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The Christmas Bird Count

Cattaraugus County Bird Club
Cattaraugus County Bird Club participants of the CBC

Today I participated in the 58th Saint Bonaventure Christmas Bird Count (108th Audubon). I was happy the count was scheduled for today and not during tomorrows “big snowstorm”. Around 6pm this evening the snow has already started falling and is coming down hard! The temperature for the count was around 20-25F and we had very the cold blowing winds!!

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee

My day started by turning back home for my binoculars (really . . . I thought they were in my truck)! I was greeted with many common birds (once I finally arrived in section 3) like the Northern Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadee, American Tree Sparrow . . . Sweet . . . a Golden-crowned Kinglet. This is the first year I have found any Snow Buntings during the CBC and were also my first of the year (CHECK)! Snow buntings were found by 3 different groups in our circle and I was ecstatic with seeing sixteen of them in my section!!

Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting found in the corn field along the road

During the afternoon I joined Tim along the Allegheny River which is always a productive area. We quickly found an adult Bald Eagle flying up river but just couldn’t locate any waterfowl (checked 4 times). Finally found my first woodpeckers for the day (Red-bellied Woodpecker and Downy Woodpecker) and about 80ish Cedar Waxwing that had probably been feeding on the grapes. This wasn’t a quite walk stomping through the icy goldenrods and spooked a Great Horned Owl from the grape vines! I think it won the award for the most beautiful bird of the day (it was also our only owl for our count).

American Kestrel
American Kestrel

We had a wonderful dinner where we reflected the many birds we saw today. The Cattaraugus County Bird Club recorded 49 species of birds and I was able to see 24 of those species in 2 of the 6 sections within the circle. Our group normally locate around 50 species each year but we did notice a lower number than normal of a few species. I was very disappointed in not locating any of the winter finch species that everyone has been talking about (A few others located some Redpolls).

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey who wouldn’t come out into the open!

I will include all 24 species that I located in the comments box. I can’t wait to see how everyone else did with their counts.

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26 responses

  1. Wild Turkey
    Bald Eagle
    Red-tailed Hawk
    American Kestrel
    Rock Pigeon
    Mourning Dove
    Great Horned Owl
    Red-bellied Woodpecker
    Downy Woodpecker
    Blue Jay
    American Crow
    Black-capped Chickadee
    White-breasted Nuthatch
    Golden-crowned Kinglet
    European Starling
    Cedar Waxwing
    American Tree Sparrow
    Dark-eyed Junco
    Snow Bunting
    Northern Cardinal
    Brown-headed Cowbird
    House Finch
    American Goldfinch
    House Sparrow

    15 December 2007 at 11:51 pm

  2. Sounds like a great day.

    16 December 2007 at 12:21 am

  3. I thought bald eagles went south just far enough to stay where there is open water but it looks like the info I received was wrong. Wow, what a great day you had. I’ve never seen a Snow Bunting. I’m going to keep my eyes open for them.

    16 December 2007 at 12:29 am

  4. Wow, how very cool! Where did you go? Is there a specific locale for the group’s count?

    16 December 2007 at 12:44 am

  5. naturespalette

    Very cool Mon@rch! Sounds like a lot of fun (except the 20° part). 😉

    16 December 2007 at 12:45 am

  6. It looks like you had a wonderful day. It is great that you saw so many birds and had a great dinner. ~nita~

    16 December 2007 at 2:13 am

  7. This is my idea of a great read! I appreciate the photos and the bird list. These bird counts fall under the category of Selfless Stewardship. I’m inspired.

    16 December 2007 at 3:22 am

  8. Good work! Thanks for posting your list. Our count was today, but I did not get to participate as I was working. Darn!

    16 December 2007 at 4:30 am

  9. Marg

    Well you have a wait til my count-LOL

    Oh how great you saw snow buntings-I haven’t yet but will soon-and nice you got an owl. Did you hear about the Black Throated Gray that is hanging around Port Burwell?

    16 December 2007 at 5:29 am

  10. Lisa at Greenbow

    It sounds like it was a good count what with all your snow. I just love Snow buntings. I have tried to get a good picture of them many times but haven’t done so.

    Black-throated Gray… hmmmmmm Haven’t seen one of those in a long time.

    16 December 2007 at 7:30 am

  11. Great photos. Sounds like you had a very special day.

    16 December 2007 at 8:26 am

  12. Sounds like a lot of fun! What a great list for December in the snow. Sections of the Grand River are well frozen here and the only place I see water birds now are near the municipal water treatment plants where warmer water is discharged into the river. There are 5 birds on your list I have never seen.

    16 December 2007 at 8:35 am

  13. Awesome Mon@rch! I love the snow bunting!

    16 December 2007 at 8:48 am

  14. Dear Mon@rch,
    Snow Bunting! Would be a lifer for me.
    Stay warm! Hope the snow is not too deep.
    Fun to go out counting with a group.

    16 December 2007 at 11:00 am

  15. @ John – thanks it was for where we are located!
    @ Erie – ya and no! We had open water and the river is still open! We have had Eagles sitting on their nest by February with the water still frozen! They are able to fly very far distances to open water if needed (then return to their territory)! The PISP should have some flying around the lake?
    @ Lana – We are the Saint Bonaventure Circle here in South Western New York.
    @ Naturespalette – sure was even with the 20F temps!
    @ Nita – it was and we did have a great time! Thanks!
    @ Crayons – I would have to believe your area have a few different counts happening! I strongly suggest getting involved . . . lots of opportunity to learn!
    @ Trixie – I would have probably quit my job! LOL only kidding!
    @ Marg – will wait and hope you post on your site! BT Gray? You are kidding?
    @ Lisa – They were not easy to capture a photograph but was worth the efforts! BT Gray would be a lifer for me!
    @ threecollie – thanks and it was!
    @ Ruth – it sure was and would have been better if we had more waterbirds! WWTP sounds like a great place to do some birding, we have a few areas like that here also!
    @ Pam – thanks and they are great birds!
    @ Sherry – they were great and my first for the year! Snow hasn’t gotten that bad yet!

    16 December 2007 at 11:06 am

  16. Great list & photos – a number would be lifers for me!

    16 December 2007 at 1:09 pm

  17. What a neat day! I love the picture of the Snow Bunting, I’ve never seen one in real life before. Sounds like you had a lot of fun!

    16 December 2007 at 8:43 pm

  18. Hi Mon@rch,
    Glad you didn’t have to count birds in a snowstorm. That’s a fabulous snow bunting picture. I only see them from a distance and then they’re flying away.

    16 December 2007 at 8:44 pm

  19. Ahhh… the hard caught enviable… Black-capped Chickadee. Exellent work! These guys are so flighty that this alone is worth mention. Beautiful shot! (the face of all things… ohhh… I seeth with envy!) Really…. beautiful Tom.

    17 December 2007 at 3:24 am

  20. @ Adam – thanks and you always have birds that would be lifers to me!
    @ Chicago Nature lady – thanks and the snow bunting picture is a fave of mine also! Was fun, thanks!
    @ Ruthie – I am glad also! Normally I see them flying away also but I was lucky with these guys!
    @ aullori – This bird was pished in! Thanks

    17 December 2007 at 7:50 am

  21. Sorry you didn’t get any redpolls, but at least you got some of those snow buntings (still a species I can’t check off my lifelist). Nice shots and you are a braver man than I wandering out into the wilds this weekend!

    17 December 2007 at 9:16 am

  22. W O W ~~ I am very impressed. Those pictures are gorgeous, btw.

    17 December 2007 at 10:28 am

  23. @ Marty – that’s alright they are at my feeders!! Storm wasn’t that bad!
    @ Ladybug – thanks and was a good time!

    17 December 2007 at 8:34 pm

  24. Grace

    The last snow bunting I saw was by the big beaver pond in the Quaker area of ASP–some years ago. You were lucky the snowstorm didn’t move in until late in the day.

    20 December 2007 at 3:34 pm

  25. We got the snow for our count, but not so much wind. Sounds like a great count!

    Good birding to you!

    21 December 2007 at 3:35 pm

  26. Sounds like a good time.-Don’t feel bad-You don’t know how many times I’ve run out the door without my binoculars.-Congrats on the Snow Bunting!I’ve been working hard to find these winter finches.-Crossbills are the only ones I’ve found so far unless you count Purple Finch.
    There’s still plenty of winter left to find those sneaky winter finches!

    22 December 2007 at 3:29 pm

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