December 30: Today our group conducted the annual bird count in our assigned territory of Wellington, Lantana, Hypoluxo, and west Boynton Beach. Every year more of the best formerly-productive habitat is rendered unattractive to, and unsupportive of, wild bird habitation, while simultaneously being cordoned off, frankly developed, or otherwise no longer accessible to us for survey. For example, the northeast corner of route 441 and Boynton Beach Blvd., where two years ago we counted numerous species including several Grasshopper Sparrows and three Snail Kites, is now the site of the new Bethesda Hospital with its acres of paved parking. This year we had just one lone Grasshopper Sparrow and not a single Snail Kite anywhere in our entire territory. In 2010 the total species count was 93, in 2011 it was 86, and this year just 83. The trend speaks for itself, and development continues unabated.
There were no rarities, but we had two adult Bald Eagles and a Ruddy Duck, both good species for Palm Beach County, and there were nine Roseate Spoonbills and seven warbler species including this photogenic Yellow-throated Warbler.