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16,105 birds reported in annual count


Forty-four birders spotted 16,105 birds of 102 different species during Sunday’s annual Mathews Audubon Christmas Bird Count, coordinator Joyce McKelvey said. The volunteers covered an area 15 miles in diameter that included Mathews County and Ware Neck in Gloucester.

The count was up slightly from last year, when 33 birders counted 15,427 birds of 115 species.

Turnout and coverage of the area were exceptionally good in spite of the fact that the event fell on New Year’s Eve with brisk temperatures, said McKelvey.

Although the morning was windy and started cold, some Great Horned Owls and Barred Owls were heard or spotted before dawn, said McKelvey, and, to the delight of some first-time participants, two American Woodcocks were found. Some of the rarities seen were a Semi-Palmated Plover, five Cackling Geese, a possible Yellow Warbler and two unspecified birds of the Vireo species.

Eastern Bluebird numbers are down, said McKelvey, with only 395 sighted. In the ...

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