The 30th annual Southwest Morris Winter Bird Count took place on January 19, 2014. This winter survey, founded, compiled and organized by Dave Harrison, functions in a similar way to Christmas Bird Counts but is not reported to the National Audubon Society. This count is for hardy birds and hardened birders. The count circle centers around Chester Township and includes bits of neighboring counties as well.
Dave’s account of the results follow:
The final results for the count were pretty awesome. We ended up with 91 species, tying the previous high in 1999. There were two new count species, Cackling Goose and House Wren, bringing the 30-year composite list for the count to 128.
Other significant finds/misses follow:
Mute Swan – 83 was new high count beating the previous high of 80
Northern Shoveler – only the 6th record
American Wigeon – the most significant miss – only the 10th time we haven’t found one
Lesser Scaup – 7th record
Bald Eagle – 9th record and the 4 individuals tie the previous high count
American Kestrel – none since 2006 and the 13th time we have missed the species. No longer really expected since it has been missed 11 out of the past 12 years.
Northern Saw-whet Owl – 5th record
Red-headed Woodpecker – 4th record
Red-bellied Woodpecker – new high count of 70 beat the previous high of 65
Common Raven – 7th record and annual since 2009
American Pipit – 6th record
Dark-eyed Junco – new high count of 847 beat the previous high of 784
I always think that the new high counts are especially significant and are most likely to represent true population trends.