2015 marked my second year as Compiler for the North American Migratory Count (NAMC) known in Washtenaw County as the May Count. I assumed this task from Roger Wykes, who managed it with style for over a dozen years. He assisted me again this year (Thank you, Roger!!) by helping me compile statistics before submitting my report to the state compiler, and by giving me a grand tour of Lodi Township, which I inherited this spring as an Area Leader. This survey is traditionally conducted across North America on the second Saturday in May, this year May 9th.
This year we counted 24,488 individual birds of 171 species, 35 species of which were unusual enough to not be included on the main list we use to tally birds, that is, were “off list” (link to final results). 75 volunteers in 44 parties logged over 325 hours counting birds day and night on count day, covering over 1000 miles by car and on foot. Amazingly, Jeff Schultz and Greg Jacks, volunteers in York and Augusta Township with Area Leader, John Farmer, saw a first ever for Washtenaw County Blue Grosbeak, migrating through Augusta Township. We are still waiting for the Michigan Rare Bird Records Committee to review and approve the sighting, but I am confident it will be counted. There were decent numbers of shorebirds with 11 species tallied. We had 3 species of owls, Great Horned, Eastern Screech-Owl and Barred. Other notable species found included 3 Osprey, 2 Bald Eagle, 3 Ruffed Grouse, 4 Eastern Whip-poor-will, and a whopping 18 Pileated Woodpeckers, clearly making a comeback throughout the county. Uncommon warblers counted included Louisiana Waterthrush, Golden-winged Warbler, a Brewster’s Warbler (hybrid of Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers), 5 Prothonotary Warblers, 12 Cerulean Warblers, and a Yellow-throated Warbler near the Saline River. The Prairie Warbler continued to sing for at least the 3rd year and was counted off of Hankerd Road, and 2 Yellow-breasted Chats were heard on count day. There were 86 individuals of my favorite bird, the Scarlet Tanager! For those interested, the complete listing of birds by Township is posted on our website.
I recently reviewed the results of the 2014 NAMC, which was published in the latest issue of the journal, Michigan Birds and Natural History. Our count of 183 species last year ranked 2nd in the state and first in the southern Lower Peninsula, only one species behind the top County in Michigan, Iosco, which was the highest species count ever recorded. For the 21st straight year we ranked #1 in the State in Party Hours, (286). Our number of Volunteers (70) and of individual birds counted (22,669) was top in the State last year as well. I know it is because of all of the fabulous volunteers we have here in Washtenaw County, that we are able to find so many species and birds, both this year and in previous years. Thanks to everyone who helped out, including our Area Leaders, Dave Borneman, Matty and Benjamin Hack, Ellie Shappirio, Dan Thiry, John Farmer, John Swales, Martin Bialecki, Roger Wykes, Sarah Toner and Mike Sefton. Special thanks to Diana Kern, who took over as a new Area Leader in Scio Township, and who, with her sister, Deb, has promised a much needed revision of all of our tallying forms for next year. I look forward to next year’s and I know I can rely upon all of your help again, and I will need it!!!!