[CT Birds] (Part I) Connecticut Christmas Bird Count - A Preliminary Look

Stephen Broker ls.broker at cox.net
Sat Feb 12 17:45:35 EST 2011


 From Steve Broker (Cheshire):

The 2010-2011 Connecticut Christmas Bird Count:  A Preliminary Look

The 2010-2011 Connecticut Christmas Bird Count was held during the  
National Audubon Society’s designated December 14 (2010) to January 5  
(2011) window.  Sixteen of eighteen state CBCs have reported count  
results to date.  The year’s results are compared with the results of  
the previous 29 years of counts on a species-by-species basis in  
order to shed some light on trends with early winter bird populations  
in Connecticut (and bordering portions of New York, Massachusetts,  
and Rhode Island.  A 30-year spreadsheet has been updated to span the  
period 1981-82 through 2010-2011.  The comments below are based on  
this 30-year analysis and do not consider count results prior to  
1981-82.  Other forms of evidence about bird populations, such as the  
Summer Bird Count and breeding bird surveys, do not figure in this  
analysis.  Here, with a minimum of arm-waving and without using up  
too much material needed for later, are some observations on selected  
species seen.  A full report will appear in an upcoming 2011 issue of  
The Connecticut Warbler.

Recall that a blizzard entered Connecticut around noontime on  
December 26 (Barkhamsted and Stratford-Milford counts were held on  
that day), but that nearly the entire succession of snowstorms that  
ripped through Southern New England occurred in January and February  
after the CBC season had ended.

PART I. Waterfowl to Hawks

Waterfowl:
Brant – 2nd highest total ever

Mute Swan – numbers holding at about 1,000 birds statewide

Wood Duck – 3rd highest in 30 years

American Wigeon – essentially exclusive to the coast, and on the low  
side

American Black Duck – maintaining its reduced numbers of the last 7  
years

Northern Shoveler – 3 from Hartford put this species back on the  
yearly list

Canvasback – twice last year’s total, but far fewer than in the 1980s  
and earlier

Greater Scaup – one of the higher totals of the last 10 years

Lesser Scaup – down 100 from last year, but still better than most  
years in the last ten

King Eider – back on the charts this year, thanks to 2 at Stratford- 
Milford and 1 at Westport

Surf Scoter – highest total in 30 years, through the efforts of New  
London & Stratford-Milford

White-winged Scoter – the highest by far, mostly due to a huge raft  
at Stratford-Milford

Common Merganser – on the low side

Ruddy Duck – back to more typical numbers following very robust  
numbers in the late 1990s and the early to mid 2000s

Gallinaceous birds:
Ring-necked Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, and Northern Bobwhite –  
continued dismal numbers:  19, 8, and 1, respectively

Loons & Grebes:
Common Loon – 2nd highest total

Pied-billed Grebe – low numbers

Horned Grebe – a nice upswing from totals of the four previous years,  
due to New Haven & New London tallies

Gannets:
Northern Gannet – this species continues its leakage into Long Island  
Sound and westward along the coast

Hawks, Eagles, Falcons & Those We Thought Were Their Kin:
Black Vulture – a record high total (244 + 5 at Napatree), serving  
continued notice to the Turkey Vulture population

Bald Eagle, Cooper’s Hawk – 2nd highest totals

Northern Goshawk – 1 count day + 1 count week, the lowest total in 30  
years for a hard-to-find species

Red-shouldered Hawk – 20% higher than the previous high of 2005-06.   
Take that, Red-tails!

Broad-winged Hawk – recorded for the 3rd time in the last 12 years,  
this one at New Haven.  Well documented once again for those skeptics  
out there.

Rough-legged Hawk – 2 at Litchfield Hills, 1 at New London, CW at  
Stratford-Milford; much harder to find than in the 1980s.

American Kestrel – barely hanging on by a thin malar stripe

Merlin – outpointing kestrels once again

Peregrine Falcon – a new record high!


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