Counted on Tuesday, 12/19/2017. Results Coming Soon

The Northern Neck Audubon Society is a sponsor of the event for the second year in a row.  This is part of the 118th National Audubon Christmas Bird that has close to 75,000 participants in the United States, Canada and other area of the Western Hemisphere.  2,536 separate Christmas Bird Count “circles”are included in the 117th Christmas Bird Count database. 

At the inaugural Northumberland-Lancaster Christmas Bird Count in 2016 ninety-one (91) species were recorded by the 37 participants.  

The Christmas Bird Count circle covers most of the eastern portions of the two counties. The “circle” includes ample opportunities to observe shore birds and waterfowl along the Chesapeake Bay and associated wetlands as well as a wide variety of birds found in the forests, farms, vineyards, three Natural Area Preserves, and towns in Northumberland and Lancaster Counties on the Northern Neck of Virginia.  The count circle is divided into 9 sectors. Sector leaders establish meeting times for their sectors.  A mid-afternoon “reception, take-a-break, and compiling" session is planned.  

Novice Birders are welcomed and will be paired with experienced birders. 

The birds await our arrival, some will be hiding, find and count them!

Map of the Circle


The Checklist

A one page list of birds that are probable/possible for our circle on the Northern Neck.   If you encounter birds that are not on this list please record them.  To keep this to one page a few birds from Audubon’s Master List are omitted.

Audubon’s Master List

The “Big” Audubon list of nearly 250 species for the Northumberland-Lancaster CBC circle to study any of the birds left off of the one page check list.  The Audubon List also varies slightly from the E-Birds expected list of birds for the Northern Neck in December.

Audubon Master List for the Northumberland-Lancaster CBC

Historic Counts in the CBC Area

Links for two eBird Bar charts of birds seen in each of the two counties from November to February for the last 20 Years.  Though the Christmas Bird Count Circle is smaller than the area of the two counties the bar charts are very representative of the birds that could be found on the 19th.  

Northumberland County Link

Lancaster County Link

Even in under-birded areas like Northumberland 145 species and (+19 other Taxa) and in Lancaster 131 species and (+18 other Taxa) were reported.  Some pretty exciting birds were reported over the years during this winter period.

Attached are two files which were submitted to Audubon containing the final count info the 2016 Northumberland-Lancaster CBC.  In 2016 we recorded 91 species and counted 8936 birds.  The files also provide some hints on what to look for based on the 2016 count. This year we need to record a double crested cormorant or we may all be banished from bird counts forever.

Historic Results

Count Summary

Northumberland-Lancaster Christmas Bird Count Area:

  • Covers the eastern end of the Northern Neck and portions of Northumberland and Lancaster County

  • The “Circle” borders the widest part of Chesapeake Bay and is an area of the Atlantic Flyway that is “under-birded”

Center of Circle:

  • GPS Coordinates
    37.76367, -76.378136

  • A farm field .7 miles WSW of the intersection of (Mary Ball Highway) RTE 200 and RTE 606 (Shiloh School Road)

General Habitat Description:

  • Shoreline of Chesapeake Bay, Salt and Fresh Water Marshes, Tidal rivers and Creeks, Forest, Farmland, Fishing Villages, Small Towns, and Shoreline Residential Areas.  Circle includes State Natural Area Preserves, Public Lands and Forests, State trail networks, and other preserved lands allowing public access. 


  • 9 with teams of 3 to 5 birders

Planning Time:

  • Between Sunrise and 3:00PM


  • Focused on Public and Private Lands

  • Includes Feeder Watch

  • Morning Owl Crawl

  • Afternoon Gathering Point and Compiling Session


Jeff Wright 703-801-0239

Ipswich Sparrows

We have been asked to support a university project related to Ipswich Sparrows. Our role in addition to finding and identifying this gem of a bird would be to also see if we could spot any banding markers on the bird. 

Here is the text from the original request.


I'm a graduate student working with scientists at Dalhousie and Acadia Universities (eastern Canada), and scientists in Virginia, on Ipswich Sparrows.

Part of this research is a demographic study. We have banded 260 sparrows with coloured bands and are now faced with the challenge of locating these sparrows again ("re-sighting") on their wintering grounds in the eastern USA. We are a small team and recruiting citizen scientists to help re-sight sparrows is essential.

The Christmas Bird Count presents a unique opportunity to have birders in the eastern USA re-sight sparrows. As coordinator for the Northumberland-Lancaster count, it would be appreciated if you could forward the attached poster to participants in your sector! The poster gives an overview of our research and explains how to report banded sparrows.

If nothing else, we hope looking for banded Ipswich Sparrows will present a fun challenge to CBC participants. Birders are also encouraged to look for banded sparrows throughout the winter.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or would like more information.


Sydney Bliss
M.Sc candidate
Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS