Cocoa CBC Tallies 166 Species, Most Since 1997
By Dave Freeland
Our long-awaited first-ever House Finches, spotted by Phyllis Mansfield's party on East Merritt Island, highlighted the 57th Cocoa Christmas Bird Count on December 15. Fifty-two welcome birders tallied 166 countable species, plus five "exotics," for our best total since 1997's 167 species.
Many other good birds were spotted -- Short-tailed Hawk on South Merritt Island, Glaucous Gull at Port Canaveral, Blackburnian Warbler on North Merritt Island and Long-tailed Duck in Cocoa to name a few -- despite a day full of "bluebird weather" (with no bluebirds!).
A group of exotic Mandarin Ducks, not countable as wild species but wonderful nevertheless, were seen by one of our feeder watchers in Rockledge, the first time this bird has been observed on our CBC.
My co-compiler, Dee Fairbanks Simpson, and I thank all the participants as well as the gals who worked so diligently to make sure everyone at the covered dish supper was taken care of so well -- Pat Meyer, Susan Bird, Pat Morrow, Eileen Riccio, Marie Slaney and Barbara Venuto. You gave our day a memorable ending. The church also extended their thanks to you, we were told that they wish all groups could leave the place as tidy and clean as you did!
Following are the teams, their day totals in parentheses as well as birds seen only by that team. Team leader is listed first:
Team 1 (Viera) -- Keith Winsten, Madeline Klinko, Ken LaBorde, Sarah Linney, Bill Meyer (80 species -- Mute Swan, Northern Pintail).
Team 2 (Rockledge) -- Roy Book, Elizabeth Bishop, Dave Freeland (83 -- Greylag Goose, Mandarin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, White-winged Dove, American Crow).
Team 3A (West Cocoa) -- Ned Steel, Jamie Drake, Jacquie Scislaw, Jim Stahl, Sarah Strunk (77).
Team 3B (Cocoa) -- David Simpson, Jim Eager, Dee Fairbanks Simpson (98 -- Canada Goose, Least Bittern, Solitary Sandpiper, Tufted Titmouse, Field Sparrow).
Team 4 (Canaveral Groves) -- Jason Frederick, Kathy Frederick, Sheryl Gracewski, Jim Meyer, Tom Nash (71).
Team 5 (North Merritt Island) -- Judy Dryja, Courtney Carlson, Mary Nicolay, Dick Novier (107 -- Broad-winged Hawk, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blackburnian Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush).
Team 6 (West Merritt Island) -- Ed Slaney, Brian Archer, Linda Archer, Carl Goodrich (76 -- Short-tailed Hawk, Hermit Thrush).
Team 7A (East Merritt Island) -- Phyllis Mansfield, Barb Lucas, Rich Lucas, Gallus Quigley (82 -- House Finch).
Team 7B (Mud Lake/Ulumay/Poinsett) -- Robert Paxson, Ralph Bird (65 -- goatsucker, sp.).
Team 7C (Ulumay Sanctuary) -- Charlie Venuto, David Biega, Karin Biega, Tim Kozusko, Richard Stevens, Barb Venuto, Jill Vogel (45).
Team 8A (Cocoa Beach) -- Doug Stuckey, Betty Eichhorn, Karl Eichhorn, Warren Frost (70).
Team 8B (Cocoa Beach Golf Course) -- Howard Mansfield (35).
Team 9A (Port Canaveral) -- Dan Click, Andy Bankert, Murray Gardler (102 -- American Wigeon, Magnificent Frigatebird, American Avocet, Short-billed Dowitcher, Glaucous Gull, Sandwich Tern, Monk Parakeet, Vesper Sparrow).
Team 9B (Canaveral AFS) -- Teresa Fiorillo, William Nunn (34).
Feeder Watchers -- Bill & Carol Alvord, Debbie Dannels, Dick DeMars, Judy Doan, Pam Green, Darlene & Jerry Hunt, Barbara Knight, Jim & Marjorie McCollum, Pat Morrow, Carl & Pauline Roth, Simone Spiess, Robert Walker, Tal & Nina Webb, Hazel Williams.