2013

78th Boonton Christmas Bird Count, Sunday, December 22, 2013

A drenching rain did not occur although the anxiety-producing forecast for the afternoon claimed an 80 percent chance of precipitation. The temperature reached a high of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. After a brief spritz of moisture in the morning, the sky was variable with an occasional small patch of blue for the rest of the day. Spring Peepers called. A Painted Turtle loafed on a stationary object in the Rockaway River. This is December in northern New Jersey. This is the 78th Boonton Christmas Bird Count.

The highlight of the count is 46 Red-headed Woodpeckers recorded from three parties with 43 carefully counted in Troy Meadows by the Troy Meadows West party. This obliterates the previous Boonton Christmas Bird Count (CBC) record of 20 Red-headed Woodpeckers in 2001.

The total species count stands at 97 plus 2 count week species. The average for the previous 10 years is 98.5 species.

44,192 individual birds were counted, the highest total since 2001 (62,336) and the third highest total in the count’s 78-year history:
2001 – 62,336
1999 – 59,665
2013 – 44,192

Large numbers of Common Grackles and other species pouring into Troy Meadows for their evening roost generates these large totals. The 21st century average of total individuals is 28,163; the 78-year average is 16,586.

There was a freeze in the count area during the Thanksgiving period. Snow events in early December buried many avian food sources. Most bodies of water in the area remained frozen up until a few days before the count. Mild temperatures started a few days before the count but too late to make a positive impression on waterfowl numbers. The rivers remained ice-free for the most part, contributing to the large Mallard/Am. Black Duck totals.

Interesting numbers

High totals:

  • Am. Black Duck – 449, highest since 2000 (476).
  • Mallards – 1,247, highest since 2001 (1,333).
  • Common Goldeneye – missed the previous two years, 8 were counted in two parties.
  • Red-breasted Mergansers – recorded for the 3rd year in a row after only once in the 10 years prior to that. The total of 7 is the highest count since 14 in 1938, the third year of the Boonton CBC.
  • Bald Eagle – 10, all-time high count.
  • Merlin – 3, all-time high count.
  • Red-headed Woodpecker – 46, all-time high count.
  • Northern Flicker – 94, all-time high.
  • American Robin – 8,790, all-time high.
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – 40, 2nd highest total since 2000.
  • Eastern Towhee – 21, 3rd highest total in count history (2001 – 37; 1971 – 26).
  • Am. Tree Sparrow – 310 – rebound after a 5-year dip – 21st century average is 364.
  • Savannah Sparrow – 11, highest since 13 in 2002.
  • Swamp Sparrow – 96, highest since 1976 (207).
  • Red-winged Blackbird – 1,187, highest since 2001 (1,782).
  • Rusty Blackbird – 130, only 3 tallied in 2012. The 21st century average is 75.

Low numbers:

  • Canada Goose – 3,448, lowest total since 2006. 21st century average is 4,500.
  • Ruddy Duck – 19, lowest total since 1989 (0). 148 is the 21st century average.
  • Accipiter spp. – Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks had their 2nd low year in a row (6 and 4 in 2013; 6 and 4 in 2012). Their averages for the 21st century are 13 and 8 respectively.
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 58, 2nd lowest number since 1989 (54). There were 46 in 2010, lowest since 1979. 21st century average is 87.
  • Northern Mockingbird – 49, 3rd lowest total since 1972 (36). The 21st century average is 100.
  • Cedar Waxwing – 13, lowest since 1989 (0). The 21st century average is 76.
  • House Finch – 46, lowest since 1970 (21). The 21st century average is 190.
  • House Sparrow- 433, although average for the past 4 years, the 21st century mean is 659; the all-time average in 78 years of the Boonton CBC is 464.

Single party reports for the following species (reported by one party only).
Format = Species (party) – amount:

  • Snow Goose (Troy Meadows East) – 22 in one flyover flock. 2012’s 301 is the all-time high. 22 is the second highest total since 1993. Snow Goose is just not a common species on this count occurring on 17 of 78 years and usually in very low numbers.
  • Northern Pintail (Morristown) – 2
  • Redhead (West Essex) – 1
  • Common Loon (Boonton Reservoir) – 2
  • Pied-billed Grebe (Denville) – 1
  • Horned Grebe (Boonton Reservoir) -2
  • Red-shouldered Hawk (Denville) – 1
  • American Kestrel (Florham Park – Count-week) – 1
  • American Woodcock (Denville) – 2
  • Barred Owl (Morris Township – Count-week) – 1
  • Long-eared Owl (Denville) – 6
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch (Denville) – 1
  • House Wren (Denville) – 1
  • Hermit Thrush (Denville) – 1
  • Gray Catbird (Denville) – 1
  • Brown Thrasher (Great Piece Meadows) – 1

Other sparse and interesting tallies:

  • Wood Duck – two parties had single birds. Only 4 were reported last year. 21st century average is 13.
  • Green-winged Teal – 2 parties reported a total of 6. 35 is the 21st century average.
  • Lesser Scaup – 2 parties reported a total of 3. 24 is the 21st century average.
  • Peregrine Falcon – 2 reported from two parties.
  • Common Raven – 4 from two parties; first reported on this count in 2002, this is the 3rd consecutive and 5th out of 6th years it has been recorded.
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 3 from two parties. This marks the 20th consecutive year that White-crowned Sparrow has been recorded on the count. It was counted only 9 of the previous 58 years before that.
  • Purple Finch – 5 reported from three parties. Whether it is a good or bad winter finch forecast, this species is recorded 73 out of 78 years.

Count-week species:

  • Barred Owl
  • American Kestrel

The Big Miss:

  • Northern Shoveler – 1st miss since 1988.

Approximately 50 individual birders in over 10 parties partook of this glorious day. A warm and heartfelt thanks to all of the participants for your generous contribution of time, energy and enthusiasm. Keep the last two Sundays of December 2014 free. The 79th Boonton Christmas Bird Count will either be on the 21st or 28th.

Until we count again, good birding!

Jonathan Klizas, compiler
Boonton Christmas Bird Count
mocosocoBirds.com

The table below contains all 97 count-day species observed on the 2012 Boonton CBC plus the 2 count-week species. Following the species column is the total number of individuals for 2013. This is followed by the all-time average for that species. If some species have a zero average that is because the numbers have been rounded. Next is the 21st Century average from 2000-2013. This gives a recent perspective on the species’ performance. The last column is the number of years the species has appeared on the count. This last column is updated through 2013. Numbers in red represent totals falling below average for both the all-time and 21st century averages.

2013 Boonton CBC All-time 21st Cent.
Species 2013 Avg. Avg. Years
Snow Goose 21 8 24 17
Canada Goose 3488 1832 4527 59
Mute Swan 32 31 79 60
Wood Duck 2 8 13 65
Gadwall 98 42 94 53
American Wigeon 27 28 16 66
American Black Duck 449 391 243 78
Mallard 1,247 770 1,017 78
Northern Pintail 2 5 5 52
Green-winged Teal 8 13 35 51
Redhead 1 3 3 35
Ring-necked Duck 183 82 248 63
Lesser Scaup 3 13 24 40
Bufflehead 32 21 57 58
Common Goldeneye 8 6 4 60
Hooded Merganser 106 43 169 61
Common Merganser 1,055 225 611 72
Red-breasted Merganser 7 1 1 10
Ruddy Duck 19 79 148 64
Ring-necked Pheasant 1 4 1 68
Wild Turkey 86 18 75 27
Common Loon 2 0 1 22
Pied-billed Grebe 1 3 4 59
Horned Grebe 2 1 0 23
Great Blue Heron 28 12 31 60
Black Vulture 27 7 22 24
Turkey Vulture 69 20 63 40
Bald Eagle 10 1 5 28
Northern Harrier 5 3 5 64
Sharp-shinned Hawk 6 6 13 61
Cooper’s Hawk 4 3 8 48
Red-shouldered Hawk 1 3 2 68
Red-tailed Hawk 58 46 87 78
American Kestrel CW 8 1 71
Merlin 3 0 1 12
Peregrine Falcon 2 0 1 15
American Coot 45 38 69 56
Killdeer 3 4 3 51
Wilson’s Snipe 2 3 4 51
American Woodcock 2 1 2 33
Ring-billed Gull 859 477 908 59
Herring Gull 107 264 133 75
Great Black-backed Gull 14 15 11 50
Rock Pigeon 294 355 692 41
Mourning Dove 559 279 497 70
Eastern Screech-Owl 16 15 19 71
Great Horned Owl 6 7 8 73
Barred Owl CW 1 2 45
Long-eared Owl 6 2 2 50
Belted Kingfisher 23 11 17 75
Red-headed Woodpecker 46 2 7 34
Red-bellied Woodpecker 197 43 146 43
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 3 2 4 40
Downy Woodpecker 177 120 152 78
Hairy Woodpecker 57 25 34 78
Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker 94 30 63 76
Pileated Woodpecker 7 3 7 50
Blue Jay 677 398 576 78
American Crow 439 1,573 1,567 78
Fish Crow 27 22 94 40
Common Raven 4 0 2 7
Black-capped Chickadee 136 321 243 78
Tufted Titmouse 258 244 352 78
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 5 5 57
White-breasted Nuthatch 138 95 126 78
Brown Creeper 15 12 9 78
Carolina Wren 99 22 76 61
House Wren 1 0 0 8
Winter Wren 12 5 9 71
Golden-crowned Kinglet 13 28 19 75
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 9 4 7 55
Eastern Bluebird 34 13 33 54
Hermit Thrush 1 3 6 53
American Robin 8,790 329 1,201 75
Gray Catbird 1 1 2 46
Northern Mockingbird 49 69 101 56
Brown Thrasher 1 1 1 29
European Starling 2,414 2,520 3,899 78
Cedar Waxwing 13 35 76 59
Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler 40 13 25 50
Eastern Towhee 21 4 6 62
American Tree Sparrow 310 670 364 78
Field Sparrow 17 37 27 74
Savannah Sparrow 11 4 5 55
Fox Sparrow 18 9 23 68
Song Sparrow 427 329 471 78
Swamp Sparrow 96 37 41 78
White-throated Sparrow 779 418 872 78
White-crowned Sparrow 3 1 5 29
Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco 863 651 1000 78
Northern Cardinal 173 161 233 78
Red-winged Blackbird 1,188 514 468 75
Rusty Blackbird 130 68 75 75
Common Grackle 16,694 1515 4572 62
Brown-headed Cowbird 36 37 53 64
Purple Finch 5 16 7 73
House Finch 46 199 191 50
American Goldfinch 160 204 216 78
House Sparrow 433 464 659 78
Total Individuals 44,192 16,585 29,174
Total Species 97 81 99
Number of Observers 50 34 41

One Response to 2013

  1. Pingback: Finalized Data for 78th Boonton Christmas Bird Count – 2013 | mocosocoBirds

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