Great Swamp-Watchung Ridges Christmas Bird Count 2013 – Final Results

From Simon Lane, compiler of the Great Swamp-Watchung Ridges CBC:

We had 66 or so participants active during the day, covering nine historically organized sections in the circle, in 11 different groups.

The conditions for the day were a little mixed, with temperatures ranging from 23F to 29F and light to heavier snowfall throughout most of the day. The preceding cold weather in early December meant that open water was at a premium, but there was enough to ensure that most of the expected waterfowl species were found, even if some were in small numbers.

The day’s count reached 14,428 (revision possible) individuals of 84 species – excellent totals for the conditions, and around the average and median for totals over the past ten years. A list of the species and totals, along with the number of groups recording that species can be seen at the base of this mail.

Star of the show was the long-staying Rufous Hummingbird in Fanwood, which becomes the 160th cumulative species in the history of the count. Photographs of the bird on the morning of the count can be seen here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nattony/sets/72157638714283344/

Many thanks to Natalie Gregorio for the link to these pics of a tremendous winter bird for Northern NJ, and for Ed Zboyan and team for being positioned ready for the bird as it arrived at the feeder.

For the first time in ten years, both Turkey Vulture and Northern Harrier were missed on the day. (and we scraped in with just one Black Vulture)

Waterfowl numbers were generally down, but the Great Swamp Management area, Canoe Brook Reservoir and Kitchell Pond had enough open water to record all the species expected apart from Northern Shoveler, which was also missed for the day. Canvasback at Canoe Brook was a nice find, having only been recorded 10 times in the history of the count.

Raptors were few and far between, with even Red-tailed Hawks at the lowest number recorded in 40 years.

Nocturnal owling was difficult with the approaching snow, but everything expected was recorded, and a bonus Long-eared Owl in the Great Swamp Management area section was welcome.

Woodpeckers were found in numbers: Red-headed Woodpecker was tallied by six different teams, and the total was the second highest for the count in 20 years. Red-bellied Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were recorded in the highest numbers in the history of the count.

Singletons of Red-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Marsh Wren, Brown Thrasher and American Woodcock, were all good finds given the date and/or general presence in the state this year.

Sparrows were around in good numbers, with counts for American Tree and Song at the higher end of expectations; eleven Eastern Towhees was a very good haul too.

Blackbirds were thin this year, no vast flocks of Grackles or Red-winged, but all were recorded, including Rusty Blackbird by several teams.

An enjoyable count as always, and thanks again for everyone’s efforts. If anyone on the teams can add any birds for Count Week (Wed 12/11 through Tue 12/17) please let me know. I added Turkey Vulture and Fish Crow yesterday.

BIRDS
Snow Goose 169 1
Canada Goose 6386 11
Mute Swan 8 4
Wood Duck 47 3
Gadwall 33 2
American Wigeon 1 1
American Black Duck 604 7 +720 American Black Duck/Mallard
Mallard 801 9
Northern Pintail 4 1
Green-winged Teal 9 2
Canvasback 3 1
Ring-necked Duck 12 1
Bufflehead 12 1
Hooded Merganser 22 5
Common Merganser 282 4
Ruddy Duck 73 1
Wild Turkey 3 2
Great Blue Heron 11 4
Black Vulture 1 1
* Bald Eagle 2 3 Great Swamp Bird seen by two groups
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 1
Cooper’s Hawk 5 4
Red-tailed Hawk 20 7
American Kestrel 2 2
Merlin 1 1
American Coot 2 1
* American Woodcock 1 1
Ring-billed Gull 177 9
Herring Gull 23 6
Great Black-backed Gull 1 1
Rock Pigeon 45 2
Mourning Dove 140 9
Eastern Screech-Owl 6 3
Great Horned Owl 4 3
Barred Owl 5 3
Long Earred Owl 1 1
Rufous Hummingbird 1 1
Belted Kingfisher 7 5
* Red-headed Woodpecker 21 6
Red-bellied Woodpecker 204 11
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 8 6
Downy Woodpecker 103 11
Hairy Woodpecker 32 11
Northern Flicker 67 10
* Pileated Woodpecker 4 2
* Eastern Phoebe 1 1
Blue Jay 432 11
American Crow 74 9 +26 Crow Sp
* Common Raven 2 1
Black-capped Chickadee 75 9
Tufted Titmouse 142 11
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 59 8
Brown Creeper 6 3
Carolina Wren 30 10
Winter Wren 15 5
* Marsh Wren 1 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 20 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 1
Eastern Bluebird 61 4
Hermit Thrush 4 3
American Robin 264 9
Northern Mockingbird 11 8
Brown Thrasher 1 1
European Starling 831 7
Cedar Waxwing 4 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 28 3
Eastern Towhee 11 4
American Tree Sparrow 216 7
Field Sparrow 3 3
Savannah Sparrow 4 2
Fox Sparrow 9 3
Song Sparrow 290 11
Swamp Sparrow 26 3
White-throated Sparrow 479 10
Dark-eyed Junco 717 11
Northern Cardinal 117 11
Red-winged Blackbird 139 7
Rusty Blackbird 7 4
Common Grackle 58 6
Brown-headed Cowbird 8 4
House Finch 8 3
American Goldfinch 81 8
House Sparrow 82 10
TOTAL SPECIES 84
TOTAL INDIVIDUALS 14428
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