Munster - Richmond - Manotick (ONRI) CBC
Dec 18th, 2021 - 6th count year
The total species count this year – 58 species – was surprisingly high
given the poor weather and lack of a finch invasion. In fact the count
week total of 64 species was a record high, 1 higher than in 2020. Overall
abundance of birds was 23% lower than in 2020, with 14,742 birds reported.
Still, 23 new abundance records were set, including 2 species new to the
count and another 2 species were reported for the first time in count
week. The all-time ONRI species list now stands at 75 species, 81 when
including count week reports.
Unlike last year, the weather was tough on both participants and birds.
Temperatures were moderate (-4.2 to -6.7), but a cold NE wind blew
throughout the day (15 to 32 km/hr) with driving snow beginning after
lunch. The result was that many participants retired early – birding
parties dropped from 27 in the morning to 17 in the afternoon – and just
25% of effort (time and distance) was expended after noon. The impact on
birds counted was more dramatic, with only 15% of birds reported in the
afternoon. And it appears that almost all species were found in the morning.
Still, afternoon birding efforts did pay off for a few birds –
Double-crested Cormorant, Eastern Bluebird and Bald Eagle were each
reported only from the snowy side of noon, the former two species being new
to the ONRI CBC count.
Firsts, Highs & Lows:
2021 brought our first reports of Double-crested Cormorant, and Eastern
Bluebird (a group of 6) on count day. Chipping Sparrow and Snow Goose were
reported during count week, also firsts for the ONRI circle.
Raptor numbers were generally high this year – record highs were reported
for 3 hawks and 3 owls, with 1 falcon and a 4th owl tying their previous
record highs. On the flip side, no Rough-legged Hawks, Kestrels or
Harriers were reported on count day.
Robin numbers were dramatically higher this year than in the past, with 230
reported vs a high of only 44 in past years. The abundance of wild grapes
was likely an important factor, attracting large flocks of birds in some
sectors. Surprisingly, waxwing numbers were greatly reduced from 2020, with
31 Cedar and only a single Bohemian observed.
The few misses were mostly as expected – no grosbeaks were found this year
and only a single crossbill (Red), compared to the large numbers of these
finches in last year’s invasion; redpolls were present but in much reduced
numbers. Other misses included a lack of lingering Belted Kingfishers or
Great Blue Herons, despite mostly open water along the rivers; Lapland
Longspur and Horned Lark were also absent.
Save the date – *Count Day for 2022 will be December 17th. *We are
optimistic we can re-introduce an in-person compilation meeting at the end
of count day, where we can share our stories and results. A repeat message
from last year – there is still room to find more Feeder Watchers for the
Count organizers Nina Stavlund, Tony Beck and Pete Blancher thank Derek
Dunnett, Tobi Kiesewalter, Erik Pohanka and Jeff Skevington for their
leadership in ONRI sectors. A big thank you to all participants for your
help in 2021, regardless of how much time you were able to contribute!