[Ontbirds] Pickering Christmas Bird Count Jan. 2/11

Steve LaForest s.m.laforest at gmail.com
Mon Jan 10 22:37:27 EST 2011

*Pickering Christmas Bird Count January 2, 2011*

Pickering held its 58th Christmas Bird Count on Sunday January 2, 2011.  A
total of 69 species were counted, well up from last year’s 62 species.  The
number of individual birds tallied was 21, 606, an increase of 14% over our
previous CBC.  There were 25 field observers and 7 feeder watchers.

New for the count was Peregrine Falcon, with 2 birds seen.  This was only
our third year for Common Raven, with 2 birds seen on this CBC.  Highest-ever
counts were made for Horned Grebe – 3 (previous maximum of 1, seen on 5
previous counts), American Crow – 722 (previous maximum of just 478 on Jan.
3, 2009), Red-breasted Nuthatch – 23 (previous maximum of 18 on Dec. 17,
2006) and Carolina Wren – 2 (ties maximum of Dec. 26, 1993, singles were
seen on 5 previous counts). The tally for American Black Duck (175) was the
highest in 23 years.  A second-highest tally was made for Trumpeter Swan –
12 (maximum of 13 on Dec. 28, 2003).

Other sightings of interest included Green-winged Teal – 1 (seen on 3
previous counts), Bald Eagle – 1 (seen on 5 previous counts), Bohemian
Waxwing – 21 (seen on 5 previous counts), White-winged Scoter – 1 (seen on 7
previous counts), American Coot – 1 (seen on 8 previous counts), Redhead – 1
(seen on 9 previous counts), Northern Pintail – 2 (seen on 11 previous
counts) and Hooded Merganser – 1 (seen on 12 previous counts),

The weather was mild with temperatures just slightly below freezing and
light winds.  Our snow cover had recently vanished in rain showers.  As a
result, feeder birds and ‘snow’ species were in short supply.  Notable
misses on this CBC included Red-breasted Merganser (seen on 30 previous
counts), Great Horned Owl (seen on 37 previous counts), Pileated Woodpecker
(seen on 34 previous counts) and Song Sparrow (seen on 43 previous counts).
Our most disappointing miss this year was paradoxically a species that has
never been recorded on our CBC.  A Wood Thrush at Lynde Shores C.A. woodlot
was present well into late December, but apparently vanished just prior to
the count!

We had low tallies (Hooray!) on this CBC for two undesirable alien species:
Mute Swan – 3, and House Sparrow – 155 (second lowest in 48 years!).  The
tally for American Tree Sparrow (173) was the lowest in 43 years.

Count week observations included Wild Turkey (seen annually on CBC since
Dec. 28, 2003), Barred Owl (seen on 17 previous counts) and Northern
Mockingbird (seen on 9 of our last 11 counts).

Many thanks to all of the counters and feeder watchers, and especially to
our hosts for the wrap-up, Jonathan and Rosemary Oliver.  Our hard-working
CBC compiler is Glenda Jones.

Pickering is located immediately east of Toronto.  It extends from the
shores of Lake Ontario north to the Oak Ridges moraine.  The count area
incorporates the neighbouring community of Ajax, as well as portions of
Lynde Shores Conservation Area, including Cranberry Marsh.

Sorry for the late posting.

Steve LaForest

Pickering Naturalists

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