The 92nd Glenolden Christmas Bird Count, part of the 114th National Audubon Society CBC, was held Saturday, December 14, 2013. Despite the threat of a snowstorm on count day we set an all-time record for number of participants with 81 field observers and 10 feeder watchers for a grand total of 91 participants. For perspective the past 10 year average number of participants is 61. The high total was helped by the addition of 18 participants new to our CBC, certainly an encouraging number.
This horde of eager CBC’ers blanketed the county in a maximum of 33 field parties and 8 feeders covering 107 miles in 144 hours by foot and 450 miles in 40 hours by car. Therefore it was not for lack of trying that we came up with the weird, for our count, statistic of having more participants than species. We tallied 33,835 birds representing 90 species which is below the 10 and 20 year average of 96-97 species and below last year’s total of 99 species. We added no new members to our all-time list of 194 species.
As mentioned a snowstorm threatened but never really materialized. There was some light snow and rain later in the day but nothing that significantly affected the count. The temperature ranged 31-33 degrees under overcast skies throughout the day. The winds were light. A little bit of snow covered the ground and the waters were partly frozen.
Uncommon birds of interest included a Redhead duck at Crozer Park in Chester, a Northern Shrike at JHNWR-Tinicum Phila Co, a Common Raven flying over the Penn State campus and a Vesper Sparrow singing at the entrance to the Bridle Path in RCSP. Redhead has been reported on 14 previous counts always in small numbers. This is the second CBC report of Northern Shrike (2008) and second CBC report of Common Raven (1999). Vesper Sparrow has been found on 11 previous counts with a maximum number of 2 individuals.
High counts were tallied for Tundra Swan-172 (130 in 1976), Hooded Merganser-95 (80 in 2007), Wild Turkey-22 (13 in 2011) and Chipping Sparrow-19 (10 in 2004). We tied the high count of 13 set in 2008 for Bald Eagle. It should be noted that eagles are getting tough to count accurately due to probable duplication by neighboring parties. Nineteen individuals were actually reported to me but I reduced the number to 13 based on age and location reported by the observers. An encouraging note, a Bald Eagle was noted to be reinforcing the nest at Springton Reservoir by Al Guarente on count day. Eastern Towhees were again out in force with the count of 122 close to the record high of 136 set in 2011.
Northern irruption visitors were practically absent. We had zero Black-capped Chickadees. This is only the second time this species has been missed looking back to 1960 and most likely beyond. The species was first missed in 2011. There were no crossbills and only 4 Red-breasted Nuthatches, one lonely Purple Finch and 3 Pine Siskins.
Species that could be counted as “misses” include Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Horned Grebe, Northern Harrier, American Coot, Eastern Phoebe, Rusty Blackbird, and Brown-headed Cowbird.
Species (number) *high count:
Snow Goose (222), Canada Goose (8659), Tundra Swan (172*), Gadwall (3), American Wigeon (3), American Black Duck (174), Mallard (435), Northern Pintail (8), Green-winged Teal (11), Redhead (1), Lesser Scaup (16), Bufflehead (3), Hooded Merganser (95*), Common Merganser (83), Ruddy Duck (5), Wild Turkey (22*), Pied Billed Grebe (1), Double-crested Cormorant (61), Great Cormorant (2), Great Blue Heron (26), Black Vulture (54), Turkey Vulture (139), Bald Eagle (13- 9 adult, 3 juv, 1 unk), Sharp-shinned Hawk (14), Cooper’s Hawk (22), Red-shouldered Hawk (7), Red-tailed Hawk (83), Killdeer (4), Wilson’s Snipe (5), Ring-billed Gull (1425), Herring Gull (29), Great Black-backed Gull (26), Rock Pigeon (602), Mourning Dove (665), Eastern Screech-owl (28), Great Horned Owl (7), Belted Kingfisher (18), Red-bellied Woodpecker (171), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (19), Downy Woodpecker (178), Hairy Woodpecker (41), Northern Flicker (92), Pileated Woodpecker (9), American Kestrel (2), Merlin (2), Peregrine Falcon (1), Northern Shrike (1), Blue Jay (405), American Crow (624), Fish Crow (20), crow sp.(17), Common Raven (1), Carolina Chickadee (438), Tufted Titmouse (328), Red-breasted Nuthatch (4), White-breasted Nuthatch (177), Brown Creeper (20), Carolina Wren (217), Winter Wren (23), Golden-crowned Kinglet (70), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (6), Eastern Bluebird (65), Hermit Thrush (13), American Robin (9014), Gray Catbird (2), Northern Mockingbird (61), Brown Thrasher (2), European Starling (2249), American Pipit (10), Cedar Waxwing (11), Yellow-rumped Warbler (12), Eastern Towhee (122), American Tree Sparrow (23), Chipping Sparrow (19*), Field Sparrow (12), Vesper Sparrow (1), Savannah Sparrow (3), Fox Sparrow (23), Song Sparrow (922), Swamp Sparrow (35), White-throated Sparrow (2109), White-crowned Sparrow (1), Dark-eyed Junco (1519), Northern Cardinal (501), Red-winged Blackbird (308), Common Grackle (4), Purple Finch (1), House Finch (215), Pine Siskin (3), American Goldfinch (348), House Sparrow (218).
Total Species: 90. 20 year average species count: 97. All-time species count: 194.
Here is a list of Participants with their years of service. New participants, 5 year anniversaries and those with over 25 years participation are in bold lettering for special recognition. I suspect some of the years of service are inaccurate. Please let me know if yours needs to be corrected:
Ellis Akers (42), Marcus Baldwin (1), Alex Baugh (1), Gary Becker (10), Debbie Beer (3), Sarah Besadny (6), Rob Bierregaard (2), Adrian Binns (1), Jim Bodine (23), Isadora Boucas-Neto (2), Sarah Boucas-Neto (7), Tom Bush (1), Ben Bussman (1), Brian Byrnes (5), Jamal Carter (1), Donna Chadderton (5), Skip Conant (30), Bill Cranny (3), Alan Crawford III (5), Alvera Crocetto (39), Nick Crocetto (39), Anna Crocker (1), Dan Crocker (3), Cynthia Curry (12), John D’Amico (16), Susan D’Amico (15), Martin Dellwo (2), Don DiPietro (4), David Eberly (23), Phyllis Fingerhood (19), Kevin Fryberger (6), Diana Funchion (1), Stephanie Gaboriault (3), Gregg Gorton (1), Al Guarente (39), Aaron Henry (1), Micah Henry (1), Rich Horwitz (25), Bill Howard (2), Lois Hunn (15), Hiroshi Iizuka (2), Letitia Jeavons (3), Kristen Johnson (3), Sheryl Johnson (18), Steve Kapski (19), Virginia Kapski (2), Bob Kelly (5), Dan Kobza (2), Mary Ellen Krober (27), Danielle LaLonde (2), Chris Langman (5), Amy Langman (3), Chelsea Lucas (5), Sue Lucas (6), Dave Luning (1), Laura Matika (1), Dave McDonald (2), Doris McGovern (30), Pat McGovern (2), Tom McKeeman (6), Art McMorris (3), Kathy Meermans (7), Rob Megraw (21), Alison Mostrom (22), Damon Orsetti (1), Carl Perretta (24), Mariana Pesthy (1), Chris Pugliese (5), Nick Pulcinella (44), Jim Purtill (4), Brian Quindlen (7), Tom Reeves (39), Lynn Roman (2), Vail Ryan (1), Alice Sevareid (6), Win Shafer (9), Bob Sharp (1), Nathaniel Sharp (1), Charles Smith (6), Marilyn Smith (1), Gary Stolz (7), Carol Storey (8), Marcia Tate (3), Gloria Todor (8), Pat Trevelino (9), Scott Tuttle (7), Kris Wade (4), Peter Wade (4), Chris Walters (36), Bonnie Witmer (2), Alex Zorach (1).
Special thanks to Chris Walters who after 36 years of participation will be handing over the reins of our Area 7-Elwyn to the capable hands of Brian Quindlen. Chris and his teams have worked hard over the years providing thorough coverage and very complete species counts. Chris has also added some nice rarities to our count list. Here are his favorites: “Greatest Glenolden CBC birds for me were Blue-headed Vireo in 2001 (1st ever for the count), Black th'd Green Warbler in 1994(another 1st), 7 Red Crossbills in 1987, and Lincoln's Sparrow in 1990”. Chris is not retiring as a CBC’er. He will continue to participate in the Cape May CBC which is typically held on the day after ours. Thanks again Chris!
Also Tom McParland and Bill Roache are turning over leadership of the Ridley Creek State Park-South Area in order to devote their time and energy to the Cape May CBC. Alison Mostrom and Tom Bush will be taking over leadership of that vital area so the transition will be seamless. We thank Tom and Bill for their participation over the years and expect them back to help out as their time allows in the future.
For a detailed exploration of historical data for our count and all CBCs I recommend you check out www.christmasbirdcount.org. On the right hand column click “Results, Data, Research” and then again on the right click “Results: Current & Historical” Here you can find a detailed report of our count that provides high counts for all species. You can also explore ours and other counts by species & make nifty graphs of their frequency through the years.
Our CBC is held on the first Saturday of the count period announced by Audubon. So far I cannot find that date. Based on our historical dates it will probably be 12/19/14. I will let everyone know officially as soon as I find out. If you are interested you can keep an eye on the website.
Thank you all once again for your participation, especially my team captains who make my job so much easier. I’m looking forward to next year’s CBC so stay healthy, stay in shape and stay psyched to get back out there again!