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2008 International Migratory Bird Day Count Report

International Migratory Bird Day (see is an independent assessment of avian abundance and diversity performed by birders around the world.  The ESAS uses the Inyo County IMBD totals to base our Bird-a-thon fundraiser.

Breezy to windy conditions greeted the 24 volunteers for this year’s count. The number of volunteers dropped significantly from 2007 (46 volunteers) due to the combined travel plans of a number of participants. This year’s 24 combined for a total of approximately 228 hours of their time to this great cause.

Count Totals

This year, 200 species were identified during the count. The number of species identified was remarkable given the reduction in this year’s number of participants and credit goes to all who showed much flexibility in birding locations allowing nearly all key locations to be covered. As can be seen in the accompanying spreadsheet, many of the numbers of individual species are down (attributable to a lack of eyes!) but overall the total number of birds seen was less than 3% less than in 2007.

Key Absentees & Appearances

Some key absentees this year were Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Chukar (last year 132 were seen); Snowy Plover; Brown Creeper; and Swainson’s Thrush.

Birds seen this year (in numbers more than a couple) that were absent last year were Dunlin, Oak Titmouse, and Pine Siskin.

Brown-headed Cowbirds, European Starlings and Eurasian Collared-Doves

The numbers of BHCO and EUST were within what would have been expected when compared to 2007 numbers given the reduction in participants. A significant increase (approximately 20%) in Eurasian Collared-Doves was noted and given the reduction in counters, this represents a considerable increase in Eurasian Collared-Dove numbers.

Notable Birds!

Jim Parker had a Cattle Egret out at the Bishop Sewer Ponds; Carl Lundblad observed a Peregrine Falcon at Furnace Creek Ranch; Jerry Zatorski had 27 Black-headed Grosbeaks out on Hunter Mountain; Kelli Levinson had a Hermit Warbler at Sage Flat and a Grey-headed Junco at Horseshoe Meadows; AZ had the lone Brown-crested Flycatcher at China Ranch; Two Common Moorhens were observed: one by Carl Lundblad at Furnace Creek Ranch and one at Deep Springs by Tom Heindel and fellow volunteers Bianca; Simon and Paul! Jo Heindel had a Northern Pygmy Owl at Glacier Lodge! Barbara Schuck and Marybeth Hennessy had the lone Lesser Scaup seen on the day. Andrew Kirk spotted two Acorn Woodpeckers at the Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery: Susan Steele and Shelley Ellis had 45 Western Tanagers, 30 Lazuli Bunting, 40 Ash-throated Flycatchers, 15 Mountain Quail, 2 California Thrashers, 2 LeConte’s Thrashers, 2 Oak Titmouse, 4 MacGillivray’s Warblers, and many many others species all from Nine Mile Canyon! Black-tailed Gnatcatchers were observed by PRBO staff at China Ranch and Tecopa. Nancy and Mike Prather had six Virginia Rail including 3 chicks at Cartago Spring and a Whimbrel on Owens Lake. Jim Parker had a 100+ species day birding Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Birchim Canyon, Pine Creek Canyon, Bishop Sewer Ponds, and Aspendell. Debby Parker and Kathy Duvall had the only report of Bank Swallows (60 birds) at Nik-n-Nik. Jan Bowers and Steve McLaughlin had the lone Wilson’s Snipe of the day west of Bishop.

Thanks to all for another great IMBD!!! I’m off to work to update the field report forms to account for taxonomic changes and to include Latin names. See you all next year!!!