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9688Unalaska Island CBC results

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  • Suzi Golodoff
    Jan 2, 2014
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      Dear friends and birders,

      Happy New Year to everyone!  Unalaska Island participated in the 114th Audubon Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 28, 2013.  This was Unalaska's twenty second consecutive count.  

      Our weather on count day was unbeatable for the Aleutians.  Forty degrees, no wind, no rain, and no snow on the ground!  Our field parties reveled in the fine conditions, many long-time counters deserving a break from enduring the usual heavy layers and biting wind, or worse yet, drenching rain and soggy gear.  Many of us counted bareheaded and barehanded!

      We had 27 adults and 8 kids in 12 field parties and one feeder watch.  We covered a combined 44 miles and spent a combined 36 hours counting birds.  Counters got out as far as Morris Cove and for the first time ever we sent a team over the back pass road, which has never been clear of snow before on a count day.  A small pod of orca whales was seen in Captain's Bay. 

      We tallied 8,076 birds of 38 species with two additional species seen during 'count week' ( the three days before and after the official count day).  Our highest count ever, in December of 2009, was 51 count day species with four additional seen during count week.  While it is tempting to blame our low species count this year on the nice weather, the 2009 count was held in similar conditions.  Lack of snow had almost no birds at the feeders, and we had not a single Snow Bunting on count day. Rock Ptarmigan had to be searched for way up high. But scattered across the count circle were 44 Song Sparrows, which is our highest count yet!  Calm waters made perusing the waterfowl and Emperor Goose flocks a joy.  Our Emperor count of 1,535 was almost exactly the same last year's 1,522.  Only 195 Long-tailed Ducks were seen on count day, but on New Year's Day the outfall at the spit was attracting a melee, and I got a conservative estimate of 1,000 Long-tailed Ducks then.  Not seen yet this winter and missing on our count are Tufted Ducks, seen on ten of the last twelve counts in a row.

      Here are the species and numbers for this year's Christmas Bird Count:

      Emperor Goose 1,535; Mallard 4; Green-winged Teal 128; Greater Scaup 232; Steller's Eider 84; Harlequin Duck 974; White-winged Scoter 235; Black Scoter 891; Long-tailed Duck 195; Bufflehead 56; Common Goldeneye 30; Common Merganser 8; Red-breasted Merganser 134; Common Loon 6; Horned Grebe 13; Red-necked Grebe 7; Double-crested Cormorant 14; Red-faced Cormorant 2; Pelagic Cormorant 123; cormorant species. 11; Bald Eagle 612; Merlin count week; Rock Ptarmigan 5; Black Oystercatcher 31; Rock Sandpiper 196; Mew Gull 294; Glaucous-winged Gull 164; Glaucous Gull 1; gull species 487; Common Murre 900; Pigeon Guillemot 221; Marbled Murrelet 6; Crested Auklet 6; alcid species 2; Belted Kingfisher 5; Common Raven 217; Pacific Wren 7; American Dipper 2; Fox Sparrow 2; Song Sparrow 44; Snow Bunting count week; Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch 168; Common Redpoll 24.

      Many Thanks go out to all our excellent and cheerful Unalaska bird counters!!!


      Suzi Golodoff
      Aleutian Birding and Natural History
      P.O. Box 11
      Unalaska, Alaska 99685
      (907) 581-1359
      (907) 391-2345

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