Count day saw clearing, some snow showers, breaks with sunshine, then bands of heavier snowfall occurring throughout count day making visibility difficult at times and causing some birds to hunker down.
Submitted by Nancy Howell, Compiler for the Lakewood Circle
Date: Saturday, December 30, 2017
Results: 79 Species: 75 Participants
Time out in the field: 06:45 to 16:00
Circle: Lakewood (OHLK)
Lat/Long: 41.4602260000, -81.8576360000
The 2017 Lakewood Circle (west side of Cleveland, OHLK) Christmas Bird Count was challenging, but participants persevered despite the weather conditions … more on that in a moment. A good number of species were located, not the highest species count, but a great list.
Early December’s weather in northeast Ohio started above average with temperatures in the 50’s for highs and 30’s to 20’s for lows with some snow accumulation. By mid-December, the temperature began to plunge, with highs in the 20’s and 30’s and lows in the teens. The end of December saw highs only in the mid-teens with lows in single digits. Snow flurries to squalls with some breaks began late Thursday, Dec. 28, persisted on Friday, Dec. 29 and into Count Day, Saturday, Dec. 30. Count day saw a clearing, some snow showers, breaks with sunshine, then bands of heavier snowfall occurring throughout count day making visibility difficult at times and causing some birds to hunker down. Snowfall on count day ranged from 2 to 5 or more inches depending on the circle area. With the cold temperatures prior to count day, inland lakes and ponds, as well as streams and even faster-flowing rivers, were nearly all frozen. The Lake Erie shoreline was freezing rapidly with some open water further out.
The 2017 list contains most species one might expect at this time of year and, as always, some nice surprises. The list includes 77 species on count day and 2 on count week for a total of 79 species. As of January 8, 2018, with all lists accounted for, here are the results of the 2017 Lakewood Circle (OHLK) Christmas Bird Count. Following the species list is a commentary on the findings and lastly the list of participants.
Note: Rare, unusual or unexpected species are bold, while count week (CW) species are in italics.
Species -- Number of each species
- Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) - 1231
- Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) - 6
- Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) - 83
- Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) - 1030
- American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) - 7
- Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) - 2
- Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) - 1
- Redhead (Aythya americana) - 3
- Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) - 19
- King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) - 1
- Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) - 1
- Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) - 45
- Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) - 473
- Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) - 2
- Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) - 1624
- Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) - 2572
- Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) - 1
- Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) - 12
- Common Loon (Gavia immer) - 1
- Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) - 1
- Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) - 14
- Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) - 3
- Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) - CW
- Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - 4
- Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) - CW
- Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) - 7
- Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) - 6
- Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) - 2
- Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) - 1
- American Coot (Fulica americana) - 1
- Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) - 1620
- Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) - 94
- Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) - 39
- Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) - 78
- Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) - 162
- Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) - 1
- Barred Owl (Strix varia) - 3
- Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) - 3
- Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - 1
- Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) - 1
- Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) - 2
- Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) - 106
- Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) - 118
- Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) - 34
- Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) - 7
- Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) - 5
- American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) - 2
- Merlin (Falco columbarius) - 2
- Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) - 3
- American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) - 32
- Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) - 272
- Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) - 204
- Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) - 97
- White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) - 116
- Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) - 1
- Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) - 3
- Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) - 15
- Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis) - 1
- Golden-crowned kinglet (Regulus satrapa) - 7
- Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) - 13
- American Robin (Turdus migratorius) - 477
- Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) - 2
- European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) - 780
- Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) - 14
- Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) - 1
- American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea) - 117
- Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) - 38
- Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) - 2
- White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) - 20
- Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) - 226
- Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler (Setophaga coronata) - 2
- Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) - 154
- Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) - 48
- Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) - 2
- Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) - 4
- House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) - 149
- Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) - 6
- American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) - 254
- House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) - 617
Cold. Maybe not the best word to use for Lakewood Circle Christmas Count 2017, how about frigid. As far as the participants, the best term to use for them was - awesome! On Saturday, December 30, the day of the count, participants were happy to have highs in the mid to upper teens. Mostly cloudy skies, light snow to periodic whiteouts, was the weather of the day. New snow on top of the snow covering already present varied from 2 inches to 5+ inches, depending on the count circle area.
Inland lakes, ponds, streams and even much of the faster-flowing waters in rivers were frozen. Lake Erie had shoreline ice with open, but icing waters, further out. Waterfowl species diversity was good, but numbers of some species were low. Any Canada Geese or ducks inland were trying to find open water. On Lake Erie 2 species of swans, Mute and Tundra were good additions. Dabbling duck diversity was low with Mallards being the most numerous. A couple of Wood Ducks, a few American Black Duck and a single Northern Pintail were tallied. Lake Erie groups did a marvelous job of recording diving and big water ducks despite bands of snow squalls. A couple of Redhead, a small number of Lesser Scaup, a single Surf Scoter, along with Bufflehead, a good number of Common Goldeneye and all three mergansers (Hooded, Red-breasted and Common) as well as Ruddy Duck. Surprise! A female King Eider made the list of lake finds.
Continuing with lake or aquatic species, a single Common Loon and Pied-billed Grebe were located on Lake Erie. Fourteen Double-crested Cormorants and 1 American Coot also made the list. Gull species made a poorer showing than in the past with Ring-billed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls making the list and not in huge numbers. No unusual or rare gulls were noted in the count circle in 2017.
Only 3 Great Blue Herons were reported and, luckily, 1 Belted Kingfisher in a flowing portion of Big Creek. With streams and waters just about totally frozen, these fish-hunting birds were having a tough time. Plus, they may have been hunkered down waiting out the snow squalls trying not to expend a lot of energy.
Wild Turkey were noted by two groups this year.
A single Turkey Vulture stuck around to be tallied for count week.
Another group of birds that may have hunkered down due to the weather were most of the diurnal raptors. Bald Eagles, only 4 tallied this year, 7 Red-tailed Hawks and a measly 2 Red-shouldered Hawks were counted. Cooper’s Hawks, with 7 tallied, still, a lower than the normal number were sighted in urban areas and by some feeder watchers. A single Sharp-shinned Hawk was noted during count week. One Rough-legged Hawk at Cleveland Hopkins airport was good for our count circle.
Owling brought a single Great Horned Owl. Other groups tallied 3 Barred Owls and with the Snowy Owls coming south, 3 birds were counted at Hopkins airport.
As we get into the species of birds that may be found at bird feeders, in backyards, parks, and green spaces the hopes were that the weather would concentrate some of the birds at feeders. Woodpeckers were reported in good numbers. Two Red-headed Woodpeckers were reported, this is a species that we don’t often get. As reported last year, Northern Flicker, as well as other woodpeckers are fond of poison ivy fruits and nearly all of the Flickers reported were feeding on these berries. While humans may not be too keen on poison ivy, the fruits can mean life or death for some winter birds.
Where oh where have American Crows gone? With only 32 reported were they smart and hole up due to the weather or, as noted in the 2016 CBC report, has their population not recovered? Blue Jay numbers were good. Feeder favorites, Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse and White-breasted Nuthatch were widely reported. A single Red-breasted Nuthatch was noted this year. Carolina Wren numbers were good and a single Winter Wren was found on count day. Several Golden-crowned Kinglets made the list as did a good number of Eastern Bluebirds. Paying attention to ornamental and native fruiting trees and shrubs in urban and suburban areas did pay off with a good number of American Robins and sightings of Cedar Waxwings.
Two Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers were a good find in the cold temperatures.
Sparrow species were typical of what is generally found in the count circle. A single Eastern Towhee made the list along with American Tree, Song, Swamp and White-throated Sparrows. Good numbers of Dark-eyed Juncos seemed to be visiting feeders and grassy areas. Wetlands appear to be areas where Song, American Tree Sparrows, and Swamp Sparrows like to reside in the winter.
Yes, we are happy to find some blackbirds each year. This year 48 Red-winged Blackbirds were found along with a couple of Common Grackle and a few Brown-headed Cowbirds. Winter finch irruption did not seem to materialize for this year’s count. A half-dozen Pine Siskins were noted along with lots of American Goldfinch.
House Finch and House Sparrows were gobbling up seeds at feeders this year.
Many, many thanks go out to all of the following birders who braved the elements birding by car, on foot, watching feeders or owling. Plan ahead and mark your calendar for Lakewood Circle Christmas Count on Saturday, December 29, 2018.
Jay Abercrombie, Claudia Anders, Ken and Lois Ballas, Dave Bowditch, Kathleen Bradley, Erik Bruder, Diane Busch, Craig Caldwell, Lee Cavano, Sue Cavano, Tim Colborn, Matt Courtman, Bill Deininger, Patti Donnillan, Maria and Rick Finchum, Joanne and Terry Gorges, Bill Grant, Jim Heflich, Hubert Ho, Nancy Howell, Don Howell, Mary Lou Hura, Debra Jesionowski, Anna Julnes, Rich Kassouf, Karen Kassouf, Jeff and Marian Kraus, JoAnn Kubicki, Duane and Jeanne Kurapka, Ray Kutnar, Fred Losi, Paula Lozano, Terri Martincic, Mike Marino, Jim McCarty, Chelsea McGimpsey, Liz McQuaid, Kathy Murphy, Penny O’Connor, Michael Pasek, Earl and Martha Peck, Christa Petryszyn, Chris Pierce, Jeff Platz, Jenna Prahst, Craig Rieker, Tom and Mary Anne Romito, Albert and Mitchell Sangregory, Linda Sekura, Arko Sen, Tom Sendry, Mark Shaver, Jack Sidor, Chuck Slusarczyk, Jr., Helen and Helena Souffrant, Debra and Mark Sweeney, Helen Taft, Kathleen Tiburzi, Bev Walborn, Eric Watts, Janet Wertz, Mike Williams, Hilton Young, Joyce Zwick and Peter Zwick.
- MAP-Christmas Bird Count-Lakewood Circle 2017 Google Maps Locations at https://goo.gl/83DA6o
- ARTICLE-Christmas Bird Count-Lakewood Circle Final Report 2017 by Nancy Howell, Compiler https://www.wcaudubon.org/news-blog/christmas-bird-count-lakewood-circle-report-2017-by-nancy-howell-compiler
- ARTICLE-118th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count-Lakewood Circle 2017 Announcement. “Lakewood" count circle includes western areas of Cuyahoga County, from Lake Erie south into Berea and Olmsted Falls, and Lakewood and Cleveland Zoo too. https://www.wcaudubon.org/news-blog/118th-annual-audubon-christmas-bird-count-lakewood-circle-2017