The Christmas Bird Count is North America’s oldest standardized census providing valuable information on the early winter distribution and abundance of birds. It is also a vital outreach, education and birder/naturalist recruitment tool, and a proud holiday tradition. For more information visit https://www.birdscanada.org/volunteer/cbc/.
The 69th Long Point Christmas Bird Count took place on 15 December. The count covers a ~24km circle centred on the lighthouse south of St. Williams, ON. Fifty-six birders counted 32,230 birds of 119 species. This is slightly above the long-term average of 28,201 of 103 species, but below the recent decade average of 47,518 owing to an early freeze up of the Inner Bay which caused most waterfowl to disperse. The average number of birds counted at Long Point has grown consistently over the decades from 10,375 in the 1960’s to 47,518 in 2010-2019. Since the count began in 1961, volunteers have contributed more than 8,000 hours counting more than 1.5 million birds of 226 species.
Generally mild conditions leading up to the count kept Long Point’s Inner Bay, Big Creek, and most waterways free of ice. Count Day was overcast with temperature ranging from 3 to 6 C, and chilly north-east winds averaged about 30 km/h gusting to 60 km/h later in the afternoon which made for challenging conditions in some areas.
The general sentiment among teams was that it was slow bird wise as evident by lower numbers of most bread-and-butter winter songbirds (see below), but almost every team had higher than average diversity and a few interesting observations.
The coveted Bird of the Day prize was given to Brett Fried for discovering a Western Kingbird (new for the count) at Turkey Point. Western Kingbird was new for the Long Point count this year, the 9th for Canadian CBC’s, and the first for Ontario. The runners-up were Ross and Graham Wood for discovering a Northern Waterthrush in Port Rowan. Pictures of both are available on the eBird checklists listed below.
David Agro, Geoff Atkins, Yousif Attia, Gregor Beck, Kathryn Boothby, Michael Bradstreet, John Brett, Kyle Cameron, Steve Camp, John Carson, Andrew Couturier, Darleen Degrieck, Brandon Edwards, Mary Gartshore, Paul Gent, Ted Gent, Peter Carson, Barb Charlton, Janice Chard, Brett Fried, Christian Friis, Joseph Gabriel, Jennifer Gedye, Eric Giles, Audrey Heagy, Erika Henstch, Barry Jones, Kevin Kavanagh, Bill Lamond, Sarah Lamond, James Lees, Denis Lepage, John Lounds, Stu Mackenzie, Dex Martin, Kevin McLaughlin, Fergus Nicoll, David Okines, Becky Pearce, George Pond, Lynn Post, Nicole Richardson, Ron Ridout, Ed Ruttle, Diane Salter, Bob Stamp, Terry Tait, Adam Timpf, Matt Timpf, Doug Tozer, Graham, Ross Wood.
Red-necked Grebe – The thirteenth of the Long Point CBC and the first since 2011.
Red-throated Loon – Third for the count and the first since 1994.
Red-shouldered Hawk – One wintering bird in the Big Creek Valley.
Snowy Owl – One at Turkey Point.
Northern Saw-whet Owl – One found near St. Williams Forest.
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Highest ever count of 83.
Pileated Woodpecker – Highest ever count of 19.
Woodpeckers – High numbers, but not records, for all species, possibly a consequence of Emerald Ash Boer.
Peregrine Falcon – One bird at Turkey Point marsh.
Western Kingbird – First for the count, first for Ontario CBC’s, and 9th for Canadian CBC’s. See – https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50701577
White-breasted Nuthatch – Second highest total of 167 since 173 were observed in 2001.
Eastern Bluebird – New high count of 113.
Vesper Sparrow – New count high with 5 observed near Walsingham.
White-throated Sparrow – third highest total with 175 observed.
Northern Waterthrush – 6th on the count and the first since 1990. See – https://ebird.org/canada/view/checklist/S50701120
Orange-crowned Warbler – First observed since 1994.
Wild Turkey – Only 19 recorded which is the lowest Count since 2001.
Horned Lark and Snow Buntings – Only one Snow Bunting, and 8 Horned Lark.
Sparrows – Most typically abundant ‘winter’ sparrows were below their long-term average likely due to no snow cover.
Expected winter finches were present, but not overly abundant.
Additional count week species (December 12 to December 18):
Oregon Junco – near Walsingham, ON.
Golden Eagle – near Walsingham, ON.
Common Raven – near Walsingham, ON.
Other Notable Species: Red Bat, Blue-spotted Salamander, Leopard Frog, Garter Snake (black).
|GREAT BLUE HERON||16|
|GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE||0|
|SNOW GOOSE Blue form||0|
|AMERICAN BLACK DUCK||154|
|LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL||0|
|GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL||8|
|GREAT HORNED OWL||6|
|NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL||1|
|AMERICAN TREE SPARROW||717|
|DK-EYED oregon JUNCO||0|