The Bald Head Island Conservancy and volunteers assisted with the Audubon Society’s 2022 Christmas Bird Count on January 1, 2023. Sixty-five bird species were identified in Bald Head Island’s diverse habitats. Our first species of 2023 was an American Woodcock, strutting along Federal Road through the fog in the pre-dawn light. Other species of note included a Prairie Warbler spotted on the golf course (uncommon this time of year), distinctive Black-and-White Warblers, and a Sedge Wren. A cute Palm Warbler with its bobbing tail was walking along South Bald Head Wynd near the Villas.
Many raptor species were spotted, including Coopers Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, a Red-shouldered Hawk (mostly near the golf course), and a stunning Northern Harrier keeping an eye on us at the Ibis Pond. Six species of gull, many Forster’s terns, Double-crested Cormorants, and Killdeer were present on the beaches, despite disruption by dogs and walkers enjoying the New Year’s Day sunshine. Other species spotted included shorebirds such as the Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover, and Willet; waterbirds such as Ring-Necked Ducks, Ruddy Ducks, and Pied-billed Grebes; and great numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers and Cedar Waxwings.
Participants in the BHI count included Jamie Adams, Bob Cowan, and Beth Darrow. Special thanks to Jamie Adams for his wonderful pictures, which you can view here. The Christmas Bird Count has run since 1900, making it the nation’s longest-running community science bird count. Bald Head Island is a part of the Southport Circle.