Thayer's Gull, Clay-colored and Lark sparrows. There was one report of the gull which I rejected. CUMULATIVE SPECIES NUMBER FOR SELECTED BIRD GROUPS. waterfowl: 36 species. heron-ibis types: 12 diurnal raptors: 15 (includes the 2 vultures) shorebirds: 27 gulls: 14 owls: 8 vireos: 3 warblers: 14 sparrows (excluding towhee & junco): 16 The first 32 years of the count the average number of species was 163, of observers 40. Lately it is a cause for celebration to get close to or surpass these marks. 167 and 48 respectively in 2004 was exceptional by recent standards. Why? Not sure. We now have House Finch, Mute Swan (but not every year), 2 sharp-tailed sparrows thanks to a split, and Cackling Goose (thanks to another split, but we do not see one every year, either). On the other hand we have lost as species Blue Goose and Ipswich Sparrow. In the early years almost every time we often had several species of northern finches and Loggerhead Shrike. The shrike is gone and once in a while we get some finches. Also early on we recorded skimmer and Royal Tern about once every 2 or 3 years, but no more for them. Red-breasted Nuthatches were dependable every year but we actually miss them sometimes now. Otherwise, I have a generalized, unquantifiable feeling that there is just not the variety of bird species there used to be and this also manifests itself in the 2 or 3 Spring marathons I take part in every May. The decrease in observers is probably at least partially due to the increase in the number of Christmas counts. Probably some people opt to participate in counts near where they live. Almost all of the observers at Cape Charles live somewhere else. Best to all.-Harry Armistead, 523 E. Durham St., Philadelpia, PA 19119-1225. 215-248-4120. harryarmistead at hotmail dot com You are subscribed to VA-BIRD. To post to this mailing list, simply send email to va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx To unsubscribe, send email to va-bird-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field.