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Southern Ocean Birding Group

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2016 Tuckerton Christmas Bird Count Results
                                                                     
On Dec. 18, sixteen members of the Southern Ocean Bird Group participated in the 116th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Our group covers the Tuckerton CBC, which originated with a single participant in 1967. The Tuckerton CBC occurred continuously from 1967 through 1986, when it was discontinued. The count ran again in 2004 and 2005, but was halted once again.  After SOBG was organized in 2008, the group revived the Tuckerton count, and has participated and organized the count since then, led by count compiler Linda Gangi.

Weather for the 2016 Tuckerton CBC was quite pleasant overall. The previous day was cold and stormy, with a mix of snow and rain, so we were a bit concerned about the conditions. The weather improved overnight, so we started with fog, but the temperature eventually rose into the low 60's (!), although with some occasional strong gusts of wind. The group ended with a total of 69 species, which is two species over the average since the count was re-organized in 2010. Notable sightings were two American Woodcock, all-time highs for the count of both Black Vultures (21) and Turkey Vultures (79), and it's always good to spot Bald Eagles (5 adults). Notable on the negative end were the low numbers of scaup, with only 4 Lesser Scaup and no Greaters.
                                                                  Adult Bald Eagles on 2016 Tuckerton CBC. Photo by Nancy Gallagher.
A summary of the count results since 2010 (when SOBG started sponsoring the current CBC territory) can be found here.  A complete tally of all Tuckerton CBC results going back to 1967 can be found in this Excel file.

Its quite interesting to see the differences in the count results since 1967.  The change in species such as Piping Plover, Long-tailed Duck, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Snow Bunting, and Horned Grebe can probably be accounted for by the loss of CBC territory at Holgate that contained ocean views and beach habitat.  For other species such as Tundra Swan, Canvasback, Ruddy Duck, Eastern Meadowlark, Northern Harrier, and Rough-legged Hawk the reasons for the difference is less clear.  Other changes undoubtedly are due to real changes in the populations. Look especially at Black Vulture, Northern Bobwhite, Ruffed Grouse, both loons, Little Blue Heron, Red-bellied Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Horned Lark, Boat-tailed Grackle, and Evening Grosbeak. The results from this one CBC circle demonstrate the value of the CBC for monitoring bird populations, especially when combined with data from other circles across the country. Think about joining us next year.

2017 Tuckerton CBC:  Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017