Here is some information about the Christmas Bird Counts on Ocracoke & Portsmouth Islands that many of our readers will enjoy:
The 2009 Christmas Bird Count on Portsmouth was on Wednesday, Dec. 30. The Ocracoke Count was Thursday, Dec. 31.
Christmas Bird Counts began in 1900 as an opportunity for people to get out and identify and count birds during a 24-hour period. They take place throughout North America and, increasingly, in many other parts of the world during the last couple of weeks of the year and tens of thousands volunteers help out.
The Ocracoke count was started by Peter Vankevich and Bob Russell back in 1981; and they added Portsmouth Island in 1988. Last year, 101 species were reported on Ocracoke. This year only 85 species were sighted, but it was dreary and overcast. The traditional chili/key lime pie tally-rally for both counts was held Thursday evening (6:30 PM) at Pete’s place called appropriately enough, the Myrtle Warbler, located in Widgeon Woods near the lighthouse.
If you are interested in participating next year (either on Ocracoke, or elsewhere) Pete says that good observational skills are welcome but you don’t have to be an expert to participate as beginners will be placed with more experienced birders.
Here is the contact information for our local Bird Count (I think Peter would put you on his mailing list if you are interested for next year): petevankevich at gmail dot com, or 252 928-2539 for further details.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news113009.htm.