A great horned owl was one of more than 60 species observed in the annual New Year’s Day bird count.

A great horned owl was one of more than 60 species observed in the annual New Year’s Day bird count.

Birders spot 62 species in count

Participants trod though farmers fields and barns in “thick, oozy, sucking, dark mud” to tally wild birds in the area

The White Rock, Surrey, Langley Christmas Bird Count proved to be a great success this year, taking place on a  mostly dry day, with many interesting incidents in the search for thousands of birds.

Teams were out at their designated areas at first light and by dusk were assembling to tally their sheets, chat to the other teams, see who got the highest count, and hear what interesting tidbits each group had to report.

Anne Gosse of the Langley Field Naturalists said that one group of birders trod though several farmers fields and three barns in “thick, oozy, sucking, dark mud” to reach a barn owl to include in their count.

Another group ended up on a road near a police stakeout and were then stalked by the police themselves, until they were recognized as Christmas bird counters, not individuals of a suspicious nature.

“Another hardy group crawled over and under barbed wire fences, snagging their pants, and were grabbed by brambles, nearly falling into ponds, jumping ditches and rummaging around under fir trees in their search,” Gosse said.

In the end, the most prominent bird seen in the Langley area was the Canada goose, nibbling away in all farmers’ fields, while one of the most elusive birds was the white crown sparrow.

The bird watchers counted 62 different species and sighted 8,327 birds, Gosse said