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Dreary weather, COVID-19 hinder annual Mathews bird count

The Audubon Mathews Christmas Bird Count 2020 was held on a rainy Sunday through much of Mathews County and a portion of Ware Neck in Gloucester.

The appropriately-named Wren McKelvey was surely they youngest of the 35 birders taking part in this year’s Audubon Mathews Christmas Bird Count.

There was a reduced number of participants (35) for many of the sectors and no carpooling to allow for COVID-19 precautions to be in place, according to count compiler Joyce McKelvey. It was held without a physical tally and meal.

Some participants canceled because of weather conditions or started birding later in the morning, thereby not going out before light to listen for owls and woodcocks. Others decided knocking off early was a good idea after birding by car with very poor visibility.

The longtime and dedicated birders in four or five sectors persevered for the better part of the day to gather good sightings and a fair number of birds. Several different people welcomed participant...

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