2014-12-31 / Nature

Conanicut Island Bird Count

Harlequin Ducks. (Photo by Bob Weaver) Harlequin Ducks. (Photo by Bob Weaver) The 32nd annual Conanicut Island Bird Count was held on Saturday, Dec. 27, under sunny skies with temperatures in the 50s. This year’s event revealed some startling results. According to co-coordinator Candy Powell, “We had a record number of participants, 19 in all, but we only recorded 63 species. For yet-to-be determined reasons, this total is way down from previous years. Species that we normally observe, such as Purple Sandpipers, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Peregrine Falcons near the Newport Bridge, and others were absent this year.” This year’s low tally may be an anomaly, as count rates have historically been in the high 70s.

Notable species sighted during the event included three Eastern Bluebirds, two Barrow’s Goldeneyes, flocks of American Pipits and Snow Buntings, and numerous Hooded Mergansers on the island’s northern ponds. “We appreciate the hard work that all of our participants put into this effort and we look forward to the spring count in May,” Powell said.

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