This year was another year with no post-count gathering, because of caution due to the spread of Covid-19. The field parties (12) were very similar to previous years. A total of 40 field observers participated, joined by 3 feeder counters. The weather was consistent, hovering around 35oF, with calm to light N wind for most of the day. It was overcast, but thankfully no precipitation. This year we had a few more waterfowl species than in the recent years. Highlights of the count included a group of Trumpeter Swans found by Tania Perry’s party; a group of 4 Black Vultures found by Dan Bobb’s party; 3 Sandhill Cranes and a Northern Shrike reported by Andy Brown; 3 Winter Wrens found 1 each by 3 different parties; Ben Warner’s party found the only Northern Harrier, Catbird, and Fox Sparrow this year; Amy Winningham’s party found a Cackling Goose, 2 Hermit Thrushes, an American Pipit, and an Orange-crowned Warbler.
My party was joined by a group from ODNR including two leaders (Kendra Wecker, Chief ODW, and ODNR Director Mary Mertz) so it was particularly frustrating that our morning was very slow, bird wise. Almost no seed-eating birds at all, including the remarkable zero Dark-eyed Juncos counted by our party for the second year in a row! Prior to these recent years we have always found flocks of seed eaters in several parts of our route which has not changed very much. There was one notable change, because of the sale of the Liebert property on Beard Road (a park-like site which was a major stop for our group) we can no longer bird that area. The large mature beech forest there is slated for a housing development, and they have begun the destruction. Our group’s highlight this year was that we found the only Red-headed Woodpeckers (5) tallied on the count.
Statistics and List of Species Found
The Delaware Reservoir Christmas Bird count (OHDR) has been conducted continuously since 1988. The mean number of species tallied is 62.4. This year the final species total of 73 was a record high for the Delaware count. We have had a couple of years with 72 species, but we “eeked out” a record this time. This year we counted 14,667 birds, which is a bit higher than the average of 12,500, but not near our high of 24,098 in 2010. As has always been the case, these numbers include many European Starlings, Rock Pigeons, and House Sparrows. Those three introduced species comprise 53% of the total count this year.
218 Horned Larks were counted. Few people submitted guesses. The closest guess was 81, submitted by Amy Tovar, so she will be hosting the Horned Lark award trophy until next year.
|Great Blue Heron||34|
|Eastern Screech Owl||3|
|Great Horned Owl||5|
|American Tree Sparrow||169|