[Ontbirds] Ottawa/Gatineau-December 18, 2014-Recent reports

Gregory Zbitnew k_zbitnew2 at bell.net
Thu Dec 18 17:39:43 EST 2014


Ottawa Field Naturalists' ClubOttawa/Gatineau (National Capital Region) E. Ontario, W. QuebecCompiler and transcriber:Greg Zbitnew at k_zbitnew2 at bell.net or sightings at ofnc.ca Recent reports to December 18, 2014 
The highlight this week was the annual Ottawa-Gatineau Christmas Bird Count which took place December 14, 2014.  Favorable conditions (15 cm of snow on the ground, rivers and most creeks partly open, no wind or precipitation and a temperature of +1) gave us an above average count of 77, with 10 or 11 high records (including one new to the count), and 4 tied records.  There were about 100 participants. 
Average temperatures and snowfall in the previous weeks resulted in expected low tallies for some birds such as Canada Goose and gulls, and only singles or doubles of waterfowl not normally wintering.  Also as expected, the winter finch totals were quite low, but five of the possible eight (present were Pine Grosbeak, Purple Finch, Common Redpoll, Evening Grosbeak and Pine Siskin; absent were Hoary Redpoll and both crossbills) were nonetheless present.  However, there were an unusual number of lingering passerines which contributed to our above average tally.   
Common Goldeneye numbers may have set a record of 836 (preliminary total).  Singles of Pied-billed Grebe (tied the record), Northern Pintail, Long-tailed Duck and Lesser Scaup were noted, while two each of Greater Scaup, Hooded Merganser and Wood Duck were seen, aside from the other normal wintering waterfowl.  Only a single Ruffed Grouse was seen, continuing a long-term decline, while Wild Turkey numbers set a record of 143, continuing a long-term increase. 
Two Great Blue Heron were seen which was normal, but the rarest sighting for the count was another in this bird order, a (juvenile) Black-crowned Night-Heron in Aylmer, new to the count.  
Record numbers of Hairy, Downy, and Pileated Woodpecker were seen, possibly reflecting the enormous numbers of dead and dying White Ash trees all over the region.  Adding to the good woodpecker tally were a Northern Flicker in Hull, a Three-toed Woodpecker in Aylmer, three Black-backed Woodpecker, and two Red-bellied Woodpecker (Hull and Gloucester sectors, which tied the previous record).   
Singles of Carolina Wren (Hull) and Winter Wren (Aylmer) were noted. White breasted Nuthatch numbers (472) set a new record, as did the numbers of Hermit Thrush (10), while Gray Catbird tied the previous record of two.  There were record totals of White-throated Sparrow (38), Dark-eyed Junco (516) and Northern Cardinal (615). Small numbers of Song Sparrow (6) and White-crowned Sparrow (2) were present, but there were no blackbirds.  Finally, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Hull tied the previous record.  
Please note that all numbers mentioned in this report are preliminary, subject to error correction, late reports, addition of feeder totals, and correction for overlap especially for waterfowl.  Official numbers will be posted on the OFNC website in the new year.  
Outside of the Ottawa-Gatineau count circle, there were some other notable sightings: 
1. The Turkey Vulture which lingered at trail road in late November-early December was found recently dead on the 15th.  This is one of the latest records for the district. 2. 2500 Snow Goose east of Russell on the 15th.  3. Lapland Longspur on Rushmore Road on the 13th. 4. Red-shouldered Hawk in Gatineau Park on the 12th. 
Due to increasing and widespread concerns regarding disturbance of wildlife and property, the OFNC's Birds Committee no longer reports owl sightings on the Internet. We will continue to encourage the reporting of owls to sightings at ofnc.ca for the purpose of maintaining local records. Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations.Good birding.      		 	   		  



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