Fisherville Christmas Bird Count (December 2019)

Fisherville Christmas Bird Count (December 2019)

Report by Linda Thrower, Compiler

December 28th, 2019 certainly didn’t bring the weather of 2017, but who needs wind chills of -30 C while trying to count birds? Instead it was on the plus side with the temperature of +2 C at midnight and no winds to speak of until later in the day. And who could complain about having open water—not the waterfowl. But even with the weather co-operating, the birds were well hidden. Did they know all of us were looking for them? Thankfully, there were a bunch of keen eyes out there and some really good species popped out here and there. So, the new high and low numbers look like this:

  • Horned Grebes were found in their lowest numbers since 2001 when 197 were counted. This year, 76 were seen.
  • American Wigeons are back on the count. The last time was in 2015 so finding 4 of them this year ties with their all-time high.
  • Redheaded Ducks come in with a highest number since 2014 with 750 being spotted in this count.
  • White-winged Scoters had a highest number since 1994 when 8 were found. Now their number is at 6.
  • Buffleheads find themselves with a new number of 187 — highest since 2003 when 171 were seen.
  • Common Goldeneyes hit a number of 302, close to the highest number since 2009 when 332 were found.
  • Red-breasted Mergansers number dropped since their highest number in 2012 at 18,590. Now they sit at 1,023.
  • Bald eagles tied the number of 2015 — now and then 12 were spotted
  • The surprising Golden Eagle seen on the count in 2016 was back this year with one being found.
  • Merlins were seen in 2017, and this year one was spotted.

    Merlin (Photo by Len Grincevicius)

  • Bonaparte’s Gull back on the count since the last time of 2016 when 30 were seen. This year, 31 were counted.
  • Ring-billed Gulls lost a few numbers since 2015 when their number was 2,378. This count found only 97.
  • Even the Greater-black backed Gull were a hard find, tying their lowest number since 1990 with 3.
  • Mourning Dove numbers dropped but still had their highest number since 2013 when 672 were counted; this count 339 were found.
  • Long-eared owls were a hard find in 2015 when 8 were spotted. In 2019, 4 showed up.
  • Red-bellied Woodpeckers were close to their high number of 47 in 2014, but on this count 41 were seen.
  • Eastern Phobe was a great surprise with only the second time being on the count since in 1993. One was found both then and now.
  • Northern Shrikes come in with a highest number since 2013 when 10 were counted. In 2019, 4 is their count.
  • For the first time since 1989 area 6 had no Blue Jays—just a strange stat.
  • American Crows in 2003 had a number of 32; this year, 131 were out flying about.
  • Common Ravens that were never common in 2017, but this year 4 were counted.
  • A bird that you would expect to find everywhere, the Black-capped Chickadee, had its lowest number since the count began.
  • The very pretty Tufted Titmouse, with its lowest number since 2013, was 7.
  • Even the White-breasted Nuthatch comes in with its lowest number since 1989, at 22.

    White Breasted Nuthatch (Photo by Jan Grincevicius)

  • The very little Winter Wren is back on the count. The last time was in 2016 — one was seen then and now.
  • A couple of Ruby-crowned Kinglets were spotted hanging around for the first time since 2003.
  • Eastern Bluebirds seem to be on the rise with their highest number since 2016 — this year 28 were found.
  • One American Pipit was spotted — a first since 2012 when the number was 7.
  • American Tree Sparrows were seen in their lowest numbers since 1989 with 106 being spotted this year. Their highest number was in 1995 at 2,359.
  • One Fox Sparrow was seen for the 4th time on this count; the last time was in 2012 when one was also seen.
  • Swamp Sparrows were seen in their highest numbers since 2005 when 11 were found. This count 7 were seen.
  • Slate-coloured Juncos come in with their lowest number at 134.
  • Brown-headed Cowbirds were found with their highest number since the count began with 2,416.
  • And last but not least the very pretty Purple Finch come in with its highest number since 1989 with 24 being seen on this count.

Northern Shrike (Photo by George Pond)

Well on with the weather for December 28th. The temperature at midnight was +2C and by 7:00 a.m. it had risen to +3C.

By the afternoon, it was +5C, but then that nasty wind picked up and down it went. The visibility was about 12 km., and the winds went from 0 to 5 to 20 to 25 out of the south-west.

There was no snow, and the water was open.



The rest of the data is:

Number of parties — 14; Number of feeders — 2; Total Party Hours — 253.5; Total Driving Hours — 127.25; Total Km Driving — 1,160.7; Total Hours Walked — 132.5; Total Km Walked — 189.1

Owling Total:
Hours — 1.5; Distance — 3 km

Hours — 12

A special Thank You goes out to Ontario Power Generation in Nanticoke for allowing the Fisherville Christmas Bird Count to be done on their site.

The birders whose effort I greatly appreciate are:

Area 1 — Rob Crawford

Area 2 — Cody Bassindale

Area 3 — Nancy Furber, Jerry Geuther, Aliya Gill, Sam Lewis, Rick Ludkin, Ella O’Neill, Beth Powell, Bill Read

Area 4 — Allan Aubin, Rick Dowson, George Pond

Area 5 — Janice Chard, Adam Timpf

Area 6 —Amanda Anstice, Bill Smith, Tom Thomas,

Area 7 —Hugh McArthur, Jacob Wever, Julia Wever, Randy Wilson

Area 8 — Judy Boone, Mike Boone, Michael Meade, Cody Rowe, Craic Rowe, Wonda Rowe, Rob Smuck, Bob Stamp, Terry Tait, Alan Thrower, Linda Thrower

Area 9 — Audrey Heagy, Diane Salter

Thank You One and All!

Total Number of Participants: 35


Horned Grebe                        76

Great Blue heron                   13

Canada Geese                    2404

Gadwall                                    13

American Wigeon                   4

Am. Black Duck                    74

Mallard                                342

Red-headed Duck               750

Greater Scaup                     836

White-winged Scoter             6

Bufflehead                            187

Common Goldeneye          302

Common Merganser           172

Red-breasted Merganser  1023

Bald Eagle                               12

Northern Harrier                  16

Sharp-shinned Hawk             5

Cooper’s Hawk                        4

Red-tailed Hawk                   95

Rough-legged Hawk             12

Golden Eagle                           1

Am. Kestrel                           19

Merlin                                      1

Peregrine Falcon                    1

Wild Turkey                        128

Bonaparte Gull                        31

Ring-billed Gull                      97

Herring Gull                            42

Gr. Black Backed Gull              3

Rock Pigeon                          360

Mourning Dove                     339

Eastern Screech Owl                 3

Great-horned Owl                     4

Long-eared Owl                         4

Red-bellied Woodpecker        41

Downy Woodpecker               60

Hairy Woodpecker                  12

Eastern Phoebe                          1

Northern Shrike                        4

Blue Jay                                   219

American Crow                       131

Common Raven                          4

Black-capped Chickadee       124

Tufted Titmouse                         7

White-breasted Nuthatch      22

Brown Creeper                           6

Winter Wren                               1

Golden-crowned Kinglet        13

Ruby-crowned Kinglet             2

Eastern Bluebird                     28

Northern Mockingbird          6

American Robin                      8

European Starling             1612

American Pipit                         1

American Tree Sparrow     106

Fox Sparrow                              1

Song Sparrow                          12

Swamp Sparrow                       7

White-throated Sparrow        5

Slate-colored Junco             134

Northern Cardinal                113

Red-winged Blackbird          10

Common Grackle                     1

Yellow-shafted Flicker            3

Brown-headed Cowbird   2416

Purple Finch                           24

House Finch                          127

American Goldfinch            156

House Sparrow                    744

White-crowned Sparrow        3

Sandhill Crane                          3


Total Species                           71

Total Individuals            13,546


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