What’s Hot and What’s NOT
First off, a slight correction to some of the high numbers of scarce winter visitors I posted about a few days ago: The Dec-Jan total of Summer Tanagers this season should be 52, and counting, The appreciably lower total I gave earlier was for January only.
As a follow-up, a couple folks asked about what species are notably DOWN this winter. We will all have our picks depending on where we do most of our birding, but I think a few that are in mediocre numbers just about everywhere include Cedar Waxwing, Hermit Thrush, and Fox & Golden-crowned Sparrows. The two species that are WAAAAAAY down when one thinks back to just last year are American Robin and Townsend’s Solitaire. Last year, of course, there were many hundreds and thousands of robins everywhere, but this winter the tiny trickle of one-zies and two-zies are almost entirely made up of our small number of permanent resident birds and pairs that breed here anyway. And last year, Dec-Mar, we set the all-time record of lowland Townsend’s Solitaires, with 20. This year = 0. And there have been well below average numbers in the mountains as well.
A couple other honorable mentions for species that seem disturbingly low to me this winter are Dunlin and dowitchers.
Paul Lehman, San Diego