Friday, December 25, 2015

Fredericton Christmas Bird Count

Douglas Sector

Bald Eagle [Internet Photo]
The Fredericton Christmas Bird Count has taken place now for over 50 years.   I have participated in a very large number of them.  It has been an interesting experience.

We cover the Douglas sector, the area between the Claudie Road and the former site of Hillcrest Fruit, just above Grand Pass.  It is usually held on a Sunday before Christmas, this year on Dec. 20.  We spend most of the day on the roads or somewhere on the landscape in that sector trying to establish the species of birds that are present and their numbers.  

This year the river was totally open so that tends to depress the waterfowl count.  One would think the opposite but it is because the vast surface of open water disperses the ducks, making fewer in our area.  Sometimes in very cold years, the only open water is at Currie's Mountain,  just below Grand Pass, and many ducks can be present there.

This year finch numbers were low.  That was unexpected because we had heard of a huge number of Redpolls which had passed through Quebec earlier in the season.  Naturally we expected to see large numbers here.  That was not the case.  We found that there is a large amount of fruit on the trees and that should bode well for winter feeding.  We found lots of apples, mountain ash berries and grapes on the vine.  There is a heavy cone crop as well.  We should get a lot more birds moving into the area as winter progresses.  

Also, we found a few members of migratory species still hanging around.  That is not surprising given the mild weather we have had so far this winter.  We found a large flock of robins and in other sectors they found a Common Yellowthroat and a Black-and-white Warbler.

American Robin s

Notice that we saw no sparrows, no starlings and no pigeons.  Finch numbers were indeed low as were waterfowl.  The Red-tailed Hawk was a nice bonus.  We had seen it around occasionally before the count and were fortunate to find it on count day.  

Red-tailed Hawk [N Poirier]

See below for the list for our sector.

Canada Goose 31
American Black Duck 16
Mallard 5
Bald Eagle 5
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Ring-billed Gull 2
Herring Gull 3
Mourning Dove 31
Downy Woodpecker 4
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Blue Jay 9
American Crow 45
Common Raven 6
Black-capped Chickadee 102
Red-breasted Nuthatch 4
White-breasted Nuthatch 3
Brown Creeper 1
American Robin 40
Bohemian Waxwing 9
Dark-eyed Junco 1
Purple Finch 9
American Goldfinch 35

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