What a difference a year makes. In 2017 Count Day was noted as being “frigid”, but in 2018 Saturday, December 29 the day was relatively mild with temperatures in the mid to lower 30’s, overcast skies and almost no wind. No snow was on the ground and precipitation was hardly noticeable.
Submitted by Nancy Howell, Compiler for the Lakewood Circle
Date: Saturday, December 29, 2018
Results: 72 Species: 85 Participants
Time out in the field: 06:45 to 16:00
Circle: Lakewood (OHLK)
Lat/Long: 41.4602260000, -81.8576360000
The 2018 Lakewood Circle (west side of Cleveland, OHLK) Christmas Bird Count was good in some ways and not so good in others. The good parts were the 85 participants covering the Circle, the relatively mild weather and the number of species sighted. The not so good was the relatively mild weather and the number of species sighted … “where were the birds?” many asked. All was not lost, however, as one reads through the list.
Early December began colder than normal, but as the month progressed temperatures rose slightly above average which kept ALL water completely open. Locating waterfowl, gulls and other waterbirds was difficult. Count day temperatures held in the mid to lower 30’s with overcast skies. No snow was
on the ground on Count Day and precipitation was practically nil.
The 2018 list contains species expected at this time of year and, as always, some nice surprises. The list includes 72 species from count day and 3 from count week. As of January 11, 2019, the following are the results of the 2018 Lakewood Circle (OHLK) Christmas Bird Count. Note: Rare, unusual or unexpected species are bold, while count week (CW) species are in italics.
Following the species list is a commentary on the findings and lastly the list of participants.
All water sources were wide open which did not concentrate waterfowl or gulls leaving duck and gull species diversity and numbers low. Was there mild weather further north causing the birds to not move into our region, or were birds just so widely scattered? The list begins with Cackling Goose noted during Count Week. The 2 birds were found and photographed at the Westlake Recreation Center, but were not observed on Count Day. Canada Goose and Mallard were tallied on many of the routes and numbers were consistent with other years. Dabbling duck numbers were low with a few Wood Ducks and American Black Ducks, and a single Northern Pintail.
Diving ducks were … uh, where? A small number of Lesser Scaup, Greater Scaup and Bufflehead were located on Lake Erie as was a single Surf Scoter. Common Goldeneye were a bit more abundant. The only species of merganser on Count Day was Red-breasted with fewer than 500 birds tallied. Hooded Merganser was noted during Count Week.
Continuing with water birds, a single Common Loon, a few Horned Grebes and one American Coot made the list. Gull species made a poor showing with Ring-billed, Herring, Great Black-backed and a few Bonaparte’s Gulls, but not in huge numbers. Nothing unusual gull-wise in 2018.
Four Great Blue Herons were reported as were 4 Belted Kingfisher. Reports came primarily from teams working inland ponds and rivers.
Two Wild Turkey were noted by two groups this year. This is a surprisingly low number since good sized flocks appear periodically throughout the area … but not on Count Day.
A single Turkey Vulture stuck around to be tallied for the count. With the mild winter more were hoped for.
Raptors were a whole different story with good diversity and some great numbers. The diurnal raptors were everywhere with 17 Bald Eagles, some along the Lakefront and others inland, 43 Red-tailed Hawks (wow), 7 Red-shouldered Hawks , 4 Rough-legged Hawks (at Cleveland Hopkins Airport), a Northern Harrier, 9 Cooper’s Hawks and 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks. All three falcons (American Kestrel, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon) were counted this year, although Peregrine numbers were lower than in previous years.
Nocturnal raptors did okay. Two Great Horned Owls were heard or seen. A great photo was taken of one. Other groups tallied 4 Barred Owls.
As we get into the species that may be found in backyards, parks, and green spaces the hopes were that birds might be at feeders … not necessarily. What did seem to produce numbers of birds were the fruiting trees and shrubs. Ornamental crabapples, honeysuckle and pear trees were loaded with fruits and, in many cases, birds.
Woodpeckers were reported in good numbers including Red-headed Woodpeckers and Northern Flicker. The only woodpecker missing in 2018 was the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
Surprise! An Eastern Phoebe was found this year in the Count Circle. If insects are not available, these fairly hardy flycatchers can subsist on fruit.
American Crow numbers really jumped this year with a couple of good sized flocks being found. Blue Jay numbers were good. Feeder favorites; Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse and White-breasted Nuthatch were widely reported. This was the year of the Red-breasted Nuthatch with 20 tallied. Carolina Wren numbers were good, but slightly lower than other years. Several Golden-crowned Kinglets made the list as did a good number of Eastern Bluebirds. Paying attention to fruiting trees and shrubs in urban and suburban areas did pay off with large numbers of American Robins, a good number of Northern Mockingbirds, too many European Starlings and at least one large flock of Cedar Waxwings.
Finches included a couple of northern species. Besides House Finch and American Goldfinch in good numbers, a single Purple Finch, 2 Common Redpolls and one Pine Siskin were sighted at feeders.
Sparrows were typical of what is generally found at this time of year including American Tree, Song, Swamp and White-throated Sparrows. Good numbers of Dark-eyed Juncos were located too.
The number of Red-winged Blackbirds seem to be climbing each year with 78 birds tallied. A couple of Common Grackle were also found. This year Brown-headed Cowbirds made the Count Week list.
Seven Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers were good finds. Can’t forget the Northern Cardinals which seem to have dropped a bit in number. House Sparrows on the other hand were abundant and gobbling up seeds at feeders or whatever they could find no matter what the weather.
Many, many thanks go out to all of the following birders who helped locate the birds on this wonderful list. Whether birding by car, on foot, watching feeders or owling, everyone’s hard work was truly appreciated. Plan ahead and mark your calendar for the Lakewood Circle Christmas Count on Saturday, December 28, 2019.
Jay Abercrombie, Claudia Anders, Ken and Lois Ballas, Mary Bartos, Dave Bowditch, Kathleen Bradley, Nancy Brewer, Erik Bruder, Lori Brumbaugh, Diane Busch, Barbara Buser, Craig Caldwell, June Cangey, Lee Cavano, Sue Cavano, Frank Comodeca, Matt Courtman, Patti Donnellan, Dave Dvorak, Mark Eberling, Maria and Rick Finchum, Ted Gililand, Joanne and Terry Gorges, Dave Graskemper, Sharon Hanse, Jim Heflich, Mary Ann Henderson, Linda Hernandez, Nancy Howell, Al Jarr, Debra Jesionowski, Anna Julnes, Rich Kassouf, Karen Kassouf, Jeff and Marian Kraus, JoAnn Kubicki, Duane and Jeanne Kurapka, Ray Kutnar, Tom Leiden, Jim Lindway, Fred Losi, Paula Lozano, Michelle Manzo, Terri Martincic, Matt Matlack, Patrick McGuigan, Liz McQuaid, Diane Moravek, Kathy Murphy, Robin Murray, Rich Nicholls, Pat Nortz, Rachel Nypaver, Penny O’Connor, Chris Pierce, Wendy Rihner, Mary Anne Romito, Jeremiah Roth, Carol Saive, Virginia May Schiros, Linda Sekura, Cathy Shambaugh, Mark Shaver, Jack Sidor, Chuck Slusarczyk, Jr., Kent Starrett, Debra Sweeney, Kathleen Tiburzi, Jeremy Voldrich, Bev Walborn, Eric Watts, Mike Williams, Hilton Young, Rachel and Theresa Yurchisin. Additionally, the following folks assisted as part of the Lake Abrams Lake to Lake group, but complete names were not available - Mark or Mike and Barbara, Cindy, Sing and Paul.