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Springfield Area Christmas Count

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December 16, 2017

Compiler: Geroge Kingston - Report: Seth Kellogg

The wind was brisk and the cold was deep, but there were only a few inches of near-fresh snow on the ground.  The 14 teams included only 26 birders in the field for 103.5 hours, well below the average, but far above the disastrous 67 hours for the 2016 count.  They traveled almost 430 miles, with 47 miles on foot and 375 miles by car.

Black Ducks did very well, but Mallards floundered.  Both Mergansers were very high, while Goldeneyes almost matched their highest total ever.  There were four rare duck species, one each of Wood Duck, Greater Scaup (only second time since 2000), Bufflehead (4th time), and Ruddy Duck.  The only heron was a half-dozen Great Blue.  Among the six species of day-raptors were a record high count of 13 Bald Eagles and three Red-shoulders.  All three owls and two of the three falcons were barely recorded.  There was enough open water to please a decent count of eight Kingfishers.  Jays and especially crows were below average, but the usual few Fish Crows and Ravens were noted.  Only one modest flock of Horned Larks was found.  Red-breasted Nuthatch continued scarce, though one was better than last year’s none.  Also at that meager level were Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Catbird.  Creeper, Winter Wren, Bluebird, Mockingbird, Waxwing, and Robin were in low numbers, but Golden-crowned Kinglets were numerous.  Among the sparrows, Tree, Junco, White-throated and Song were well below average, though Field and Savannah showed well, but typically few.  One Fox and one Swamp Sparrow completed a dreary picture. The Cardinal matched the 114 of last year, still few.  Twenty Redwings, 7 Cowbirds, and two Grackles were also meager.  Goldfinch and House Sparrows were near the eight-year average, much fewer than the long-term level.  Hours of coverage were 103.5, not too much lower than the average of 115 since 1980.  Despite the dreary results there was much to enjoy and celebrate at the home of George Kingston and Jean Delaney.

Team Members and Highlights

Chicopee:  Tom Swochak, 8 hours, 1.5 owling hours, 42 species, a Great Blue Heron, 25 Black Duck, 3 Hooded Merganser, 31 Common Merganser, 3 Bald Eagle, a Cooper’s Hawk, 2 Kingfisher, a Kestrel, a Screech Owl, 5 Hairy Woodpecker, 613 Crow, a Fish Crow, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, 23 White-throated Sparrow, and 20 Red-winged Blackbird.

Longmeadow West:  Steve and Rachel Svec, 6 hours, 41 species, 6 Mute Swan, 92 Mallard, 39 Black Duck, 49 Goldeneye, 6 Hooded and 18 Common Merganser, 284 Ring-billed Gull, 2 Bald Eagle, a Harrier, 11 Red-bellied and 12 Downy Woodpecker, 3 Flicker, 2 Pileated Woodpecker, a Raven, a Creeper, 57 Robin, 15 White-breasted Nuthatch, a Brown Creeper, 5 Carolina Wren, 57 Robin, a Catbird, 2 Cedar Waxwing, and a Fox Sparrow.

Agawam Southeast:  Janice Zepko, Seth Kellogg, 8.5 hours plus 1 owling hour, 41 species, a Ruddy Duck, a Bufflehead, a Greater Scaup, a Great Blue Heron, 9 Mute Swan, 830 Canada Goose, 90 Goldeneye, 7 Hooded and 30 Common Merganser, 11 Turkey, 2 Bald Eagle, a Cooper’s Hawk, 6 Red-tailed Hawk, 20 Turkey, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, a Pileated Woodpecker, 2 Screech Owl, 2 Carolina Wren, 14 Robin, 2 Tree Sparrow, and 14 Song Sparrow.

Longmeadow East:  Jim Pfeifer, 7.5 hours, 1.25 night-hours, 39 species, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, 2 Red-shouldered Hawk, 7 Red-tailed Hawk, a Great Horned Owl, Kingfisher, a Barred Owl, 2 Turkey, 2 Flicker, 23 Chickadee, 15 Titmouse, a Brown Creeper, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 13 Cardinal, 4 Field, 3 Savannah, and a Swamp Sparrow, 183 Junco, 2 Grackle, 7 Cowbird, and 72 House Finch.

Forest Park:  Al and Lois Richardson, G. Saulmon, 7.5 hours, 33 species, a Wood Duck, 2 Black Duck, 2 Kingfisher, 2 Flicker, 35 Blue Jay, 2 Winter Wren, 22 White-throated Sparrow, 127 Junco, and 64 Goldfinch.

Springfield:  Tim Carter & L. Leed, 8 Hours, 32 Species, 14 Hooded Merganser, a Kingfisher, a Flicker, 26 Horned Lark, a Savannah Sparrow, and 2 Purple Finch.

West Springfield:  Myles and Kathy Conway, 7.5 hours, 31 species, 2 Cooper’s Hawk, 95 Mourning Dove, a Merlin, and a Kingfisher.

Hampden:  Mary Felix, Janet Orcutt, Donna Morrison, 7.5 hours, 27 species, 21 Turkey, 25 Chickadee, 19 Titmouse, 6 Bluebird, 23 Cardinal, and a Savannah Sparrow.

Wilbraham:  Howard Schwartz and Marcy Schwartz, 7 hours, 25 species, a Peregrine Falcon, 2 Raven, and a Mockingbird.

Ludlow: Bill and Carol Platenik, 3 hours, 21 Species, 2 Hooded Merganser, a Common Merganser, a Cooper’s Hawk, 25 Turkey, and a Robin.

Holyoke:  Bob Bieda, 7 hours, 25 species, 5 Mute Swan, 78 Black Duck, 15 Goldeneye, 3 Hooded Merganser, 22 Common Merganser, 3 Bald Eagle, a Cooper’s Hawk, 7 Great Black-backed Gull, and a Raven.

Agawam Robinson Park: Steve Perrault, Madeline Novak, 6 hours, 24 species, a Great Blue Heron, 2 Hooded Merganser, a Bluebird and 12 Robins.

East Longmeadow:  George Kingston and Jean Delany, 5 hours, 21 species, a Golden-crowned Kinglet and 31 Robins.

South Wilbraham:  Ben Hodgkins, 4 hours, 17 species, a Pileated Woodpecker, 2 Brown Creeper, 16 Golden-crowned Kinglet, and a Cedar Waxwing.

The 71 species recorded was 3 above the 1980-2017 average, and the number of birds was about average.  Species rarely recorded were Greater Scaup (2 years), Bufflehead (5 years), Ruddy Duck (6 years), Harrier (13 years), Barred Owl (9 years), Kestrel (13 years), Raven (14 years), and Savannah Sparrow (11 years). Well above average numbers of regular but uncommon species were: 154 Goldeneye, 21 Mute Swans, 154 Black Duck, 43 Turkey, and 48 Red-tailed Hawk.  Uncommon species in below average numbers with number of years found out of 37were: Wood Duck 24, Red-shouldered Hawk 17, Raven 13, Sapsucker 16 (every year in last 10), Kestrel 13 (absent until 1997), Peregrine Falcon 16 (missed only in 3 years since 2002), Fox Sparrow 22, and Purple Finch 18.

Click below to view or download complete count results.

2017 Springfield Area Christmas Count