Cocoa, Christmas Bird Count, 12/17/2011

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Blue-headed Vireo
Yesterday I did a Christmas Bird Count in the Canaveral Groves area near Cocoa Beach.  I arrived in Cocoa at 5:30am with about 30 other people, and 4 of us went to the Canaveral Groves area to count as many birds as we can see between about 6:40am to 5:45pm--that is, about as long as there was daylight to see birds.  We traveled about 37 miles throughout our area and had a wonderful time.  There were literally thousands of ducks and gulls along the Indian River.  Among the ducks we saw approximately 6200 Lesser Scaup and a smattering of Mallards and Mottled Ducks.  There were many in terms of sheer numbers, but not a lot of variety of species that we could see.  A highlight for me, though, was seeing 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and 7 Horned Grebe.

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Yellow-throated Warbler

We also had a lot of fun with perching birds.  We saw large numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers, but we also saw a few Pine Warblers and Yellow-throated Warblers.  We saw two species of Vireo: White-eyed Blue-headed.  We saw a few House Wrens and heard a few Carolina Wrens.  We also saw a few Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, three Painted Buntings and a few Savannah and Chipping Sparrows.  We went to an area to find a Florida Scrub Jay, and after we found one, an Eastern Towhee came out to greet us as well as a Brown Thrasher.  After all was said and done, we counted 75 species on the day.

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Pine Warbler

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Chipping Sparrow
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Florida Scrub Jay
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American Robin
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Spotted Sandpiper
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Laughing Gull

Here's a list of species and counts we saw:

Gopher Tortoise
Wild Boar remains
Raccoon tracks
Bobcat tracks
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly
Cloudless Sulphur
White Peacock Butterfly
Skipper (don't know which kind)
Lots of sandspurs!

Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) 10
Mallard (Domestic type) 17
Mottled Duck 14
Lesser Scaup 6200
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Common Loon 10
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Horned Grebe 7
Wood Stork 5
Double-crested Cormorant 120
Anhinga 6
American White Pelican 2
Brown Pelican 7
Great Blue Heron 7
Great Egret 2
Little Blue Heron 7
Tricolored Heron 6
Cattle Egret 1
White Ibis 17
Black Vulture 18
Turkey Vulture 40
Osprey 4
Red-shouldered Hawk 6
American Kestrel 5
Common Gallinule 1
Limpkin 1
Sandhill Crane 1
Killdeer 16
Spotted Sandpiper 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Ruddy Turnstone 27
Sanderling 25
Laughing Gull 800
Ring-billed Gull 5400
Herring Gull 350
Royal Tern 9
Rock Pigeon 7
Eurasian Collared-Dove 4
Mourning Dove 24
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Belted Kingfisher 8
Red-bellied Woodpecker 10
Downy Woodpecker 5
Pileated Woodpecker 3
Eastern Phoebe 5
Loggerhead Shrike 2
White-eyed Vireo 2
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 8
Florida Scrub-Jay 1
Fish Crow 256
Tree Swallow 13
Tufted Titmouse 1
Carolina Wren 3
House Wren 7
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
American Robin 525
Gray Catbird 14
Northern Mockingbird 3
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 5
Palm Warbler 57
Pine Warbler 6
Yellow-rumped Warbler 380
Yellow-throated Warbler  1
Eastern Towhee 6
Chipping Sparrow 6
Savannah Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 8
Painted Bunting 3
Common Grackle 2
Boat-tailed Grackle 8
Brown-headed Cowbird 50
House Sparrow 4


  1. The Songbirds are marvelous, glad to see of color in these winter months!

  2. Nice photos. How do you count 5400 birds?

  3. Thanks! We had two people with scopes,and we estimated numbers in the waves that flew by and then added them all up. We may have been off by one or two. :-)

  4. Very impressive list! Sounds like a great day!!

  5. Thanks, Tammy. It was a great day--a little tiring, but worth it.

  6. Good to see all those lovely pictures of your Christmas count. I'm going on one tomorrow in the Sutter Buttes, in the Sacramento Valley of California. I get to bird on private lands and may take more pictures of the landscape than I do of the birds.


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