Only 19 people reported their sightings for this year’s 35th annual Lake Windermere District Christmas Bird Count. However, they recorded 2,347 individual birds and 48 species.
Some of the highlights include the following: Dean and Bill Nicholson patiently counted 1,033 Mallards in the open water around Athalmer. Then Linda Frater added one more, bringing the mallard count to an all-time high of 1,034. Dean and Bill also observed 12 Great Blue Herons, which matches their record high. A Rusty Blackbird and Green-winged Teal also made an appearance in the Athalmer sloughs, which is only the third time that these birds have made the count.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch was the most commonly seen bird and Doug McLaughlin still maintains the record for the greatest diversity of birds seen from his home in Wilmer — 21 species. Doug also counted one red squirrel, three coyotes, eight mule deer and 65 elk. Trevor Kinley added one more mammal when he spotted a set of cougar tracks while counting birds on the Toby benches.
Two birds that didn’t make the count but were seen during the week were a Chestnut-backed spotted by John Pitcher and Larry Halverson had a White-crowned Sparrow show up at his bird feeder.
—Contributed by Larry Halverson