Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wallaceburg CBC 2016

Today, December 27, was the Wallaceburg Christmas Bird Count.  This count has been ongoing since 1986 and I have participated in all but the first!
It turned out fairly well, but "landbirds" were rather scarce.  Yesterday we had 12 degrees and heavy rain which got rid of all the snow!  Colder weather and a bit of snow always seems to help this count.
I did my usual area (everything south of Langstaff Line) and started at Bear Creek Marsh.  That is always a good starting point, but it is also a popular spot for hunters to launch their craft on the Snye.  Usually there is nobody there, but 15 trucks with trailers made parking at a premium!

We started off with a couple of good birds including a Belted Kingfisher (normal for there) and a flyover Snowy Owl. Some Red-winged Blackbirds flew over.

creek west of Wallaceburg at the Bishop property

I went off on my own and sent Janet and Patrick to do the area south of Wallaceburg.
One of my walks revealed a flock of 6 American Robins.

It is a Pied-billed!

Along the Snye adjacent to St. Anne's Island, I found 3 Pied-billed Grebes.  There were actually quite a few grebes recorded on the count today.  As a side note, recently, I found an error in eBird maps which indicates St. Anne's Island is in Chatham-Kent. However, it is part of Walpole Island in Lambton County. Hopefully that will be corrected some day in the future.

There was not much at Stewart Wetland due to the early winter which sent things elsewhere. However, a lone Long-tailed Duck (as well as a drake Redhead) were on the Snye to make things interesting. Not often we see one off the St. Clair River.

A pair of Northern Harriers was in the area as well.

male feeding on something

Not far away, I found a good variety of birds at the property where I used to work.  Included was a Tufted Titmouse.
There is a small pond there which I remember used to attract an incredible number and variety of ducks in the early spring.

Down Langstaff Line, I found the group of 18 Sandhill Cranes.  Luckily they had stuck around! There was only one other Sandhill on the count, on Walpole Island.

The rest of my day was not too eventful.

female Harrier feeding on a mouse

The count saw some good birds such as a Northern Mockingbird and Brown Thrasher on Walpole Island, a Black Scoter on the big river and an American Woodcock at McKellar Tract.  The woodcock was a first for this count.  22 Snow Geese on Walpole was a new and significant high.

Total species tallied was 82 as revealed at the compilation and meal at Vermilion Flycatcher headquarters (Georgette Cornelis residence!).


  1. It was a good day, wasn't it....but as usual, somewhat surprising by what was seen and also somewhat surprising by what seemed to be in very low numbers.

    1. Every day is different. I think if we had the weather of Christmas Day, numbers would have been higher!