Lakewood Christmas Bird Count
December 27, 2015
LAKEWOOD CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT Sunday, December 27, 2015.
Time out in the field 06:45 to 15:30
Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society www.wcasohio.org
The 2015 Lakewood Circle (west side of Cleveland) Christmas Bird Count was well covered by 74 participants. December 2015 was one of the more unusual months, weather-wise, and most likely contributed to the species found … or not. Meteorologists reported that December 2015 had been the warmest December on record for our area with temperatures throughout the month well above normal. On count day, temperatures began at 50 degrees with overcast skies and lots of rain and drizzle. As the day wore on, temperatures steadily declined to the low 40’s and, for some, the upper 30’s. Very little wind was a blessing, but the rain which lasted half of the day, then persisted as drizzle, made for some difficult birding – difficult to see, to hear and even the birds didn’t want to get wet. The mild weather left Lake Erie and any inland waters; lakes, streams and rivers, wide open. Nothing to concentrate water birds. Similarly, songbirds were not concentrated by food sources due to the mild weather.
As one reads through the list it may be noticeable that many species, normally seen at the time of the Christmas Count, are missing or were seen in low numbers. The list includes 63 species on count day and 5 count week for a total of 68 species. As of January 8, 2016, with all lists accounted for, below are the results of the 2015 Lakewood Circle (OH) Christmas Bird Count. Following the species list is commentary on the findings and lastly the list of participants.
Rare, unusual or unexpected species are bold, while count week (CW) species are in italics.
Mild weather and rain were the two weather items that influenced the 2015 Lakewood Circle (OH) Christmas Bird Count. A few other choice words regarding the rain were indicated by some participants, but they are not fit to print (just kidding). Lake Erie and all inland lakes, ponds and rivers were free of ice. Rain before and on count day caused rivers and streams to be swollen and in some areas, dangerously swiftly. Waterfowl species and numbers were considerably lower than in past years. Dabbling duck diversity (ooh, say that fast, three times) was low with no species out of the ordinary. Diving and big water ducks, were down greatly. One Redhead, one Greater Scaup were pathetically low numbers and the Redhead was not even sighted on Lake Erie, it was located on a small pond. Common Goldeneye had respectable numbers. Two species of scoter – Surf and White-winged – were nice finds. The only merganser tallied was the Red-breasted Merganser, again with very low numbers. No Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser or Ruddy Ducks were noted. Mild weather, open water and, perhaps, the birds not even arriving from the north, all seem to add up to the poor showing of waterfowl.
Common Loons, Horned and Pied-billed Grebes were good finds on Lake Erie. A dozen Double-crested Cormorants and a few American Coot rounded out the list of water birds on the lake.
Wild Turkey were noted by a couple of groups this year which is nice since sometimes they are missed.
Nine Great Blue Heron as well as 9 Belted Kingfisher were counted, some along the high waters of streams and rivers and some along lakes and ponds.
Hawks, eagles and falcons were observed by a number of groups, but nothing unusual. No matter the weather, they had to be out hunting for their meals.
Ring-billed, Herring and Bonaparte’s Gull numbers were lower than in past years, again due to the open waters of Lake Erie. Five Great Black-backed Gulls and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls made nice additions to the list.
Scraping up any owls was difficult. One Barred Owl was found on the day of the count. The Great Horned Owl was noted during count week.
As we get into the species of birds that may be found at birdfeeders, in backyards, and parks, numbers of many species were lower. Woodpecker showings were respectable. American Crow numbers dipped a bit, but again, were the birds just spread so widely that they were not counted or are their populations truly down? A single Brown Creeper, 3 Carolina Wrens and 3 Golden-crowned Kinglets made the list. Eastern Bluebirds were found by a couple of groups and over 500 American Robins were tallied with some groups reporting large flocks. Compare this with the 2014 CBC American Robin tally of only 159 birds. Cedar Waxwing made for a nice addition to the count. During count week a single Gray Catbird was photographed in a residential area of Lakewood which was nice.
Sparrow species were typical of what is generally found in the count circle. American Tree Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos numbers were fairly high, Song and White-throated Sparrows were in good number, Swamp Sparrows should be more common, but their numbers are consistently low. Five Fox Sparrows were a good find for count day and a winter plumaged Chipping Sparrow was a great addition to count day.
Red - winged Blackbirds and Common Grackle seem to be becoming winter regulars in the count circle. While not many, they do add to the list. Two Brown-headed Cowbirds, while maybe not the most delightful of species, also made the list this year. American Goldfinch were fairly abundant, but House Finch numbers seemed to slip a bit. House Sparrows seemed to be everywhere.
Well-deserved thanks go out to all of the following who birded by car, on foot, watched feeders, did some owling, etc. Apologies to those who I may have missed despite looking over the lists again and again. Don’t forget to look and plan ahead for 2016.
Jay Abercrombie, Alison Ball, Ken and Lois Ballas, Mary Bartos, Kit and Dennis Birch, Kathleen Bradley, Nancy Brewer, Scott Brozell, Erik Bruder, Diane Busch, June Cangey, Lee and Mary Cavano, Frank Comodeca, Bill Deininger, David Dvorak Jr., Mark Eberling, Brenda and Todd Eiben, Maria and Charles Finchum, Bob Finkelstein, Joanne and Terry Gorges, Kurt Grenig, Sharon Hanse, Jim Heflich, Heather Hodges, Nancy and Don Howell, Mary Lou Hura, Debra Jesionowski, Anna Julnes, Joan Kafer, Rich Kassouf, Ethan Kistler, Tom Kosicki, Jeff and Marian Kraus, Jeff and Irene Krise, JoAnn Kubicki, Ray Kutnar, Emily Larsen, Becky Lauer, Fred Losi, Paula Lozano, Terri Martincic, Jim McCarty, Mary Lou McGuire, Liz McQuaid, Aaron Milenski, Tamyra Mouginis, Kathy Murphy, Penny O’Connor, Donna Owen, Michael Pasek, Chris Pierce, Marty Reynard, Craig Rieker, Tom and Mary Anne Romito, Larry Rosche, Jeremiah Roth, Gaye Rule, Lisa Schlog, Linda Sekura, Judy Semroc, Mark Shaver, Paul Sherwood, Chuck Slusarczyk, Jr. and Bev Walborn.
CBC birders Mark, Kit, & Dennis © Penny O'Connor
Lots of rain made the Rocky River swell! © Penny O'Connor
Nancy finds blooming forsythia. © Penny O'Connor