Foggy weather interferes with bird count

Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jan 05, 2011 - 05:08 PM

Photo: Lee and Meredith Ball of Hayes take refuge under a shed overhang behind the New Point Fire Station early Sunday morning, while keeping an eye and ear out for birds during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Avid birders, the Balls have been volunteering for the Mathews count for the past seven years. Photo by Charlie Koenig

Lee and Meredith Ball of Hayes take refuge under a shed overhang behind the New Point Fire Station early Sunday morning, while keeping an eye and ear out for birds during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Avid birders, the Balls have been volunteering for the Mathews count for the past seven years. Photo by Charlie Koenig

Foggy weather interfered with the ability to count ducks and other waterfowl in Mathews and Ware Neck during Sunday’s 111th Audubon Christmas Bird Count.

Local coordinator Joyce McKelvey said that birders in the waterfront areas couldn’t see more than 30 to 40 feet in the dense fog, and they were unable to look out over the bay and spot such species as loons.

"We went back in the afternoon," said McKelvey, "but the duck numbers were still appalling."

Temperatures were pleasant, she said, but rain made conditions miserable and caused problems for people who wore glasses.

"They were getting fogged up," said McKelvey.

This was the 42nd consecutive year that bird watchers from all across the region gathered in Mathews to participate in the event. In spite of conditions, 48 people showed up to help, but they didn’t linger long after the count was finished—not even for the traditional meal that’s served.

"It was a miserable day," said McKelvey. "They didn’t care about eating. They just wanted to go home."