This report represents a 2-year pre-construction survey of the Clipper Windpower Criterion Project on Backbone Mountain near the towns of Loch Lynn Heights and Oakland, Maryland. It is divided into 3 sections with similar Introduction and Study Area descriptions. The first 2 sections report on birds that migrate and are active during the day, while the last section reports on bats. Nocturnal birds that breed on Backbone Mountain as well as nocturnal migrants were not directly surveyed by our protocols.
The first section, I. Point Count Surveys , provides information on bird species and their abundances on the project area during spring and fall migrations and during the breeding season in 2003 and 2004. Data were collected at 42 point counts (PCs) by experienced observers. Points were distributed systematically and linearly along the crest of Backbone Mountain in forest within the project area. If any gaps occurred in coverage , they were likely due to private landowners who were either not involved with the project and/or would not grant us access to their property. Results are presented in several Tables by season and year. Table 5 identifies 3 rare, threatened, or endangered bird species observed or heard on the area and their locations.
The second section, II. Observational Surveys, identifies bird species and numbers flying over the project site at 4 observational survey (OS) points. Experienced observers recorded the passage of birds during 0.5-hour intervals at different times of the day throughout the spring, summer, and fall of each year, 2003 and 2004. Individual birds or flocks were categorized by their relative position on Backbone Mountain using different topographic descriptions. Birds were then grouped and passage rates of different groups plotted against zones of risk. Zones of risk represent qualitative probabilities or rankings of strike potential in the vicinity of hypothetical wind turbines on the crest of Backbone Mountain. Results are presented in several Figures identifying the different times of the day (morning, midday, and late afternoon), the 3 seasons, and the 2 years.
The third section, III. Bat Surveys, presents the occurrence of different bat species on the project area. We used mist nets at 3 OS points in September 2003, May 2004, and June 2004; and bat detectors at 4 OS points in September 2003 and May 2004. Bat detectors were used at all 42 PCs in June 2004. No state or federally listed bat species were captured or detected on Backbone Mountain. A review of the literature as it pertains to the occurrence on Backbone Mountain of the rare small-footed myotis (Myotis leibii) and endangered Indiana bat (M. sodalis) can be found in the Discussion.