Sunday, December 16, 2007

Preliminary Results from the Montreal Christmas Bird Count

The Montreal Christmas Bird Count is history. Fortunately we managed to squeek it in between the major snow falls.

Given the irregular nature of the weather in recent years, I am thinking of having a back-up plan for next year, should the weather forecast indicate the kind of conditions we are experiencing today.

The unofficial total this year was a very low 61. At this date I do not have the detailed results from Kahnawake, but I doubt that the total will change. I set out below the count totals for the last 10 years:
1997 67
1998 64
1999 71
2000 64
2001 71
2002 72
2003 69
2004 75
2005 68
2006 69

I will be submitting a complete report, hopefully within a week, once I havethe Kahnawake data, and the results from all our feeder-watchers.

This year we had a record 16 teams, including the aforementioned team fromKahnawake, led by Jean-Sebastien Guenette.

In the interests of those of you who might want to venture out in the next day or two, here are some of the highlights of this year’s count:
Verdun: Barrow’s Goldeneye (2) male & female, from the lookout just west of the Douglas Hospital Harlequin Duck (1), probably an immature male, also from the Douglas lookout. Gray Partridge (10), thanks to Pierre Bannon: on Rang St. Regis, St-Isadore
Mew Gull (1), 2nd winter, on the ice above the old power dam berm at Parc des Rapides in Lasalle
Red-bellied Woodpecker (1), at the Higgins feeder in Chateauguay.
Tufted Titmouse (1), at Sara-Jane Hills feeder in Longueuil Carolina Wren (1), also at Sara-Jane’s feeder
Purple Finch (1), at Mount Royal Park

Counts for all our teams were generally lower than average; preliminaryresults of those with higher counts were as follows:
Bob Barnhurst (St. Lawrence River, north side), 32
Guy Zenaitis (Nun’s Island and Expo Islands), 30
Felix Hilton (Chateauguay/South Kahnawake), 29
David Smith (Kahnawake/Cote Ste. Catherine), 28
Jeff Harrison (Lasalle-Angrignon-Montreal West), 28
Jean-Sebastien Guenette (North Kahnawake), 27
Sheldon Harvey (Laprairie-Candiac), 26
Marie-Anne Hudson (Verdun-NDG-Hampstead), 24

A brief exmination of the results shows that there were many species/families that we might normally expect to get, that were not recorded this year including: RB Merganser, Ruffed Grouse, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Goshawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Glaucous Gull, Any owls, other than Screech Owl, Horned Lark, Winter Wren, GC & RC Kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Bohemian and Cedar Waxwing. No warblers of any kind Rusty Blackbird, Common Grackle.

Only one bird, Pine Siskin, was recorded in count week which was not recorded on count day. Hopefully a few of the species listed above might still be recorded before count week ends at midnight on Tuesday December 18th.

I would like to thank all our leaders for their hard work, and especially David Smith who came forth at very short notice to pinch hit for Peter Mitchell and then John Hodges, to lead the Kahnawake-Cote-Ste-Catherine area, and of course all who ventured out, in less than ideal conditions, to participate. A special thanks to Lance and Andree for the frustrating job of counting crows (2,483) at the roost, and to Marie-Anne and her team for doing such an excellent job in Verdun-NDG-Hampstead.

Finally I would like to thank Sheila Arthur for hosting our social/compilation which went off without a hitch. I would also like to thank Eve Marshall and Victoria Dickenson for providing major dishes which were greatly appreciated by those who came to our after-count event. Hopefully I haven't forgot anyone else!?

Have a Merry Christmas

Jeff Harrison

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