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 14� (F) to an 
afternoon high 21� (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 


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