[Ontbirds] 96th Hamilton Christmas Bird Count results

Rob Porter rob at inpictures.ca
Sun Jan 1 22:50:22 EST 2017

The 96th Hamilton Christmas Bird Count was held on December 26, 2016. The
count circle is centred upon Dundurn Castle, and is bounded by Christie
Lake in the west, Lake Ontario in the east, lower East Flamborough in the
north, and Hamilton International Airport in the south.

The count day was poor weather for counters, but decent weather for birds.
The forecast threatened rain-out conditions but held off with mostly just
light spitting rain until the mid-afternoon downpours. As a result a number
of counters had to remain home or spend less hours counting, but the vast
majority made it out and made an amazing effort to garner a higher count of
birds and species than the year previous.

In all, 86 participants spent just under 227 hours-effort to net 96
observed species on count day (plus another 8 within the count-week to
total 104 countable). A total of 43,838 birds in all were counted, which is
13,186 below the 10-year average and 22,776 below the 25-year average.

A number of new records were set in this year's count.

One record that many other CBCs in southern and eastern Ontario may relate
to was the shattering of the American Robin record, with a final tally of
2,499 counted -- just over 900 more than the previous record set in 2008.

For waterfowl, a new record was set for White-winged Scoters, with 1,147
counted, beating a record from 2004 by about 100. Also, two Red-throated
Loons were counted on the day, marking the first year we've had more than
one of these on count day.

For non-waterfowl fowl, the Wild Turkey has also seen a banner year, with
113 counted, our first three-digit turnout for this re-introduced species.

Two surprise records made this year: the Tufted Titmouse, with 11
individuals counted, beating a record of 8 way back in 1963; and the Fox
Sparrow which has been seen in only 1s or 2s throughout the count history
broke the trends with a total of 6 counted this year.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker is continuing its upward trends -- with a record
count of 90 individuals. This species first saw double-digits in 2003 (and
every year since) and shows no signs of relenting its upward trend.

Of no surprise at all, the Carolina Wren has set a new record for a third
year in a row, with 90 counted total this year, beating last year's record
of 64. Also of note, this species is not just increasing populations within
count zones that they were traditionally present, but being reported in
zones that they had never appeared in before.

This year's count also saw a couple rarities.

A Gray Catbird was found in Dundas Valley Conservation Area, which we have
not seen on count day since 2006.

An American Pipit was found along the shores of Hamilton Harbour -- this
species pops up every few years in the count, never more than one.

A lone Orange-crowned Warbler made an appearance on count day at Lasalle
Park in Burlington, however two others that had been seen previously (and
has been refound since) in Bayfront Park did not make an appearance on
count day.

A Northern Goshawk was found just off Highway 5 west of Clappison's Corners
on the count day.

What did we miss this year? Not much, but a few things...

Purple Finches made no appearances on count day or within the count week.
Of the traditional "winter finches" the best we could do was some
count-week Pine Siskins reported near Gage Park -- no redpolls or grosbeaks
this year.

Turkey Vultures were also missed -- though were noted within the circle a
day before and a day after count week, and were seen skirting close but not
within sight of the circle during count week.

Some counters noted that in recent years some well-known large European
Starling flocks have vanished, with counts for the species now in the low
thousands rather than in the tens of thousands.

Many duck species moved out of our circle before count day, and will
hopefully be caught in the Peach Tree circle on January 2.

Thanks to all the counters who year after year put up with the bad weather
this count tends to get!

The numbers:

Participants: 86
Hours-effort: 226.85 hours

Taxonomical results:

Species: 96
Spuhs/slashes: 7 (e.g. "gull sp." or "Cooper's/Sharp-shinned Hawk")
Hybrid species: 1
Count week species: 8

* = New highest record in count history (last 95 years)
** = Highest count in last 25 years
*** = Highest count in last 10 years
CW = Count Week species

Canada Goose      3,460
Mute Swan     90
Trumpeter Swan    177
*** Tundra Swan    78
Wood Duck    CW
Gadwall   81
*** American Black Duck    468
Mallard   3,466
American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid)    1
Northern Shoveler     177
Northern Pintail      5
Green-winged Teal     18
Canvasback    73
*** Redhead    143
*** Ring-necked Duck   172
Greater Scaup     2,875
Lesser Scaup      892
King Eider   CW
Harlequin Duck   CW
Surf Scoter   62
* White-winged Scoter     1,147
Black Scoter      6
Long-tailed Duck      4,510
Bufflehead    510
Common Goldeneye      2,094
Hooded Merganser      163
Common Merganser      567
Red-breasted Merganser    126
Ruddy Duck    25
duck sp.      5
* Wild Turkey     113
* Red-throated Loon   2
Common Loon   2
Pied-billed Grebe     3
** Horned Grebe   2
Red-necked Grebe      6
Double-crested Cormorant      86
Great Blue Heron      8
Black-crowned Night-Heron     5
Northern Harrier     CW
Sharp-shinned Hawk    3
Cooper's Hawk     19
Northern Goshawk      1
accipiter sp.     1
Bald Eagle    3
Red-tailed Hawk   98
Rough-legged Hawk     2
hawk sp.      1
American Coot     118
Ring-billed Gull      1,158
Herring Gull      824
Lesser Black-backed Gull      1
Glaucous Gull     3
Great Black-backed Gull   85
gull sp.      82
Rock Pigeon   2,172
Mourning Dove     916
Eastern Screech-Owl   4
Great Horned Owl      4
Long-eared Owl   CW
owl sp.   1
Belted Kingfisher     5
* Red-bellied Woodpecker      90
Downy Woodpecker      234
Hairy Woodpecker      83
Northern Flicker      6
Pileated Woodpecker   11
woodpecker sp.    1
American Kestrel      7
Merlin    5
Peregrine Falcon      3
Northern Shrike   1
Blue Jay      324
American Crow     638
Common Raven      1
Horned Lark  CW
Black-capped Chickadee    1,471
* Tufted Titmouse     11
Red-breasted Nuthatch     28
White-breasted Nuthatch   264
Brown Creeper     7
Winter Wren   19
* Carolina Wren   90
Golden-crowned Kinglet    23
Eastern Bluebird      33
*** Hermit Thrush      7
* American Robin      2,499
Gray Catbird      1
Northern Mockingbird      15
European Starling     4,116
American Pipit    1
Cedar Waxwing     438
*** Snow Bunting   290
Orange-crowned Warbler    1
Yellow-rumped Warbler    CW
American Tree Sparrow     555
* Fox Sparrow     6
Dark-eyed Junco   1,234
White-crowned Sparrow     7
White-throated Sparrow    49
Song Sparrow      37
Swamp Sparrow     3
Northern Cardinal     588
*** Red-winged Blackbird   34
Rusty Blackbird   2
Common Grackle    1
Brown-headed Cowbird      29
House Finch   280
Pine Siskin  CW
American Goldfinch    685
finch sp.     20
House Sparrow     2,531

TOTAL    43,898

Robert Gerald Porter

Hamilton Naturalists' Club / Field Events Director
Weever Apps / Chief Innovation Officer, Co-founder


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