Some rare birds spotted in Christmas count

Weather conditions may have played a role in bird numbers being down for the annual count.

  • Dec. 31, 2013 8:00 a.m.

Langley Field Naturalist and professional photographer John Gordon spotted this Pileated woodpecker in Langley City. Gordon took part in the annual Christmas bird count on Dec. 29.

The misty weather conditions may have played into numbers being down in the annual Christmas bird count this year in Langley.

According to Langley Field Naturalists Kathy Masse and Sheila Puls, the volunteers found 67 species, which is one more than was seen last year. However, the overall count of birds was down from 8,000 last year to 6,061 this Christmas.

The count took place on Sunday, Dec. 29. Dedicated Langley Field Naturalists divided into five teams and set out from their meeting spot at ABC Country Restaurant armed with their clipboards and binoculars, to spend the day counting every bird they saw, both numbers and species, in the assigned count area.

It was the annual North America Christmas Bird Count and the Fields Naturalists covered a pie shaped area, which is part of the large circle of the White Rock/ Surrey Count area.

The day was drizzly and cool but happily the rain stopped after an hour, said Masse.  At 4 p.m., the groups met again, to warm up with a hot chocolate and to tally final numbers.

Stories of rare bird sightings and adventures of the day were shared and enjoyed by all, Puls and Masse said.

They found American robin counts are up this year. A highlight was the cinnamon Teal which is rare in Langley in the Christmas Bird Count. Some saw large flocks of Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch. A  Peregrine falcon and three American Kestrels rounded out other unusual sightings.

“The 2013 Christmas Bird count, as it is each year, was a satisfying successful day for the Langley Field Naturalists,” said Masse.

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