This is the biggest Citizen Science project undertaken by many nature clubs. People drive around in cars, walk sometimes, check out feeders, ask friends to check out their feeders too, and eventually, after the potluck, at the evening Tally we come up with a list, which we submit to Bird Studies Canada.
There are different challenges every year.
This year the driving was easy, there was very little snow, but the fog lasted until almost noon. As we looked out into the fog, we wondered how many birds were hidden to us. Most years we check out feeders, where the birds congregate, and this is a major part of our numbers. This year the birds didn’t pay much attention to the feeders, since there was ample food in the cedars, or under the leaves on the ground.
Nevertheless, we recorded 55 species. This included 3 species that have never been recorded on a Christmas Bird Count here, since 1981.They are a Shoveler ( a type of duck), a Turkey Vulture, and a Greater White-fronted Goose. Red-bellied Woodpeckers had a new high for the count, of 13.
The bird count is almost finished for another year, but anything seen until Tuesday (that was not recorded in the tally) can be added to the list as a count week bird –that means that they are in the vicinity, and therefore significant.
Fern Spichal is a master organizer, Ron Reid led the tally, and Warren Ryckman presided over a great Pot Luck. Thanks to everyone who made this a success.
Photos in the field from Cathy Bernatavicius, Bill Sherwood and Heather Ewing. Photos of the Pot Luck from Denis Pacagnella.
For those who are interested in details of the more interesting data:
Wild Turkeys –86
Great Blue Heron –3
Bald Eagle –2
Snowy Owl –1
Barred owl –8
Belted Kingfisher –2
Woodpeckers –Red-bellied –10
Pileated – 4
Northern Shrike –3
Raven- 1 seen and heard on Sunday ( count week)
Red-breasted Nuthatch –25, which was a new high.
White-breasted Nuthatch –95, which also was a new high.
Brown Creeper –3, a new high for the count
Northern Cardinal –47, a new high
American Tree Sparrow –16
Lingering sparrows were: White-crowned –1
Song Sparrow –2
Pine grosbeak –4
House finch -9
Evening Grosbeak –36
Common Redpoll 3
House Sparrow –87
Notable misses were Rough-legged Hawks, and Purple Finches.
A compete list is available in print if requested.
Records have been kept since 1981 and the total number of species in our count area, centered on Bass Lake is 138, including the 3 new species found this year.
Northern Shrike photographed in the fog by Heather Ewing
|Greater White-fronted Goose, found and photographed by Bob Bowles – new to the list, and probably a lot of people would like to add this to their Life List.|
|Snowy Owl in the fog||Barred Owl|