2016 Delaware CBC: Birds Up, Counters Down

Delaware Preservation Parks - Blues Creek Preserve

The day started inauspiciously with a pre-dawn sheet of ice on the roads. It was treacherous enough that some groups didn’t venture out, or began counting later in the morning, after the salt trucks had done their work.  Temperatures hovered around the mid-20’s most of the day with a fairly steady northwest breeze. Jim Peoples’ group began owling at 05:30 and I started out a bit later at 06:10. The owls seem to have thought better of responding to our audio lures, and for the first year in recent memory we didn’t get any owls before dawn.  Later in the day the Delaware City team (Megan Shoemaker, Chris Harvey, and Geoff and Amy Winningham) found a Great Horned Owl. I added two more GHOW (duetting pair) on my way home from the compilation gathering.

Snow Buntings on the Delaware CBC - Photo Ben WarnerMost teams had a reasonable variety of birds, but relatively low numbers. Some standout finds were flocks of Snow Buntings (see photo) located by Dan Bobb’s “Western Shores” team (Dan Yaussy, Silas and Todd Jolliff and David Johnson) and by Ben Warner’s “Western Croplands” team (Lauren Blyth). Ben and Lauren also found a Wilson’s Snipe and a flock of 25 Sandhill Cranes. The “Eastern Shores North” team (Dan and Colleen Fink, Ramon Carreno, Holly Latteman) also found a smaller flock of four cranes.  This is only the second time in our count’s history that cranes were detected. Most still water was frozen, but some moving water was open. We managed to tally seven species of waterfowl including a Ring-necked Duck (Ben Warner’s team), only the sixth year with this species. Ben and Lauren also located both Pied-billed and Horned Grebes (one each). We tallied by far the most Canada Geese ever (5,363), well above the previous high of 2,731 back in 2009.

Field Sparrow on the Delaware CBC - Photo Dan BobbWoodpecker numbers were good this year, including all the regular species except Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. We had a record high number of Hairy Woodpeckers. One notable find was a lone Ruby-crowned Kinglet found by Adriana Losey and the “Whetstone Wetlands” team (Kyle, Donald and Karyn Davis, Clint Johnson, Maria Losey and Dustin Reichard). This is a very sparse winter visitor in Central Ohio and a good find. We have had only six other reports on our 29 year count history. Other notables included: a Winter Wren found by Randy Zibell’s “Northwest Plains” group (Dan Lux, Tania Perry); Fox Sparrows found by two teams; and, a flock of ten Field Sparrows seen by Dan Bobb’s “Western Shores” team (see photo). The same team also found a lone Rusty Blackbird (see photo). My “Alum-Creek/Bohannan” team (Chris Roshan, Amy Tovar and Bob Klips) found a single Eastern Towhee. It was a beautiful male calling near where we parked the car in the morning. It was if he wanted to be sure he was counted.

Rusty Blackbird on the Delaware CBC - Photo Dan BobbConsidering the icy conditions early and chilly weather we had a successful count. The total of 70 species is the fourth highest total for our count. I want to personally thank all of the participants for their dedication and careful observation. Of course no Delaware CBC would be complete without the Horned Lark award presentation; at the compilation gathering Adriana Losey’s guess (115) was judged the closest and she was named the award winner this year. After the final reports were added over the next couple of days, we tallied a moderately low number (325) of larks. I hope you will all join us next year!

SpeciesTotalsBirds/ Party HourMeanComment
Pied-billed Grebe10.010.62
Horned Grebe10.010.24
Double-crested Cormorant60.090.31
Great Blue Heron270.3923.28
Tundra Swan100.150.82
Canada Goose536377.781266.03high
Northern Shoveler80.120.28
American Black Duck40.0614.07
Mallard1482.15302.17
Gadwall30.040.14
Ring-necked Duck10.015.28rare
Northern Harrier60.0911.66
Sharp-shinned Hawk10.011.5
Cooper’s Hawk80.127.14
Accipiter sp.20.031.21
Bald Eagle130.192.86
Red-tailed Hawk320.4635.38
American Kestrel60.0929.48
Ring-necked Pheasnt.10.014.21
Wild Turkey80.126.52
Wilson’s Snipe10.010.1rare
Bonaparte’s Gull50.0740.62
Ring-billed Gull1932.80255.03
gull sp?70.100.45
Rock Pigeon250.36223.45very low
Mourning Dove3735.41608.97low
Sandhill Crane290.424.45rare
Great Horned Owl30.043.59
Belted Kingfshr.60.097.69
Red-headed Woodpecker120.171.66
Red-bellied Woodpecker560.8146.9
Downy Woodpecker951.3896.28
Hairy Wdoodpecker230.339.93high
Northern Flicker320.4634.24
Pileated Woodpecker60.094.14
Horned Lark3254.71641.14
Blue Jay2393.47171.55
American Crow1261.83169.45
chickadee sp.400.58143.66
Carolina Chickadee821.1910.69
Tufted Titmouse711.0353.41
Red-breasted Nuthatch50.073.59
White-breasted Nuthatch580.8471.66
Brown Creeper70.1016.14low
Carolina Wren260.3825.34
Winter Wren10.010.45rare
Golden-crowned Kinglet80.1217.76
Ruby-crowned Kinglet10.010.28rare
Eastern Bluebird320.4651.69
American Robin1552.25363.48
Northern Mockingbird20.037.52
Cedar Waxwing140.2073.52low
European Starling105815.344768.79
Yellow-ruomped Warbler60.0913.41
Eastern Towhee10.011.66
American Tree Sparrow81411.81383.24high
Fox Sparrow30.040.93
Field Sparrow100.151.75rare/high
Song Sparrow640.93104.14
Swamp Sparrow10.019.1
White-throated Sparrow370.5452.41
White-crowned Sparrow140.2024.86
Dark-eyed Junco5137.44317.48
Lapland Longspur420.6136.24
Snow Bunting1221.7727.1high
Northern Cardinal2393.47294.45
Red-winged Blackbird10.0117.07
Rusty Blackbird10.013.24rare
Common Grackle590.868.9
Brown-headed Cowbird130.1913.03
blackbird sp?10.010.28
Purple Finchcount week0.64
House Finch1872.71276.66
American Goldfinch1692.45203.83
House Sparrow6349.201039.45

Total Individuals: 11687   (slightly below average)

Total Party Hours: 68.95  (well below recent average)

Total Party Miles:  291.7   (about normal)

Hours driving: 34
Hours walking: 35
Miles driving: 256.8
Miles walking: 35
Owling Hours: 1.4
Owling miles: 16
Participants: 27 (well below average)