CBC Fisherville count results

Compiled by: Linda Thrower

The Fisherville Christmas Bird Count was held on December 28th, 2014.

For the end of December the weather was amazing. No snow to speak of, nice clear roads, open water, temperatures above freezing and low winds. I could not have asked for better weather. Well, maybe the glare off the lake could have been less, which would have allowed for a few more waterfowl to be counted. You would have thought with the weather like that the birds would have been easier to find, but I guess with the water and the fields being open the birds were spread out rather than all bunching up. I know we had to beat the bushes to get a few species that are usually an easy find in the winter. But thanks to the awesome birders who were nice enough to take the time to do this count, 77 species were counted.

Here are a few highlights: Square 5 found 4 Horned Grebes which is a first time for this species since 2005. Square 4 found 7 Sandhill Cranes which had not been seen since 2011 when 10 were seen in the same square. Great Blue Herons were seen in their lowest numbers since this count began with only 2 being counted. Even at the Ontario Power Generation Plant where there always were good numbers of herons, none were found after last year’s lake freeze.

Canada Goose had the lowest numbers since 2007, 2761 were seen. Square 9’s keen eyes found 1 Cackling Goose at this count, 4 were found last year. Square 4 found the only 2 Mute Swans of this count, which is up one from last year’s count. But the Tundra Swans were out enjoying this day and the open water with their highest number since this count began with an amazing 260 being seen. 3 Wood Ducks were still hanging around this count. Last time they were seen was in 2010. Gadwalls were out in their highest number since this count began with 205 counted. American Black Ducks had their lowest number since 1990. Once again a species that could always be found keeping a pond open at Ontario Power Generation Plant were for the first time nowhere to be found. Only 17 were counted this year. The 1604 Mallards found this year was the highest since 2010, when 4680 were counted. Redhead numbers are up this count: last year’s numbers were 77, this year 805 were seen. Now that’s an increase!

Greater Scaups were out in large numbers this count with 3091 found; last year’s numbers were 59. Lesser Scaup were found this count after being absent since 2011, when only 1 was seen. This count their number was 14. Square 8 found the only Hooded Merganser seen this count, last year their number was 39. Common Mergansers were out in their lowest number since 2010 when 383 were seen, this count 417 were found. 2 Ruddy Ducks were seen this count up I from last year. Bald Eagle numbers are down, 27 last year and this count 9 were counted. Snowy Owls were once again in the area with their number 1 down from last year with 4 being counted. Long-eared Owls have their highest number since 2006 with 9 found on this count, the same number as in 2006. Yellow-shafted Flickers did not enjoy this day with only 1 being counted, their lowest number since 2007. Greater Black-backed Gulls were not out on this day with their lowest number since 1990 when 3 were found, this count their number was 4. Square 6 found 1 Pileated Woodpecker, a first since 2009 when 1 was also found.

American Crows were counted in their highest numbers since 2009 with 828 being counted, 600 seen near Cranbrassil. Brown Creeper’s numbers were up after being down the last 3 years, this count 8 were seen. Eastern Bluebird numbers are still dropping from 39 seen last year and 20 counted this year. Once again the Fisherville count has 1 Myrtle Warbler. Snow Buntings must still be up north waiting for the snow because only 40 were counted, the last time the numbers were this low was 1997 when 1 was seen.

For the first time since 1993 a Yellow-headed Blackbird was seen in the Fisherville Count Circle. It was reported the day after the count so we get it on count week. Although it is not a first for this count, 1 female was seen in 1993 in the same square. Rusty Blackbird numbers have not been this high since 2011 with 20 being seen this count. The Common Grackle at my feeder is not the only one around; they were found in their highest numbers since 1992 with 18 being found. Brown-headed Cowbirds were out in their highest numbers since 2007 when 1356 were counted, this year their numbers were 1191. Pine Siskins were found in their highest number with 7 being spotted.

Here are the rest of the numbers:

Horned Grebe 4
Sandhill Crane 7
Great Blue Heron 2
Canada Goose 2761
Cackling Goose 1
Mute Swan 2
Tundra Swan 260
Wood Duck 3
Gadwall 205
American Black Duck 17
Mallard 1604
Redhead 805
Greater Scaup 3091
Lesser Scaup 14
Bufflehead 401
Common Goldeneye 224
Hooded Merganser 1
Common Merganser 417
Red-breasted Merganser 701
Ruddy Duck 2
Bald Eagle 9
Northern Harrier 24
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5
Cooper’s Hawk 6
Red-tailed Hawk 128
Rough-legged Hawk 24
American Kestrel 34
Wild Turkey 68
Bonaparte’s Gull 152
Ring-billed Gull 1792
Herring Gull 191
Great Black-backed Gull 4
Rock Pigeon 374
Mourning Dove 252
Eastern Screech Owl 16
Great Horned Owl 5
Snowy Owl 4
Long-eared Owl 9
Short-eared Owl 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 47
Downy Woodpecker 77
Hairy Woodpecker 9
Yellow-shafted N. Flicker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Northern Shrike 2
Blue Jay 221
American Crow 828
Horned Lark 55
Black-capped Chickadee 357
Tufted Titmouse 9
Red-breasted Nuthatch 12
White-breasted Nuthatch 58
Brown Creeper 8
Carolina Wren 8
Winter Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 8
Eastern Bluebird 20
American Robin 2
Northern Mockingbird 10
European Starling 1806
Myrtle Warbler 1
American Tree Sparrow 266
Song Sparrow 6
Swamp Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 10
Slate-coloured Junco 265
Snow Bunting 40
Northern Cardinal 86
Red-winged Blackbird 196
Yellow-headed Blackbird CW
Rusty Blackbird 20
Common Grackle 18
Brown-headed Cowbird 1191
House Finch 112
Pine Siskin 7
American Goldfinch 227
House Sparrow 821


Now, the list of the 38 awesome birders who were nice enough to do this count.

Square 1: Mark Cranford, John Lamey
Square 2: Richard Skevington, Neil Faulkenham, Adrian Jurrlink
Square 3: Bill Read, Jerry Gunther,
Feeders: Beth Powell, Mary Galli
Square 4: George Pond, Rick Dowson, Pilar Manorome, Ruven Martin
Feeder: Wes Raymond
Square 5: Adam & Matt Timpf, Janice Chard
Square 6: Tom Thomas, Neil Taylor, Chris Street, Bill Smith, Ron Campeau,Josh Shea
Feeder: Fred Kopier
Square 7: Hugh McAuthur, Julia Wever, Jacob Wever, Randy Wilson
Feeders: Rob Smuck, Owen Smuck (age 6)
Square 8: Barry Jones ,Bob Stamp, Jim Heslop, Linda Thrower, Alan Thrower
Square 9: Audrey Heagy, David Okines, Diane Salter, Greg Slater, Bailey Slater

And last but not least all the rest of the data:

Start Time: 12 Midnight
Finish Time: 12 Midnight.
Winds: W 10 km
Temperature: + 2 to + 3 C
Snow Cover: None, Clear Roads
Water: Open
Visibility: 10km
Hours on Foot: 38.45
Km on Foot: 44.5
Hours by Car: 40
Km by Car: 617.2
Hours Owling: 6
Km Owling: 54.2
Observers: 38
Feeders: 6
Feeder Hours: 18

A special mention to Ontario Power Generation Plant for allowing access to their property. And Thanks! once again to all of those who took the time to do this bird count.