[CT Birds] Napatree CBC Results

Shaibal Mitra Shaibal.Mitra at csi.cuny.edu
Fri Jan 22 10:07:44 EST 2016

The 14th Napatree CBC, 27 December 2015

A formatted version of this summary, plus a spreadsheet detailing this year's results in comparison with prior years' results, will be sent to participants and are available on request.

The Napatree CBC recorded 117 species on 27 December 2015 in southwestern Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut. Once again, there was no coverage in the circle’s portion of eastern Fisher’s Island, New York.

There were several new additions to the cumulative species list and other notable rarities. Most unusual were Western Tanager in Watch Hill (1st RINT record), a Pacific Loon off Weekapaug beach (3rd record), a Sterna tern at Quonochontaug (1st record), a continuing Red-headed Woodpecker at Burlingame (3rd record), 3 Laughing Gulls, at Quonnie and Weekapaug (1st record), and an American Oystercatcher at Napatree Point (1st record). Other species previously recorded on fewer than 50% of counts were 10 Redheads (2nd record, max) and 2 Lesser Scaup (5th record), both on Chapman Pond, 7 Harlequin Ducks at Quonnie (7th record, max), a Greater Yellowlegs in eastern Stonington (5th record), a Black-headed Gull in western Stonington (5th RINT record), and Eastern Screech Owl in Watch Hill (7th record), 6 Fish Crows in Watch Hill (4th record, max), an Orange-crowned Warbler at Napatree (4th record), a Palm Warbler in Ashaway (7th record), 3 Common Yellowthroats in eastern Stonington (6th record), and 2 Ipswich Sparrows in Weekapaug (4th record, max).

Beyond those mentioned above, new maxima were set for 12 species, disproportionately landbirds: 3 American Bitterns, 20 Black Vultures, 25 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 73 Sanderlings, 611 Black-capped Chickadees, 76 White-breasted Nuthatches, 17 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 506 Slate-colored Juncos, 370 Northern Cardinals, 35 Rusty Blackbirds, 809 House Finches, 304 American Goldfinches, and 531 House Sparrows.

New minima were set for 11 species, mostly waterbirds:  Mute Swan (40), American Black Duck (181), Mallard (302), Long-tailed Duck (3), Horned Grebe (13), Merlin (1), Purple Sandpiper (4), Northern Saw-whet Owl (2), Carolina Wren (42), Golden-crowned Kinglet (7), and Brown Thrasher (missed for the first time). Many of these high- and low-lights are broadly consistent with trends seen on other counts in southern New England and Long Island, including the persistence of Laughing Gulls and of ice-sensitive shorebirds, such as American Oystercatcher and Greater Yellowlegs; continuing regional increases by Black Vulture and Fish Crow; low numbers of common freshwater waterfowl, a dearth of Horned Grebes, a reduction in Carolina Wrens, and a spectacularly inverted ratio of Ruby-crowned to Golden-crowned Kinglets—a particularly memorable feature of the 2015-2016 CBC season for those who participated in multiple circles.

Several additional species were recorded in unusual (but not record) numbers that also match the results of other regional counts. For instance, Fox Sparrows were recorded in high numbers in many places this year, and our total of 41 was well above our average of 28. Similarly, we recorded the following species in low numbers, in accord with other, nearby CBCs: Great Cormorant (9 vs. an average of 79), American Tree Sparrow (38 vs. an average of 94), and Swamp Sparrow (10 vs. an average of 20).

Many thanks to our 31 participants! Next season’s count is scheduled for Sunday 18 December 2016.

Shai Mitra & Glenn Williams, compilers.

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