2016 Tagish Christmas Bird Count

 

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Six-Mile River – Photo by Ulrich Trachsel

The 2016 Tagish Christmas Bird Count was a big success!

Many people both from Tagish and from Whitehorse participated in the count this year, with eleven people in the field and sixteen people watching their feeders. Though there was a noticeable absence of birds through early winter with some feeders completely devoid of avian life – including mine, several feeders saw birds appear in some numbers for the first time on the 18th – just in time to be counted!

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Gray Jay – Photo By Cameron Eckert

Gray Jays and Black-billed Magpies were higher in numbers than ever before at Tagish feeders, while other species, such as the chickadees, were quite low in numbers. Out in the field the usual winter flocks of Common Mergansers and Common Goldeneye were seen in the river once the heavy fog cleared up, and Mountain Chickadees seemed to be almost everywhere. A small flock of six Bohemian Waxwings eating juniper berries by the California Beach parking lot was spotted by Ulrich, and are possibly a first for the Tagish Christmas Bird Count.

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Mountain Chickadee – Photo By Cameron Eckert

Grouse, ptarmigan and woodpeckers managed to evade both field birders and feeder watchers this year. Jared and Aaron followed a lead for Ptarmigan up Jubilee Mountain, but they had vanished by the time the mountaineers reached the top; similarly, Cameron, Ulrich, and I all pursued fresh grouse tracks in the snow but were unable to catch up with them. However, Cameron, Marilyn, Ulrich and I were presented with an unexpected treat on Sydney Street when a noisy mob of Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees and a nuthatch led us to a Boreal Owl attempting to sleep underneath a clump of witches broom in a nearby spruce. The cute little owl was sleepy and relaxed, despite being mobbed. This Boreal Owl is a first for the Tagish Christmas Bird Count.

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Boreal Owl – Photo By Cameron Eckert

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Selfie! Cameron and I posing with a Boreal Owl… Can you spot it??

Overall, it was another really great Christmas Bird Count in Tagish. Thank you to all of the participants of the count this year, and to those in past years who were unavailable to do it this year! A warm welcome to the new participants! It’s always a pleasure to organize this Christmas Bird Count and to hear what you all have been seeing. If you know of other Tagish residents who would like to participate in the count next year, please let me know, or feel free to share my contact information with them. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all!!!

Below is the species list:

 

Common Goldeneye – 5

Common Merganser – 16

Boreal Owl – 1

Gray Jay – 23

Black-billed Magpie – 26

Common Raven – 18

Black-capped Chickadee – 36

Mountain Chickadee – 21

Boreal Chickadee – 28

Red-breasted Nuthatch – 11

Bohemian Waxwing – 6

Dark-eyed Junco – 5

Pine Grosbeak – 85

Red Crossbill – 30

White-winged Crossbill – 407

Common Redpoll – 13

 

Total Species = 16

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Ulrich trying to find us a Grouse – Photo By Beakingoff

 

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