Summary – Oceanside (CAOV) Christmas Bird Count – 2017
by Kirsten Winter
The 72nd Oceanside Christmas Bird Count was held on December 23, 2017. A very dedicated and talented group of 115 birders logged 191 hours, and recorded approximately 35,000 individual birds – detecting birds at a rate of 183 birds per hour. A very big thank you to all of the team participants and the volunteers at the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center who hosted the post-count lunch and compilation!
A total of 193 species were detected, which is near the count record of 200 species set some years ago. The most numerous bird was Yellow-rumped Warbler at 3109 individuals, showing its adaptability to various habitats and food sources. Other very numerous species included American Crow at 2563, White-crowned Sparrow at 1895, American Coot at 1875, American Wigeon at 1779, Western Grebe at 1140, House Finch at 1216, and Bushtit at 1042 individuals.
Many rarities were detected. Very rarely detected on this count were species such as one Pacific Golden Plover (Ken Weaver at Guajome), one Sage Thrasher and one White-throated Sparrow (Pete Ginsburg at central Camp Pendleton), and one Nashville Warbler (Paul Lehman, North Batiquitos). At Buddy Todd Park, Gjon Hazard found a Brown Creeper. Mike Martin had a Greater Scaup at El Camino Country Club, and Robert Patton found a Cactus Wren on Camp Pendleton. Sue Smith found a Pacific Slope Flycatcher at Little Gopher Canyon Road in Bonsall.
Many other species that are rarely found in the Oceanside circle were detected as single birds or as very few individuals, including Snow Goose (Ken Weaver, Guajome Lake), Brant (Ryan Andrews, Agua Hedionda) , Cackling Goose and Prairie Falcon (Stan Walens, La Costa Spa), Reddish Egret (Tim Burr, Camp Pen west), Ridgway’s Rail (Tom Troy, BV Audubon center), Pelagic Cormorant, Pomarine Jaeger, Cassin’s Auklet, and Red Phalarope (Dave Povey, Pelagic), Parasitic Jaeger (Nancy Christensen, Oceanside Harbor) , Common Ground Dove (Paula Theobald, Morro Hills) , Costa’s Hummingbird and Red-naped Sapsucker (Gjon Hazard, Buddy Todd Park), Northern Rough-winged Swallow and Canyon Wren (Carol Manning, Gopher Canyon South), Black and White Warbler (Paul Lehman Batiquitos N, and Andy Mauro Agua Hedionda), and Wilson’s Warbler, American Redstart, Summer Tanager, Orchard Oriole, and Bullock’s Oriole (Paul Lehman, Batiquitos N and roving in Carlsbad).
Species detected at record high numbers included Great Horned Owl (14), Merlin (13), Eurasian Collared Dove (238), Acorn Woodpecker (164), Phainopepla ( 46), Hutton’s Vireo (20), and Yellow Warbler (6).
Paul Lehman found a Pied-billed Grebe family with three young chicks, quite remarkable for this time of year.
Loggerhead Shrike, Forster’s Tern, Caspian Tern, Greater Yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin, Surfbird, and American Goldfinch which are usually seen in higher numbers were at record or near record lows. Most of these species had just a single individual recorded. Looking back at historic data, 164 Loggerhead Shrikes were found on the 1979 Oceanside count, and 82 shrikes during the 1980 count. Loss of habitat since then has resulted in a tremendous decrease in this species.
This year we had not just one, but two of our 30 teams that featured young birders. Ryan Andrews led a young birder team at Agua Hedionda, and they did a fabulous job including locating some of the rarities such as Brant and Red-breasted Merganser. Jeff Wells led a team at Oceanside Golf Course/Libby Lake that featured his two young sons. Thanks to these two teams who have many years of birding and key contributions in their futures.
Thanks very much to all of the teams who worked many hours to collect all of these data. Christmas bird counts have built a key dataset that is used to track bird species trends for the United States and many other countries. Thank you for your very important contribution to this monitoring effort.