#476 Inca Dove

For birders the most important part of the solstice season is not presents under the tree or turkey (at least not domestic turkey) but rather the bird counts that end one year and start the next and that have done so for 110 years now. The annual Christmas Bird Count takes place globally for a couple of weeks around Christmas. You can usually find one near pretty much any significant human habitation. This year I did the Brooklyn count on the Saturday before Christmas, the Central Park count on the Sunday before Christmas, and then flew to New Orleans for the New Orleans East count on the Saturday after Christmas (and also to visit family, I feel compelled to mention). It’s especially fun to do bird counts in areas you don’t know all that well, because you’re virtually guaranteed to find something interesting and new.

On Saturday the interesting and new bird for me was an Inca Dove, or rather four of them I spotted in a Live Oak tree in a vacant lot along Hayne Boulevard across the street from Lake Pontchartrain. No photos I’m afraid. On bird counts I usually don’t bring a camera so I can concentrate on finding and counting the birds rather than on photographing them.

Overall, we tallied about 90 or so species in our section of the count circle. That’s somewhat under the 101 we saw back in 2006, but that year we also covered large chunks of Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge and a Mangrove Cuckoo found by another team. This year we just covered Lake Pontchartrain and the surrounding suburban areas, so we able to do a smaller area in more depth.

I don’t have the final tally numbers yet, but the species list is roughly:

  1. Gadwall
  2. Mallard
  3. Blue-winged Teal
  4. Ring-necked Duck
  5. Lesser Scaup
  6. Greater Scaup (*)
  7. Bufflehead
  8. Common Goldeneye
  9. Hooded Merganser
  10. Red-breasted Merganser
  11. Ruddy Duck
  12. Common Loon
  13. Pied-billed Grebe
  14. Horned Grebe
  15. American White Pelican
  16. Brown Pelican
  17. Double-crested Cormorant
  18. Anhinga
  19. Great Blue Heron
  20. Great Egret
  21. Snowy Egret
  22. Little Blue Heron
  23. Tricolored Heron
  24. Cattle Egret
  25. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  26. White Ibis
  27. Turkey Vulture
  28. Osprey
  29. Red-shouldered Hawk
  30. Red-tailed Hawk
  31. American Kestrel
  32. Common Moorhen
  33. American Coot
  34. Black-bellied Plover
  35. Semipalmated Plover
  36. Killdeer
  37. Sanderling (*)
  38. Spotted Sandpiper
  39. Dunlin (*)
  40. Ruddy Turnstone
  41. Wilson’s Snipe
  42. Laughing Gull
  43. Ring-billed Gull
  44. Herring Gull
  45. Forster’s Tern
  46. Caspian Tern (*)
  47. Royal Tern
  48. Black Skimmer
  49. Rock Pigeon
  50. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  51. White-winged Dove
  52. Mourning Dove
  53. Inca Dove
  54. Monk Parakeet
  55. Belted Kingfisher
  56. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  57. Downy Woodpecker
  58. Northern Flicker
  59. Eastern Phoebe
  60. Great Horned Owl (*)
  61. Loggerhead Shrike
  62. Bell’s Vireo (*)
  63. Blue-headed Vireo
  64. Blue Jay
  65. American Crow
  66. Fish Crow
  67. Tree Swallow
  68. Carolina Chickadee
  69. Carolina Wren
  70. House Wren
  71. Golden-crowned Kinglet (*)
  72. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  73. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  74. Gray Catbird (*)
  75. Northern Mockingbird
  76. European Starling
  77. American Pipit
  78. Orange-crowned Warbler
  79. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  80. Pine Warbler
  81. Prairie Warbler (*)
  82. Savannah Sparrow
  83. Song Sparrow
  84. Seaside Sparrow (*)
  85. Swamp Sparrow
  86. White-throated Sparrow
  87. Northern Cardinal
  88. Boat-tailed Grackle
  89. American Goldfinch
  90. House Finch (*)
  91. House Sparrow

(If it’s starred I didn’t see it myself, but others in the group did.)

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