[Ontbirds] St. Clair NWA CBC results

Allen Woodliffe awoodliffe at hotmail.com
Sat Jan 3 14:56:40 EST 2015

The 35th St. Clair NWA CBC was held on January 1, 2015.
The count circle includes the extensive wetlands along the east side of Lake
St. Clair, a significant part of Lake St. Clair itself, thousands of acres of
open farmland as well as the Thames River, large drainage canals and the northwest corner of Chatham. There is
very little woodland present. With the goose hunting season extending into
January again, some of the best and largest wetland properties were not
available this year.

The weather was challenging, with winds fairly steady between 30-40 km/hr,
gusting occasionally to 60 km/hr. Combined with temperatures ranging from -7C
to -3C, the wind chill was at times around -18C. As a result, many land birds
were hunkered down making it difficult to either see or hear them. Nonetheless,
a dozen birders ventured out into the elements. 

A total of 80 species was tabulated, which is equivalent to the average of the
previous decade.

Open water is critical to recording higher numbers of birds for this count,
since the diversity of water birds and particularly waterfowl depends on it. We
tabulated 22 species of waterfowl, totalling more than 15100 individuals, with
Mallard, Canada Goose and Tundra Swan leading the way. Of interest were 19 Snow
Geese, including 11 blue phase.

There were no new species for this count. The cumulative total since inception
remains at 137 species. We did obtain new high numbers (previous highs in
parentheses) for:

Northern Shoveler--61 (45)

Wild Turkey--19 (15)

Snowy Owl--15 (9)

As expected with the high winds, numbers of some species were quite low,
including Horned Lark (63), Snow Bunting (5), Black-capped Chickadee (1), Golden-crowned
Kinglet (6), Swamp Sparrow (3) and White-throated Sparrow (1).

The weather did not affect the number of American Crows, however. The likely
conservative estimate of 134,000 was more than 6 times the number of all other species combined, but below our
all-time high of 159,860 crows recorded in 2000.

Notable misses, which have been recorded on 50% or more of the first 34 years,
included: Wood Duck, Canvasback, Northern Shrike, Carolina Wren, Lapland
Longspur, Rusty Blackbird and Brewer's Blackbird.

Allen Woodliffe-compiler



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