Monday, December 21, 2015

December 20,2015 96th Ottawa-Gatineau Christmas Bird Count

Hi Everyone 

The annual Ottawa-Gatineau CBC was held today, December 20,2015. Conditions were excellent with virtually no snow cover and open water conditions contributed to almost a record number of species. The preliminary results, 86 species, our second highest ever. The record is 89 species in 1984. Our average over the past 30 years is around 72 species. This was my 45th consecutive Ottawa CBC and one of the most exciting. Conditions were excellent for walking and covering areas you don't usually do since there is a few feet of snow or the area is frozen. There was  lots of natural food available,berries and seeds plus we'd had no extreme cold temperatures this fall and early winter to kill off late lingering species. As a result the Britannia sector had its best showing ever with 65 species confirmed so far. Our previous high was 61 species in 2006. The combination of no snow, waterways open, and a relatively mild fall and early winter resulted in a higher number of late lingerers. Highlights included Winter Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Northern Mockingbird, and  Wood Thrush to name a few. A great team effort! 

Good birding

The first record of Greater White-fronted Goose for the count was found early in the week. 

A Northern Mockingbird was one of numerous rare land birds found on the count. 

A few Snowy owls were observed along the Ottawa River.

With all waterways open there were a number of late lingering ducks including American Wigeon. 

First record of Wood Thrush for the count was a big surprise. 

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