Thursday, January 3, 2008

Christmas Season Summary

I guess it is time to reflect on the Christmas Bird Counts now that the holiday season is over. Weather was certainly a significant factor in the counts this year. Some had decent weather, while others had horrendous weather. Overall, the numbers of birds were down from previous years, but some species did reach record highs. I'll go over the counts that I participated in.
The first one was Kettle Point on December 15. It was quite cold and a bit breezy, but fairly decent weather-wise for a count. Total species for that count was 69, probably a bit above average. Likely the best bird on the count was an adult Golden Eagle that was observed by myself near Rock Glen. Hoary Redpolls were recorded on this count, just like almost every other count this year. Strangely, no Bohemian Waxwings, no Pine nor Evening Grosbeaks were tallied even though the Pinery area is good for them. I worked my usual area of Rock Glen CA and had the fewest number of birds ever.
The next day was supposed to be Rondeau/Blenheim. Needless to say, it had to be cancelled due to the snow storm. It was held one week later on the 23rd. Unfortunately, the weather was horrendous! Heavy rain and very high winds were the word of the day. As a result, numbers were down from average. One new bird for the count was an Eared Grebe at Erieau. Once again, I saw the fewest number of birds that I ever did in the south point trail area of Rondeau. I also had to check out south beach, and it was brutal! There was no beach to walk on due to the high waves. Wind gusts were up to 80 km/h.
However, when all the reports were in, 100 species was the total.
The day before on the 22nd, I worked the Port Huron CBC on the Canadian side. The weather was very pleasant with no wind and some sun. I did well with 38 species in my area, including 3 Gadwall ducks, and two Peregrine Falcons. I am told the species total for that CBC was 74.
The 22nd Wallaceburg CBC was held on December 27 in decent weather. It was cloudy for the most part, but a clear day for the count. I worked the south part of the circle as usual, and tallied my lowest number ever (no surprise!). I have been doing that area for 20 years, so I have some idea as to what to expect. The count ended up with 86 species which was very good. New for the count was Hoary Redpoll just like many other counts.
The final CBC was St. Clair NWA. Weather was poor for this one with high winds and periods of snow. However, the storm brought in record numbers of Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs. They seemed to be every where in big numbers! 14,592 Snow Buntings were recorded and 155 longspurs. Redpolls were plentiful as well with a record of 617. However, strange as it may seem, not one Hoary Redpoll was seen. The trusty Barn Owl was seen again, but not until the compiler was driving home! Many people have seen this bird over the years, but you have to be at the right place at the right time. A minute either way will make the difference! One new species for the count was Wild Turkey. The species total rang in at 81. Once again, I have to say that I saw the fewest birds ever in my designated area. Is there a trend here?
Anyway, CBC's are always fun and interesting and something to look forward to each year.
Butterfly counts are next!

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh Barn Owl..I have yet to see this beuatiful bird. Maybe 2008 will be more promising.
    I can't wait to go look for buterflies!!
    With this mild weather we are in for this coming week I wouldn't be surprised if I see some Horned Larks migrating north!!