Happy New Year! Twenty-two observers in 10 parties participated in the Walkerton CBC on Sunday January 2, 2005. The weather was fine (cloudy, in the 40s and 50s) but the birds were often hard to find. Despite that fact, this group of cracker-jack birders broke our record, finding 103 species for the day. Short-billed Dowitcher, 200 Dunlin, Great Black-backed Gull, and Common Yellowthroat were all new birds for the count circle which is in its 11th modern year. Other birds rarely seen here were a snow goose in Walkerton, 12 Purple finches in Aylett, Cohoke, and along the Mattaponi River, 2 Blue-winged teal in marshes along the Pamunkey River, merlin in Cohoke, studied for several minutes by my students in the spotting scope, 38 least sandpipers along the Pamunkey, 2 house wrens in Cohoke, and 13 rusty blackbirds in Walkerton and along the Mattaponi River. Surprising misses were red-breasted nuthatch and catbird. Only one pipit was seen. The golden eagle we had seen in three of the last four years did not reappear this year. Four waterfowl species were fewer than normal (wood duck, green-winged teal, mallard, black duck). Other low numbers were 6 bobwhite (two locations), only one red-headed woodpecker (previous average was 12, with a range of 2-33), and only 28 cedar waxwing, our second lowest ever, with a previous average of 390, perhaps reflecting the low numbers of berries. In addition, we tallied record-breaking numbers of lesser scaup (19), bufflehead (98), black vulture (205, with 108 in one roost along the Pamunkey), bald eagle (47: 38 adult, 9 immature), harrier (10), snipe (137), woodcock (14, with 11 calling at dusk at Sandy Point state forest), ring-billed gull (939), rock pigeon (27), eastern screech owl (8), belted kingfisher (43), hairy woodpecker (34), horned lark (104, with 100 of them in one flock in New Kent), American crow (797), white-breasted nuthatch (58), brown creeper (20), winter wren (27), golden crowned kinglet (98), pine warbler (5), cardinal (493), savannah sparrow (72, with 65 in one wet field in Cohoke), song sparrow (472), swamp sparrow (93), red-winged blackbird (10036), goldfinch (269), and house sparrow (78). This is a great region of the state that is very underbirded. I hope some of you will decide to join us next year. If anyone wants a more detailed list I can send you an excel spreadsheet as an attachment. I hope you all have a great year, full of wonderful times enjoying birds with good friends. Fred ===== Frederick D. Atwood fredatwood@xxxxxxxxx Flint Hill School, 10409 Academic Dr, Oakton, VA 22124 703-242-1675 http://www.agpix.com/fredatwood http://www.flinthill.org 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.