51st Walla Walla Christmas Bird Count

December 16, 2023 was a cold foggy day which is the normal for this count – despite the weather 41 folks in 13 teams spent some or most of the day out searching for birds. 4 Feeder Watchers also contributed to the total birds seen.
81 species of birds were found on count day – and 10 more during the count week for a total of 91 species which is the highest in 10 years! 93 is the record in 2012.
A huge THANK YOU to all that volunteered their time and gas for the CBC.
Mike & MerryLynn and Bill Hickey were up Blue Creek and heard then saw a CANYON WREN which is a first for the count and totally unexpected! Homeowner Sue was kind enough to let us into her yard to get photos. She said the bird had been present for over 2 months! Canyon Wrens are normally found only in very large cliffs out along the rivers.
Other unusual birds seen were 52 Greater White-fronted Geese, 83 Cackling Geese – both record numbers! Western Grebe – only 3rd time for the count, Virginia Rail – only 4th time for the count, Long-eared and Northern Saw-whet Owls – thanks to Chris Howard the “Owl Man”. Say’s Phoebe and Western Bluebirds are always a treat to find in the winter. Only the second year to find California Scrub-Jay – a species that is really expanding its range. Blue Jay was seen count week but not count day despite a valiant effort by Jim & Sue! A record 10 White-breasted Nuthatches were found – previous high 5 in 2004. Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings were abundant up Biscuit Ridge and a single Evening Grosbeak was found. Pine Grosbeak was seen before and after count day – always a target bird on the count. Fox, White-throated and Golden-crowned Sparrows were found.
Bruce Toews and Rebecca Heisman were lucky enough to see a BOBCAT – a nice non-avain sighting.
Thanks again and hope you can all join in the 2024 CBC! MerryLynn Denny

Canyon Wren seen by MerryLynn and Mike Denny on Christmas Bird Count day 2023

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