The Ulster County segment of the annual NYSOA New York State January Waterfowl Count was conducted this past Saturday, January 18, 2020. Twenty participants in eight field parties encountered a remarkable 21 species and 10,012 individual waterfowl, surpassing our previous high count of 17 species recorded in 2016, 2013, and 2008. Our ten-year average for this countywide effort is 11.8 species and 6,225 individuals. Typical for this annual mid-winter survey, two species accounted for 94% of our total abundance, Canada Goose (82%) and Mallard (12%). A total of 16 Bald Eagles (9 adults and 7 sub-adults) were observed during the course of the waterfowl count.
The highlight of this year's survey was the magnitude of diversity encountered on a survey that typically produces a total in the low teens. Although there was no particular outstanding species this year, Hooded Mergansers were found in record high numbers (35), surpassing our previous high count of 20, more than four times our ten-year average of 8.2. A single Lesser Scaup was the first record for this species in over 15 years, and three Long-tailed Ducks was a new high count over the past 15 years. With considerable effort, one Cackling Goose was found in a very large flock of approximately 3,250 Canada Geese amassing in the Wallkill River in the Village of Wallkill. One Snow Goose was observed on Spring Lake, and fifteen more were reported from River Road on the Hudson River. All major bodies of water were mostly open, with creeks and rivers flowing at a moderate rate. The presence of abundant open water in the Hudson River and Ashokan Reservoir contributed significantly to our species diversity, while the Wallkill River hosted our largest concentration of waterfowl. Stone Ridge Pond was roughly half open and continues to attract large numbers of Canada Geese (1,500), Mallards (420), and our only Northern Pintail. Count day temperatures ranged from a frigid morning low 14ï¿½ (F) to an afternoon high 21ï¿½ (F). Winds were generally calm with an occasional light breeze under overcast skies until mid-afternoon (1:00 p.m.) when a snowstorm moved into the area from the south, severely limiting visibility during the final two to three hours of daylight. Appended below is the complete list of species with number of individuals. Thanks to all of the field observers for providing extensive coverage of the county. Steve M. Chorvas - compiler Saugerties, NY January 18, 2020 Waterfowl Count - Ulster County Snow Goose - 16 Cackling Goose - 1 Canada Goose - 8,242 Mute Swan - 8 Wood Duck - 2 Gadwall - 8 American Wigeon - 1 American Black Duck - 58 Mallard - 1,202 Northern Pintail - 1 Canvasback - 2 Greater Scaup - 2 Lesser Scaup - 1 Long-tailed Duck - 3 Bufflehead - 8 Common Goldeneye - 143 Hooded Merganser - 35 Common Merganser - 275 Common Loon - 1 Horned Grebe - 2 Double-crested Cormorant - 1 -- NYSbirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsWELCOME.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsRULES.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://firstname.lastname@example.org/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/NYSBirds-L 3) http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01 Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --