The field work for this 19th annual Little River IBA Count was done on a mild, calm evening (temps mid-70s, winds WNW at 2 mph), followed by a mild morning and a warm, but comfortable afternoon (temps low 60’s rising to 84 degrees by mid-afternoon, winds S at 1-5 mph).
This year Tom Swochak hosted the compilation get-together at his yoga studio in Westfield. Pizza, salad, and fresh fruit were gobbled down quickly. Beverages flowed throughout the compilation and a yummy dessert and coffee ended the event. We bantered while we compiled our individual results and then shared our totals and the day’s adventures. Great fun!
Altogether, there were 7 teams and 12 observers in the field for a total of 66.5 hours. The hours of effort were up 2.25 from last year, but still well below the Count’s average of 71.2. The total number of species counted was 106, falling below our average of 110.7.
Misses of note include, Green Heron, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Woodcock, Whip-poor-will, Acadian Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglet and White-throated Sparrow. Near misses, with just one individual found, were Hooded Merganser, Ruffed Grouse, Cooper’s Hawk, Killdeer, Blue-winged Warbler and Virginia Rail.
High counts were set this year for Red-tailed Hawk (10), Yellow-billed Cuckoo (7), Red-bellied Woodpecker (21), Downy Woodpecker (18), Tufted Titmouse (63), House Wren (45, average is 21), Prairie Warbler (19, average is 10), and Indigo Bunting (38). Other species with special interest were Double-crested Cormorant (2, found in only 7 other counts) and Brown Thrasher (1, found in only 5 other counts).
Species with the lowest, or close to the lowest, numbers in count history were Blue-headed Vireo (9, only lower in 2014), Winter Wren (5, only lower in 2015), Hermit Thrush (9, only lower in 2019), Louisiana Waterthrush (3), Magnolia Warbler (5), Chestnut-sided Warbler (65), Black-throated Blue Warbler (47, only lower in 2019 and 2020), Yellow-rumped Warbler (5), Black-throated Green Warbler (21, only lower in 2019), Canada Warbler (6, only lower in 2021), Dark-eyed Junco (6, only lower in 2012 and 2013), and Bobolink (26).
To end this summary on a better note, Myles and Kathy spotted two Sandhill Cranes, found for the very first time in our Little River IBA count.
Click below to view or download complete count results.