Sunday, December 23, 2007

More CBC's

I participated in another two Christmas Bird Counts this weekend. Port Huron was on Saturday, and Rondeau/Blenheim on Sunday.

The Port Huron CBC extends into Canada including Sarnia and down to Mooretown on the St. Clair River. I had never done that count before because it always conflicted with another count in the area in the past. It is close to home, and I know the Sarnia area, so it was nice to do. I was given the southern portion on the Canadian side.

The weather was quite pleasant, and the birds co-operated. I came up with 38 species in four hours, so that was rather respectable. The best species was Peregrine Falcon. Ducks included, Mallard, Gadwall (3), Canvasback, Redhead, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Long-tailed Duck, and all three mergansers. That seems pretty standard for the river in winter. Even the Gadwall (the best duck species) is not too unusual for the river as there always are a few on the St. Clair in winter.

A large flock of Redpolls (~175) was nice near the end of my count. No Hoary though!

Sunday at Rondeau was a different story. The count was supposed to be last week, but due to the snowstorm, it had to be postponed. The weather was absolutely horrible again this time! It rained all morning with very strong winds. At noon the winds picked up even more, probably gusting up to 80 km/h at times. At least the sun came out for a while around noon.

However, birds remained scarce, and one certainly could not hear anything!

As a result, numbers of birds were rather low. Many things were missed that were probably there. Preliminary species total was at 94, but there were still some reports to come in. We should have broken 100 species, but if the weather had co-operated, we may have done that.

There was a huge number of Bonaparte's Gulls. They were going by all day long, and by sunset they had collected at Erieau numbering about 10,000.

A new species for the count history was spotted by Alan Wormington Mark Jennings. An Eared Grebe was in the channel at Erieau!

I worked south point trail and south beach in the park. It was miserable at times in the wind and rain. Strangely, at the count wrap-up, I found out I had the only Hairy Woodpecker for the count! That tells you something about the day! (Perhaps another will be added when all the reports are in.)

The photos show the south beach around noon when the sun was out.

News just in on Christmas Day, that species total for the Rondeau/Blenheim CBC was 100!!

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