The 70th annual Elizabethton Christmas Bird Count was held Saturday, Dec. 15. This year’s count set a new record, with a total of 80 species found. The average number found on an Elizabethton CBC is 71 species.
Twenty-three participants in six parties counted in this CBC, but I wasn’t among them. I was battling a stubborn cold, which caused me to miss a bird count with the Lee and Lois Herndon Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society. That’s something that I have rarely done since I started birding with the Elizabethton-based birding group back in 1997.
I would have been counting birds in the Hampton area with Gary Wallace, but when I could not make it, Brookie and Jean Potter stepped in and counted birds with him. Not to sound too envious, but I found myself hating my cold even more when I learned they saw some of the best birds of the count. The two White Ibises that flew overhead as they birded near Hampton High School were among the unexpected sightings that helped make this year’s Elizabethton CBC one for the record books.
In addition to the White Ibises, this year’s Elizabethton CBC yielded such good birds as Northern Shoveler, Green Heron, Peregrine Falcon and Horned Lark.