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Springfield Area Winter Count (CBC)

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December 15, 2018

George Kingston, Compiler & Seth Kellogg, Report

The wind was calm, the air mild, and the ground free of snow, but fog hung overhead and on the river.  The 15 teams included an eager 34 birders in the field for 117.2 hours, both slightly above the average.  They traveled almost 429 miles, with a whopping 96 miles on foot and 333 miles by car. Owling time was only 3 hours.  Many of the low common species counts to follow perhaps reflect a lack of snow to concentrate the land birds.

Black Ducks and Mallards continued low and Canada Geese were only average.  Common Merganser and Goldeneye numbers were very high, while Hooded Mergansers were average.  There were two rare duck species, one Wood Duck and two Bufflehead (6th time).  Seven Great Blue Herons was a high number, similar to three other good counts in the last seven years.  Ring-billed Gulls were average, while Herring Gulls were few for the third straight year.  A single Iceland Gull was the first since 2013.  Only four daytime raptor species were noted, but 14 Bald Eagles was one more than the record high set last year.  Only two Screech Owls were recorded, but a Barred Owl was a good find.  Falcons did well with 2 Kestrel, 2 Merlin and a whopping 5 Peregrines.  Open water gave us an impressive 12 Kingfishers.

Blue Jays remained few as in recent years, while Crows took a real dive in numbers.  Fish Crows set a high count of seven, and Ravens were a respectable five.  No Horned Larks was not too unusual considering so much urban habitat.  Chickadees improved after three very poor years, but were still in low numbers.  Both Nuthatches were on the low side, but 11 Brown Creepers was the high count in four of the last dozen years.   Five Winter Wrens was a good count and Carolina Wrens recovered nicely after three down years.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet was missed and Golden-crowned almost was.   The 20 Bluebirds was a good total and 404 Robins was excellent.  Mockingbirds improved compared to the previous three years, but were still meagre.  Cedar Waxwings were better, but still not numerous.  

Tree Sparrows were few, as in seven of the last eight years.  Three each of Field and Fox Sparrows was not bad.  Junco, White-throated and Song Sparrow were again below average, but four Swamp Sparrows was the most since 2006.  The Cardinal count was steady.  No Blackbirds at all is not that unusual.  Two Pine Siskins is not much better than the typical zero.  Almost 200 Goldfinches was not far from the recent average.  Thanks to all who worked so hard!  

We enjoyed the hospitality of George and Jean for the compilation festivities!  Take a moment to review highlights from each team in the field.

Team Members and Highlights
Agawam Southeast:  Janice Zepko and Seth Kellogg, 8.5 daylight hours plus a half hour owling.  39 species, 3 Great Blue Heron, 2 Bufflehead, 76 Goldeneye, 14 Common Merganser, a Bald Eagle, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, 5 Turkey, a Kingfisher, a Flicker, a Kestrel, a Merlin, 2 Peregrine, a Brown Creeper, a Swamp Sparrow.     

Chicopee: Tom Swochak, 9.5 hours, 1.25 owling hours, 38 species, 2 Great Blue Heron, 2 Mute Swan, 23 Black Duck, 133 Mallard, 40 Herring Gull, an Iceland Gull, 3 Kingfisher, a Kestrel, 2 Screech Owl, 5 Hairy Woodpecker, 225 Crow, a Raven, 2 Fish Crow, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch, a Field Sparrow.        

Longmeadow West:  Steve Svec,  9 hours, 38 species,  6 Mute Swan,  22 Black Duck,  282 Mallard,  76 Goldeneye,  55 Common Merganser, 446 Ring-billed Gull,  a Great Black-backed Gull,  5 Bald Eagle, 13 Turkey,  3 Kingfisher,  15 Downy Woodpecker,  8 Flicker,  a  Pileated Woodpecker,  31 Blue Jay,  33 Chickadee,  a Brown Creeper,  13 Carolina Wren,  2 Winter Wren,  2 Golden-crowned Kinglet,  a Fox Sparrow,  2 Swamp Sparrow.       

West Springfield: Myles and Kathy Conway,  John Weeks,  8.25 hours,  39 species,  a Great Blue Heron,  2 Black Duck,  5 Goldeneye,  26 Common Merganser,  2 Bald Eagle,  a Cooper’s Hawk,  100 Mourning Dove,  a Kingfisher,  11 Downy Woodpecker,  2 Pileated Woodpecker,  a Merlin,  a Fish Crow,  29 Chickadee,  12 Titmouse,  2 Brown Creeper,  5 Carolina Wren,  34 House Finch,  184 House Sparrow.       

Springfield:  Janet Orcutt, Tim Carter, Linda. Leed,  7.75 Hours,  35 Species,  665 Canada Geese,  13 Hooded Merganser,  2 Bald Eagle,  a Cooper’s Hawk,  7 Red-tailed Hawk,  74 Ring-billed Gull,  341 Rock Pigeon,  a Kingfisher,  a Flicker,  240 Common Crow,  4 Fish Crow,  788 Starling,  a Fox Sparrow, 26 Horned Lark,  a Savannah Sparrow, 2 Purple Finch.   

Ludlow: Bill and Carol Platenick,  8.2 Hours,  33 Species,  2 Mute Swan,  5 Hooded Merganser, 45 Common Merganser,  3 Bald Eagle,  129 Mourning Dove,  a Pileated,  2 Raven,  a Golden-crowned Kinglet,  6 Tree Sparrow,  47 Junco.

Longmeadow East: Jim Pfeifer, E. Pfeifer, 5.75 daylight hours and 1.25 night hours, 32 species, 24 Turkey, 9 Red-bellied Woodpecker, 12 Downy Woodpecker, 8 Hairy Woodpecker, 15 Downy Woodpecker, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, 3 Brown Creeper, 5 Carolina Wren, 2 Winter Wren, a Golden-crowned Kinglet, 17 Cardinal, 2 Field Sparrow, 108 Junco.        

Forest Park: Al and Lois Richardson,  Bambi Kenney,  David Moore,  Terri Skill,  8.5 hours,  31 species,  a Great Blue Heron,  a Wood Duck,  9 Goldeneye,  a Cooper’s Hawk,  a Kingfisher,  8 Red-bellied Woodpecker,  a Pileated Woodpecker,  the only Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,  39 Blue Jay,  33 Chickadee,  a Red-breasted Nuthatch,  3 Brown Creeper,  2 Carolina Wren.      

Agawam Robinson Park:  Steve Perrault,  Madeline Novak,  12 hours, 29 species,  2 Black Duck, 18 Common Merganser,  a Cooper’s Hawk,  a Barred Owl,  a Kingfisher,  a Flicker,  a Winter Wren.       

Holyoke:  Bob Bieda,  5 hours, 27 species,  5 Mute Swan,  2 Hooded Merganser,  34 Common Merganser,  a Bald Eagle,  a Sharp-shinned Hawk,  a Fox Sparrow.         

Hampden:  Mary Felix,  Donna Morrison,  Patrick Callahan,  8 hours,  27 species,  8 Turkey,  11 Downy Woodpecker,  a Raven,  5 Carolina Wren,  13 Bluebird,  3 Cedar Waxwing,  2 White-throated Sparrow.        

Ashley Ponds:  Tom Gagnon,  Blaise Bisaillon,  H. Iselin,  6.25 hours,  26 species,  2 Pileated,  a Raven,  2 Carolina Wren,  128 Robin,  a Swamp Sparrow.        

East Longmeadow:  George Kingston and Jean Delany, 6 hours, 24 species,  760 Canada Geese,  a Red-breasted Nuthatch,  a Carolina Wren,       

Wilbraham:  Howard and Marcy Schwartz,  7 hours, 23 species,  a Cooper’s Hawk,  a Carolina Wren,  22 Cedar Waxwing,        

South Wilbraham:  Ben Hodgkins, 4.5 hours, 17 species, 7 Bluebird, 2 Cedar Waxwing

The 62 species recorded was 6 below the 1980-2018 average, and the number of birds was a bit above average.  Very above average numbers of regular species were: 161 Goldeneye, 212 Common Merganser, 50 Turkey,  44 Carolina Wren,  20 Bluebird,  404 Robin.

 Species now or rarely recorded over the 38 year period were Bufflehead (6 years),  Iceland Gull (21 years, first since 2013),  Barred Owl (10 years),  Sapsucker (17 years, 11 since 2007),  Merlin (9 years, all since 1997),  Raven (15 years, all since 1997),  Pine Siskin (17 years,  5 since 1996)

Number of rarer species in 2018 with average of years seen and number of years found out of 38 were: one Wood Duck  5.5-25,  7 Great Blue Heron 3.2-26,  2 Sharpshin 1.5-22,  5 Cooper’s Hawk 4.5-37,  14 Bald Eagle 4.2-19,  2 Screech Owl 7.2-36,  5 Raven 2.2-15,  7 Fish Crow 1.3-19,  one Sapsucker  .9-17,   2 Kestrel, 3.3-31,  2 Merlin .4-9,  5 Peregrine .9-18,  5 Winter Wren 3.8-35,  20 Bluebird 14.7-26,   3 Field Sparrow 7.6-29,  3 Fox Sparrow 1.4-24,  4 Swamp Sparrow 5.6-32,  2 Pine Siskin, 26.3-17

Click below to view or download complete count results.

2018 Spfld Christmas Count Results