[CT Birds] Great Backyard Bird Count Summary

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Mon Mar 11 16:57:02 EDT 2013

I apologize that it has taken me so long to get this out.  I had hoped to get this out last week, but some health issues interrupted the process:

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2013 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) and especially to Greg Hanisek who served with me as co-compiler this year.  There were some major changes in format this time around, which makes comparability to past counts tricky, but these changes are for the better.  The Count is now tied to eBird, which will make GBBC easier to participate in and easier to integrate with the larger eBird data sets.

This year we tallied 141 species on the count, short of last year's 151 species, but that will be a difficult record to break.   There were also at least two species reported over the count period that were not submitted to eBird, a Red Knot at Hammonasset and Red-necked Grebes.  I am also trying to get the Yellow-breasted Chat that was seen over the weekend included in the count totals, so we could get to 142 species.

This total though includes several new species for Connecticut on the GBBC, including,  an American Oystercatcher on the Oyster River, Indigo Bunting, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Bullock's Oriole, and Hoary Redpoll.

Some of the highlights include:
Snow Goose, first reported from Bloomfield. (all towns are from first report of the species)
Eurasian Wigeon, Stratford.
Northern Shoveler, Southport.
Eurasian Green-winged Teal, Greenwich (not counted in species total because it is a subspecies of Green-winged Teal).
Common Eiders (10), Harkness Memorial State Park.
Ring-necked Pheasant, Barkhamsted.
Pied-billed Grebe (2), Winchester.
Northern Gannet, Bridgeport.
Black-crowned Night-Heron, Stratford.
Northern Goshawk, Easton.
Rough-legged Hawk, Woodbury.
American Oystercatcher, West Haven/Milford.
Greater Yellowlegs, Stratford.
Purple Sandpiper, Hammonasset Beach State Park.
Wilson's Snipe, Stratford.
American Woodcock,
Bonaparte's Gull, Harkness.
Iceland Gull (2), Windsor.
Lesser Black-backed Gull (2), Windsor.
Razorbill, Norwalk.
Long-eared Owl, New Haven County.
Merlin, Norwalk.
Northern Shrike, Enfield.
Winter Wren, Milford.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Quinebaug Fish Hatchery.
Hermit Thrush, Barkhamsted.
Gray Catbird, Torrington.
Brown Thrasher, no location given.
Lapland Longspur, Stratford.
Pine Warbler, Willington.
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Barkhamsted.
Yellow-breasted Chat, New Haven County.
Eastern Towhee, Mansfield.
Chipping Sparrow, Ellington.
Field Sparrow, Cheshire.
Vesper Sparrow (5), Wallingford.
Fox Sparrow, Sterling.
White-crowned Sparrow, Watertown.
Indigo Bunting, Woodbridge.
Dickcissel, Ledyard.
Yellow-headed Blackbird, Salem, likely a second individual seen in Ledyard.
Rusty Blackbird, Hamden.
Bullock's Oriole, Ellington.
Red Crossbill (2), Hammonsset.
White-winged Crossbill (8), Hammonsset.
Common Redpoll, Suffield.
Hoary Redpoll (2), Barkhamsted
Pine Siskin (5), Sterling.

Additionally, a possible Yellow-legged Gull was recorded during the count period, but difficulty in separating this mega-rarity from a hybrid Herring X Lesser Black-backed Gull (statistically more expected) means that this record will not likely be approved.   The other mystery gull, that was originally thought to be a possible first cycle Slaty-backed Gull, but for which there is much uncertainty, was seen the day after the count ended.

There were some misses that have been recorded on more than one past count, that were not found this year, including:
Greater White-fronted Goose, Redhead, Black Scoter, Barrow's Goldeneye, Ruffed Grouse, Red-necked Grebe (one past count), Great Egret (one past count),  Golden Eagle, Black-headed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Red-headed Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Boat-tailed Grackle, Baltimore Oriole, Evening Grosbeak and Pine Grosbeak (one past count).

Last year we had some unusual records that helped push us to 151, including Pink-footed Goose, Virginia Rail, Common Murre, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Tree Swallow, Marsh Wren, Palm Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Harris's Sparrow.

Some peak counts also are worth noting, including:
420 Brant, Norwalk
80 Gadwall, Stratford, town wide
51 American Wigeon, Stratford
150 American Black Ducks, Greenwich
16 Northern Pintail Rocky Hill
25 Green-winged Teal, Stratford
38 Canvasback, Stratford
860 Greater Scaup, Branford
10 Common Eider, Harkness
50 White-winged Scoter, Norwalk
800 Long-tailed Duck, Norwalk
1,000 Common Goldeneye, Norwalk
50 Hooded Merganser, Greenwich
6 Red-throated Loons, Old Saybrook
32 Common Loons, Norwalk
3 Northern Harriers, Milford
13 Bald Eagles, CT River
24 American Coot, Stratford
7 Bonaparte's Gulls, Hammonasset
12 Red-breasted Nuthatches, Brookfield
6 Brown Creepers, Brookfield
11 Golden-crowned Kinglets, Hopeville State Park
25 Eastern Bluebirds, Fisher Meadow, Farmington.
6 Hermit Thrushes, Burlington
18 Snow Buntings, Stratford
40 American Tree Sparrows, North Canaan
6 Vesper Sparrows, Wallingford
65 Rusty Blackbirds, Hamden
376 Common Redpolls, Barkhamsted
41 Pine Siskins, Sterling.

Thank you all again for participating this year!


Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation

Audubon Connecticut
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury, CT 06488

Phone: (203)264-5098 x308
Fax: (203)264-6332

pcomins at audubon.org<mailto:pcomins at audubon.org>
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