[CT Birds] Connecticut Christmas Bird Count 2012-2013 (Part 3)

Stephen Broker ls.broker at cox.net
Wed Mar 6 21:31:19 EST 2013

From Steve Broker (Cheshire):

Part 3. Kingfisher through Snow Bunting

Kingfisher and Woodpeckers:  Belted Kingfisher (201) is variable in numbers based on available open water; average totals this year.  We get from 1 to 4 Red-headed Woodpeckers in most years.  This year, !ningun!  Red-bellied Woodpecker (727) has enjoyed a 20-year translocation from the south, but range expansion seemingly slowed this year.  What’s with the regulars?  Downy Woodpecker, low!  Hairy Woodpecker, low!  Northern Flicker, lowest in 30 years!  This last species is one to watch.  Pileated Woodpecker, below average for the last 10 years.  Maybe these birds will find the Asian Long-horned Beetle tasty in the future.


Flycatchers:  Nothing exotic this year.  Eastern Phoebe at Trail Wood (1), Hartford (1), New Haven (CW), and Old Lyme-Saybrook (1). 


Shrikes:  The last shrike irruption was in 2007-08.  This year Hartford found 1, and Litchfield Hills found 2.


Jays and Crows:  Blue Jay (2,555), the lowest total in 30 years.  The high count was 86,696 in 1999-2000.  What’s with this!  American Crow (38,084), 18% higher than last year but far short of the 86,000+ in 1999-2000.  The crow has not come home to roost.  Fish Crow (8,210), based on 8,074 reported in New Haven.  The previous statewide high is 566, so there is no context for this.  More to follow.  Common Raven (120), the second highest total behind last year’s 145.  Aarr-AHK!  This early-nesting species has begun laying eggs in the last few days.  Brilliant!


Horned Larks to Creepers:  Horned Lark (767) comes in with variable numbers year-to-year.  Three swallow species in the same year?  Hard to swallow, but Hartford recorded 6 Northern Rough-winged Swallows, while New Haven located 2 rough-winged swallows, a CW Tree Swallow, and 2 Cave Swallows (previously recorded CW in New Haven, now new to the Count Day list).  Let’s hear it for water treatment plants!  This is the fifth consecutive year of decreasing Black-capped Chickadee (6,968) numbers, while Tufted Titmouse (3,706) was counted in numbers more representative of the early- to mid-1980s.  We heard lots about the incursion into Connecticut of Red-breasted Nuthatch (286) this early winter season.  Previous incursion years occurred in 1993-94 and 2003-04.  In contrast, White-breasted Nuthatch numbers (1,812) were low.  It was an average season for Brown Creeper.


Wrens, Kinglets:  Surprisingly, Carolina Wren (783) appears not to have taken a severe hit with the winter of 2010-11 and its heavy snow cover.  At least 3 House Wrens are located in most CBC years.  This year, Troglodytes aedon has left the house everywhere except in Greenwich-Stamford (CW).  A frequent comment through December was that Winter Wren seemed to be everywhere.  The 152 Winter Wrens recorded on the statewide CBC reaffirmed that view with a 30-year high total.  Marsh Wrens, on the other hand, were is short supply with 1 at Hartford (a good find), 1 at Greenwich-Stamford, 3 at New Haven (thank you, Morris Creek Marshes), and 1 at New London.  Golden-crowned Kinglet (408) was in average supply and 27% higher than last year.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (19), not surprisingly, was much more difficult to find.


Thrushes:  Eastern Bluebird (1,159) has seen a slight downturn over the last 6 years.  Hermit Thrush (47!) was one of a number of semi-hardy species in very short supply; new 30-year low.  A fall-winter flocking bird, American Robin has a very high standard deviation on CBCs.  This year’s total (5,169) is 50% of the 30-year average.  The previous low total for Gray Catbird was 39 in 1987-88.  It drops to a new low of 17 this year.  Amazing!  Northern Mockingbird is a species generating increasing concern with declining numbers.  It has been seen less frequently on CT CBCs for 7 years, and this year establishes a new 30-year low at 504.  Brown Thrasher is a bonus bird on any count, and the 8 seen statewide in 2012-13 constitute a good number. 


Sturnids:  The steadily diminishing numbers of European Starlings in Connecticut have been noted for more than a decade.  This year’s total is 22,586 birds.  That may seem to be a lot of starlings, but consider that we counted 248,000 in 1983-84.  Oh, ivied walls. Oh, storied halls.  Oh, starling shrine of long, long ago!


Pipits, Waxwings, Snow Buntings (yes, Snow Buntings are here now):  American Pipit is at a 30-year high count, thanks largely to a remarkable 175 at Quinnipiac Valley.  A consequence of last year’s Durham Fair?  Cedar Waxwings (680) were waning in 2012-13, setting a new 30-year low.  Snow Buntings (32) were recorded just a tick above last year’s low total of 30. 

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