The Upper Swan Valley Christmas Bird Count was held on December 15th. Clouds gave way to blue sky with breaks of sun, and participants enjoyed mild temperatures in the mid 30s. Snow conditions varied widely from the valley bottom (elevation ~3600’, snow depth 2”) to the mountains, where skiers and snowshoers encountered fresh powder up to 8” deep. 

Our 15 intrepid birders found 287 birds across 23 species, with black-capped chickadees topping the per species tally at 84 individuals. Most wetlands and lakes were frozen, but the Swan River and local creeks were flowing enough to be relied on for some count week Dippers. Particular highlights of our count included flocks of Bohemian waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks, and even a Great Gray Owl. 

We’re thankful for all our participants, and we’re proud to continue the CBC tradition in the Upper Swan Valley. 

Rob Rich, Compiler