Five Great Black-backed Gulls and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls made nice additions to this year's list.
The 114th National Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Lakewood Circle Tally, sponsored by the Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society 2015
Meteorologists reported that December 2015 had been the warmest December on record for our area with temperatures throughout the month well above normal. On count day, temperatures began at 50 degrees with overcast skies and lots of rain and drizzle. As the day wore on, temperatures steadily declined to the low 40’s and, for some, the upper 30’s. Very little wind was a blessing, but the rain which lasted half of the day, then persisted as drizzle, made for some difficult birding – difficult to see, to hear and even the birds didn’t want to get wet. The mild weather left Lake Erie and any inland waters; lakes, streams and rivers, wide open. Nothing to concentrate water birds. Similarly, songbirds were not concentrated by food sources due to the mild weather.
Mild weather and rain were the two weather items that influenced the 2015 Lakewood Circle (OH) Christmas Bird Count. A few other choice words regarding the rain were indicated by some participants, but they are not fit to print (just kidding). Lake Erie and all inland lakes, ponds and rivers were free of ice. Rain before and on count day caused rivers and streams to be swollen and in some areas, dangerously swiftly. Waterfowl species and numbers were considerably lower than in past years. Dabbling duck diversity (ooh, say that fast, three times) was low with no species out of the ordinary. Diving and big water ducks, were down greatly. One Redhead, one Greater Scaup were pathetically low numbers and the Redhead was not even sighted on Lake Erie, it was located on a small pond. Common Goldeneye had respectable numbers. Two species of scoter – Surf and White-winged – were nice finds. The only merganser tallied was the Red-breasted Merganser, again with very low numbers. No Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser or Ruddy Ducks were noted. Mild weather, open water and, perhaps, the birds not even arriving from the north, all seem to add up to the poor showing of waterfowl.
- Common Loons, Horned and Pied-billed Grebes were good finds on Lake Erie. A dozen Double-crested Cormorants and a few American Coot rounded out the list of water birds on the lake.
- Wild Turkey were noted by a couple of groups this year which is nice since sometimes they are missed.
- Nine Great Blue Heron as well as 9 Belted Kingfisher were counted, some along the high waters of streams and rivers and some along lakes and ponds.
- Hawks, eagles and falcons were observed by a number of groups, but nothing unusual. No matter the weather, they had to be out hunting for their meals.
- Ring-billed, Herring and Bonaparte’s Gull numbers were lower than in past years, again due to the open waters of Lake Erie. Five Great Black-backed Gulls and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls made nice additions to the list.
- Scraping up any owls was difficult. One Barred Owl was found on the day of the count. The Great Horned Owl was noted during count week.
Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackle seem to be becoming winter regulars in the count circle. While not many, they do add to the list. Two Brown-headed Cowbirds, while maybe not the most delightful of species, also made the list this year. American Goldfinch were fairly abundant, but House Finch numbers seemed to slip a bit. House Sparrows seemed to be everywhere.
Christmas Bird Count Volunteer "Thank You" Dinner
Don't miss the annual Volunteer "Thank You" Dinner, a special time for members and community to gather together to compile results, tally species, review initial numbers, and share birding stories and trail humor.
Nancy Howell, Lakewood Circle Compiler, provided a preliminary report at the Christmas Bird Count Volunteer "Thank You" Dinner, Sunday, December 27, 2015 hosted at the Rocky River Nature Center, Rocky River Reservation, 24000 Valley Pkwy, in North Olmsted, Ohio.
Above: Click to watch the Lakewood Christmas Bird Count Preliminary Report with Nancy Howell, Compiler at the Dec 27, 2015 Tally & "Thank You" Dinner.
- Mark your calendar for the 2016 Christmas Bird Count - Lakewood Circle, scheduled for Friday, December 30, 2016.
- Add your 2015 Christmas Bird Count stories in the comment box below. We'd like to hear from you!
- Download the 2015 Lakewood Christmas Bird Count Report PDF below:
A Special Note of Thanks
The Lakewood Christmas Bird Count Report was recorded at Spice Kitchen + Bar located in the Gordon Square Arts District, 5800 Detroit Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Spice Companies promote economic vitality and physical wellness across Northeast Ohio by growing, purchasing, and preparing local, sustainable foods. Explore this iconic Ohio City destination on Flickr and be sure to add your Like to the Spice Kitchen + Bar Facebook Page.
Nancy Howell has been involved with Western Cuyahoga Audubon almost since the chapter was formed. Nancy presently serves on the WCA Board as treasurer, in membership and as program coordinator and is the compiler for the Lakewood Christmas Bird Count which is sponsored by Western Cuyahoga Audubon. In the past Nancy has served in the role of vice-president, president, education coordinator and field trip coordinator. Nancy is also one of the many leaders for the Spring Bird Walks, sponsored, in part, by WCA.