January 3, 2015: Today we conducted our annual bird count here in the Boynton Beach – Hyploluxo – Wellington section of Palm Beach County. We tallied some 75 species, but once again this year the dwindling number of passerines was undeniable. For example, whereas just a few years ago we had a number of productive sparrow fields in our assigned canvassing area, today our complete sparrow count in the entire territory was a grand total of three individual birds. One sparrow field is now part of Bethesda Hospital West, a second has been bulldozed for yet another new gated community, and a third is now a new polo field. The birds are gone, gone, gone, and it’s more than sad because these disappearing sparrows are the canary in a much larger coal mine, and no one seems to take note.
There were no particular rarities, although an American Wigeon and several small groups of Lesser Scaup were uncommon for the area. The most unusual observation actually turned out to be a Great Blue Heron trying unsuccessfully to swallow a large turtle.