The 57th Captree Christmas Bird Count, in southwestern Suffolk County, was
conducted on Sunday, December 15th, 2019.  While the sixty-one CBC
participants had to deal with blustery 20-25 mph westerly winds, the
weather was otherwise very enjoyable with temperatures in the 40's under
partly-cloudy skies.  Despite the wind, 29,427 individual birds of an
impressive 127 species were counted.  This total is 10 species greater than
last year, and well above the 57-year average of 116 species and ten-year
average of 118.

A sampling of our more unusual species (ordered somewhat taxonomically):

Barnacle Goose - Belmont
Virginia Rail - Seatuck
Long-billed Dowitcher - Gardiner
American Woodcock - Heckscher
Wilson's Snipe - behind Xpressions Adult Store, Connetquot
Common Murre - Fire - second count record
Thick-billed Murre - Fire
Iceland Gull - Belmont
Rough-legged Hawk - Jones
Northern Saw-whet Owl - East
Eastern Phoebe - Seatuck
Tree Swallow - Heckscher
Marsh Wren - East
4 Eastern Bluebirds - Connetquot
Rusty Blackbird - East
American Redstart - East - first count record (#245) that likely deserved
the coveted "Best Bird of the Count" award, which was awarded to Common
(Western) Palm Warbler - North
3 Pine Warblers - North
Common Yellowthroat - Heckscher
2 Orange-crowned Warblers - North and Seatuck
3 Eastern Meadowlarks - Heckscher

In addition, a Northern Shrike in Heckscher SP, which was unfortunately not
seen on the count, was observed the prior day (count week) and would be a
128th species for the period.

Echoing a previous listserve post by Shai Mitra, there was an impressive,
but ephemeral, flight of 647 Razorbills that included individuals of both
Murre species at Robert Moses SP.  This did not beat last year's high of
1,145 birds, but it is well above the third-place maximum of 12
Razorbills.  Other new maxima included 9 Common Ravens, 19 Chipping
Sparrows, and 3 Pine Warblers.

While some numbers were low, we luckily managed to avoid any real
unbelievable misses (at least by recent standards).  Some of the more
regular birds for this count that we did miss included American Pipit and
Bald Eagle, the latter being nearly expected due to their recent regularity
at Connetquot River SP.

After many years at Villa Monaco, the compilation dinner this year was held
at Sea Levels Restaurant in Brightwaters.  The compilation was cheerful and
fun, with participants enjoying good food and drink with friends and
team-members.  Hopefully this location will be our new home for the
compilation.  We are very grateful for the generosity of the Great South
Bay Audubon Society, whose contribution again reduced the cost of the meal
for our participants.

Finally, we extend our sincerest gratitude to Pat Lindsay and Shai Mitra,
who compiled the Captree CBC for over a decade.  Many of the things that
make this count so great are owed to them, and we hope to keep the
traditions going.

We will finalize the results in the coming days and share them with Great
South Bay Audubon and anyone else who requests a summary.

Thank you to all who joined!

Taylor Sturm and Brent Bomkamp



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