Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wallaceburg CBC December 29

Yesterday was the 27th Wallaceburg Christmas Bird Count.  Despite too much snow, it turned out quite well with 84 species tallied (highest count was 89 in 2005).  No new species found, although there was some question about a couple of swans on the St. Clair River.
Feeders were busy and birds were more concentrated due to the deep snow.

Some species were low in numbers, but some were high!  For example, Red-breasted Nuthatches were coming to feeders and we came up with a total of 9.  One may ask, "is that all"?  This species is always scarce in our area and quite often we miss it.  Previous high was 6 in 2003.
As well, Red-bellied Woodpeckers were popular with 50 found.  Previous high was 40.

Another feeder bird was Chipping Sparrow.
We did well with sparrows as a Savannah Sparrow was found at a roadside scrape (typical), and a couple of Fox Sparrows on Walpole Island.  All the other usual sparrows were seen.
Best sparrow was a Vesper on Walpole Island. We had this once before in 1993.
A meadowlark (presumably Eastern) was recorded along Pretty Road.  We have only had that twice before, the last in 2001!
Blackbirds were almost absent, but two Brewer's were found on Walpole, a usual locale.  We always record Rusty and Red-winged as well as Common Grackle.  Yellow-headed was last seen in 2001.

I checked out my usual assigned area in the south part of the circle with Maris Apse and Josh Bouman.  Our most interesting find was a Long-tailed Duck in a creek!  It was totally unexpected to see it at that particular location.
(photo by Josh Bouman)

Long-tailed has been a good species to get on our count.  It was in count week the very first year, but not tallied until 2008.  It has increased its presence since then and we have seen it every year since except last year where it was CW.  We had a record high this time around.
Ducks were very low in numbers this year, not surprisingly.  Many misses!
 The only and lonely Ring-necked Duck of the count

Some buffies

Two Cacklers of the goose population were on the river this day.

Merlins were seen; there were 2 which is ties the previous high.  To my eyes, this species has increased its winter presence in Ontario the last few years.
No Peregrine, and Kestrels were low in numbers this year.

Also of note, two Red-headed Woodpeckers were found on Walpole Island.  We used to get them quite regularly, but their population has crashed in Ontario.  We last recorded one in 2005.
Pileated Woodpecker was found at the trusty Public Bush location on Walpole.  We never recorded this species until 2003.  With the lack of woodlots (and they are still being chopped down!)  in this part of the province, it is not surprising.
We always do well in Tufted Titmouse with the Walpole Island population.  A few others were recorded inland too.
Chickadees were high in number as expected.

No warblers this year, which seems to be the trend this winter (except Oakville!).

At one point, we watched a couple of mink playing around on the Snye.  Of course muskrats were busy too.

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