Saturday, December 29, 2007

Recent Birding

Another Christmas Bird Count (CBC) has come and gone! Wallaceburg's was held on December 27 under gray skies. Final tally at the end of the day revealed that we had come in at 86 species. That was an excellent total, including one new species for the count history. Hoary Redpoll was added. It was seen in only a flock of about eight redpolls! I think it was no surprise since practically every other count in southern Ontario is recording this northern visitor. As I mentioned before, it is likely to be a record year for this species.

Another new species, Evening Grosbeak (4), was seen two days prior to the count. Therefore, it can be included in count week. For some reason these grosbeaks never stay in one spot. Every one that I have seen or heard of in this area is only seen for one day. I have had singles here on three occasions, and they were only one day wonders. That seems to apply to Purple Finches as well.
Finch types are rare around Wallaceburg. Purple Finches have only been recorded three times on the CBC. Evening Grosbeaks, never. Crossbills, never. (although I have had White-winged in the yard on two occasions). Redpolls are only recorded in irruption years. Pine Siskins have been recorded only six times, including this year. (I usually get them at my feeder, and this year was no exception).
Other good birds on the Wallaceburg count included Cackling Goose (1), Surf Scoter (2), Saw-Whet Owl (2), Common Loon (1), Pileated Woodpecker (only the third time).
Some types of birds were rather scarce. Hardly any gulls were around. As I always say, they like cold weather and ice, and it has just been too mild the last two weeks.

Swans are always increasing in numbers. More and more Mute Swans are seen every winter on the St. Clair River. Tundra Swans now winter regularly on the big river. They never used to.

Our highest species total ever was 89 in 2005, so this year was very good considering the fact that some birds was rather scarce.

The Rondeau/Blenheim CBC managed to scrape up 100 species when all was said and done. We could not win with the weather this year, and that was certainly a significant factor. However, 100 species is an excellent total.
The last CBC in the area is St. Clair on January 1. It relies heavily on waterfowl. With the recent mild weather, there should be some open water to hold ducks and geese and water-related birds.

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