[nysbirds-l] Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC Results

2017-12-24 Thread Steve M. Chorvas
The 68th annual Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir Christmas Bird Count 
(Ulster County) was conducted on Saturday, 16 December 2017, under 
relatively pleasant weather conditions.  Collectively it was another 
exceptionally productive count, following last year's record-breaking 
number of species.   Pending review of several unusual species for this 
count circle, a tentative new high total of 87 species were found on 
count day, plus an additional 2 species during the count week period 
(Mute Swan and Merlin), exceeding last year's record 84 species and well 
above our ten-year average of 76 species/year.

Abundance also set a new record high, with 22,300 individuals greatly 
exceeding our previous high count of 16,092 birds in 2008 and our 
ten-year average of 13,242.  The total number of individuals was greatly 
influenced this year by 5,811 Canada Geese, a number that was adjusted 
down by more than 1,000 birds in an attempt to reduce potential 
duplication from roving flocks; and an incredible 3,504 American Robins 
(2,027 recorded by just one field party).  Our effort also set a new 
record high with 15 field parties, 44 field observers, and 4 feeder 
watchers contributing to the final numbers.

Highlights include our first record of a Greater White-fronted Goose, 
nicely photographed in a field associating with a large flock of Canada 
Geese, advancing our 68-year cumulative to 147 species.  Three species 
were recorded for only the second time in this count's history, a Golden 
Eagle observed in flight over the Farm Hub (our previous record in 
1998), and a Canvasback (previously 3 in 1972) and one White-winged 
Scoter (previously 4 in 2011) on Ashokan Reservoir.  A lone Eastern 
Phoebe was recorded for only the third time, and last appeared on this 
count in 2008.  Two Peregrine Falcons (single individuals observed by 
two separate field parties) represent our fourth count record and a new 
high count; and one Long-tailed Duck was also our fourth count record 
for this species, absent from this count since 1975.  (A Black Scoter 
was observed just outside the count circle and would have been a first 
count record, and photos of a possible Slaty-backed Gull are under 
review, with the gull currently listed as an unidentified gull species.)

None of the species found on this year's effort set a new record low 
count.  An additional 19 species were found in sufficiently high numbers 
to tie or set new record high counts (HC), with all of our regularly 
occurring woodpeckers detected in remarkably good numbers:

Cooper's Hawk (16, eclipsing 12 in 2015)
Red-shouldered Hawk (9, eclipsing 7 in 2014)
Great Horned Owl (14, double the previous HC of 7 in 2014 and well above 
our 2.4 ten-year average)
Barred Owl (7, tying the previous HC from 2010, double the ten-year 
average of 3.5)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (141, well above the previous HC of 101 in 2016 
and our ten-year average of 71)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (40, more than double our HC of 19 in 2016, 
four-times our ten-year average of 10/year)
Hairy Woodpecker (45, surpassing 40 in 2014)
Northern Flicker (47, nearly double our HC of 24 in 2015 and well above 
the 14.3 ten-year average)
Pileated Woodpecker (33, edging out 31 from 2011 and 2014)
(one Red-headed Woodpecker is always a good find, occurring for the 13th 
time on this count with a previous HC of 3 in 1984; and 158 Downy 
Woodpeckers just missed our previous HC of 161.)

Northern Shrike (1, tying our previous high counts, our 8th overall 
record)
Winter Wren (12, eclipsing 8 in 2012, well above our ten-year average of 
3.2)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (80, eclipsing 75 in 2009)
Hermit Thrush (13, edging out 12 in 2013)
American Robin (an amazing 3,504 birds, incomparable to our previous HC 
of 942 in 1998)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (14, tying our HC from 1989)
Fox Sparrow (11, surpassing 7 in 2015)
White-throated Sparrow (984, more than double the 488 recorded in 2008)
Song Sparrow (222, eclipsing 180 in 2012)
American Goldfinch (495, well above our previous HC of 335 in 2014)

A complete summary report will appear at a later date in the John 
Burroughs Natural History Society newsletter and on their website. 
Thanks to all of the participants for a remarkable effort, and once 
again this year a special thanks to Kyla Haber, Mark DeDea, and everyone 
that helped with preparing the food and facilities for the post-count 
compilation at Hasbrouck Park.


Steve M. Chorvas
Saugerties, NY 

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[nysbirds-l] Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC Results

2016-12-18 Thread Steve M. Chorvas
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC


Despite challenging weather conditions that produced consistently heavy 
snowfall with very low visibility throughout much of the first half of 
the count day, the 67th annual Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir (NYML) 
Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was conducted yesterday in Ulster 
County, NY.

Inclement weather, especially a snow event, often has the affect of 
concentrating birds in sheltered locations and at various food and water 
resources, typically producing more favorable count results in 
comparison to an average winter day or exceptionally pleasant 
conditions.   This was apparently the case yesterday as twelve field 
parties collectively found a new record high 84 species, shattering the 
previous high count of 79 species from previous years (2014, 2012, and 
2007), and well above our most recent ten-year average of 74 
species/year.

A remarkable ten bird species considered rare or unusual for this 
particular count circle were encountered on count day, including one 
species recorded for the first time in the 67-year history of this 
survey.  American Coot was a new addition to the count composite, 
advancing our historical total to 147 species.  Lapland Longspur was 
found for only the third time, the first since one was recorded in 1988. 
Peregrine Falcon was also recorded for just the third time, following 
single records in 2012 and 2009.  A Wilson's Snipe represents our fourth 
overall record (last recorded tens years ago in 2006), a lone Killdeer 
and a Long-eared Owl were found for only the fifth time, Wood Duck was 
our sixth record, Gadwall and Merlin were found for the seventh time, 
and American Pipit was our eight overall record for this CBC.

The total number of Merlins (4) represents a new high count, reflecting 
their expanding presence and wider distribution in the county, with 
geographically distinct individuals observed by three different field 
parties.  New high counts were also established for Snow Geese (1,285, 
eclipsing 870 in 2013), Gadwall (16, eclipsing 8 in 2015 and 1993), Rock 
Pigeon (598, previously 538 in 2005), Red-bellied Woodpecker (101, 
previously 97 in 2015), Yellow-bellied Woodpecker (19, previously 16 in 
2013), Savannah Sparrow (21, eclipsing 14 in 2014), and Dark-eyed Junco 
(1,822, eclipsing 1,722 in 2013).

Our final tally of individuals (13,778) ranked above our recent ten-year 
average of 12,811, but was greatly influenced this year by a total of 
3,919 geese (1,285 Snow/2,634 Canada), following in the wake of an 
enormous southward movement of Snow Geese flying over the county, with 
over ten-thousand birds observed in just a few daylight hours on one day 
earlier this past week.  Overall numbers of gulls and American Crows 
were well below average, but no new record low counts were set for any 
species.  An adult male Yellow-headed Blackbird seen and photographed in 
the count circle associating with a large flock of mixed blackbirds on 
two separate occasions just prior to the start of count week was not 
observed on count day and may ultimately be relegated to the status of a 
sore count week miss, pending any last-chance appearance over the 
remaining three days of count week.

A summary report with the complete list of species tabulated by sector, 
including area descriptions and observer and effort information, will be 
posted on the John Burroughs Natural History Society web site.  I 
gratefully extend by thanks and appreciation to all of the nearly 40 
participants who provided complete coverage of the count circle under 
difficult circumstances, and to those who tried to make it out to their 
assigned routes but were snowed-in and unable to do so.  To everyone 
that attended and brought something to our always enjoyable post-count 
compilation at Hasbrouck Park, and to the sector leaders that were not 
able to make it to the compilation but submitted their data in a very 
timely manner.  And most especially, my sincere thanks and gratitude for 
Kyla Haber and Mark DeDea for organizing the compilation event and 
preparing the bulk of all the great food.

The 2017 Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC is scheduled for the 
traditional first Saturday of the count period, December 16, 2017.


Steve M. Chorvas
Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC Compiler
Saugerties, NY

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[nysbirds-l] Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC Results

2015-12-28 Thread Steve M. Chorvas
The 66th annual Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir (NYML) Audubon Christmas 
Bird Count (CBC) was conducted on Saturday, December 19, 2015, under 
exceptionally mild and pleasant field conditions.  Forty-eight 
participants in twelve field parties encountered a total of 13,953 
individuals representing 78 species, plus two additional count week 
species.  This year's total diversity was one shy of our record high 79 
recorded in the years 2014, 2012, and 2007.  Our total number of 
individuals was 1,708 fewer than last year's effort, and 2,139 short of 
our record high 16,092 set in 2008, but above the most recent ten-year 
average of 12,302 individuals/year.

Temperatures remained above freezing throughout the count day, ranging 
from an early morning low of 33 degrees (F) to an afternoon high of 38 
(F) on the Lomontville Flats in Hurley.  Winds were persistently strong 
overnight with gusts up to 35 mph, potentially hampering some of our 
efforts to detect owls.  Clear sunny skies and calmer winds predominated 
early to mid-morning, followed by overcast skies during the afternoon 
period.  No precipitation was recorded during the count day.  Field 
conditions were characterized by a complete lack of snow cover and 
ground frost, and entirely open water throughout the count area.  Night 
skies were mostly overcast, with minimal moonlight.

This year's count did not record any new species, however, two species 
were encountered for only the second time in the count's sixty-six year 
history.  Two Cackling Geese associating with a large flock of Canada 
Geese on Spring Lake off Lucas Avenue in Kingston were previously 
recorded for the first time last year from the same location, and one 
American Woodcock in full courtship display over a private field in 
Marbletown was recorded once previously on this count in 2011.

Stone Ridge Pond on Mill Dam Road in Stone Ridge hosted two unusual 
species of waterfowl for this December count.  Five American Wigeon 
represent a new high count and only the fourth occurrence for this 
species on the NYML CBC; and eight Gadwall tied our previous high count 
and represent our sixth overall occurrence.  Two Wood Ducks on Maple 
Ridge Community property in Ulster Park were recorded for only the fifth 
time, one Northern Saw-whet Owl and two Merlin were recorded for the 
sixth time, and a lone Chipping Sparrow represented our seventh 
historical record.  One Pied-billed Grebe was observed in the Wallkill 
River in New Paltz, two Red-headed Woodpeckers were present in their 
breeding swamp along Weston Road on the New Paltz/Esopus town line, and 
a Northern Shrike was observed in a field off Lenape Lane in New Paltz 
during the count week period, but was not detected on count day.

New high counts were also established for Bald Eagle (18, eclipsing 10 
in 2014), Cooper's Hawk (12, eclipsing 9 in 2014), Red-bellied 
Woodpecker (97, eclipsing 85 in 2014), Northern Flicker (24, eclipsing 
22 in 1992), Tufted Titmouse (419, significantly exceeding 364 from 
2014), American Pipit (41 in two flocks of 25 and 16 on the Lomontville 
cornfields, representing our seventh overall record and eclipsing our 
previous high count of 21 in 1994), and Fox Sparrow (7, including a 
remarkable six in one shrub, eclipsing the previous high count of 5 in 
1989).  Twenty-five Common Ravens tied last year's record high count.

American Robins were well represented with 592 individuals, one Hermit 
Thrush was found, and blackbirds were modestly represented by 15 
Red-winged Blackbirds, 4 Common Grackles, and 37 Brown-headed Cowbirds. 
We were not able to locate a lingering Gray Catbird, and we also did not 
detect any irruptive winter finches in the count area (siskins, 
redpolls, and grosbeaks) or half-hardy warblers, compared to 26 past 
occurrences of Yellow-Rumped Warbler on this count.  Common Goldeneye 
(previously recorded in 31 years), Common Loon (18 prior years), 
Rough-legged Hawk (22 years), Horned Lark (33 years), and Ruby-crowned 
Kinglet (19 years) were also missed on this year's count.

A complete table summarizing the count results by sector, with area 
descriptions and observer and effort information will be posted on the 
John Burroughs Natural History Society web site.  Thanks to all of the 
participants for their fine effort in providing extensive coverage of 
the count circle, and special thanks to Mark DeDea for making the 
arrangements for our post-count compilation at the Olympic Diner in 
Kingston.  Next year's Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC is scheduled 
for Saturday, December 17, 2016.


Steve M. Chorvas
Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC Compiler
Saugerties, NY 

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[nysbirds-l] Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC Results

2014-12-21 Thread Steve M. Chorvas
The 65th annual Mohonk Lake-Ashokan Reservoir (Ulster County) Christmas 
Bird Count (CBC) was conducted this past Saturday, 20 December 2014, 
under relatively good weather conditions.   Forty-four (44) participants 
in ten field parties encountered 15,661 individuals of 79 species (plus 
two additional count week species, pending additions to the count week 
period).  This year's effort resulted in our second-highest abundance 
total, just 431 individuals short of our record high 16,092 in 2008, and 
equaled our previous high diversity counts of 79 species in 2012 and 
2007.

Temperatures remained just below freezing throughout the count day, 
ranging from an early morning low of 27° (F) to an afternoon high of 30° 
(F) on the Lomontville Flats in Hurley.  Winds were calm or very light 
over most of the count terrain, and visibility was good under cloudy 
skies with no precipitation.  Field conditions were characterized by a 
complete lack of snow cover and significant areas of water open, with 
most sources of water devoid of ice or minimally infringed along 
stagnant edges.  Night skies were solid overcast, precluding any 
moonlight.

Three Cackling Geese associating with a large flock of Canada Geese on 
Spring Lake off Lucas Avenue in Kingston represent a new addition to the 
count composite and species number 146 for this count circle.  Sector 
leader Mark DeDea noted that this large flock of Canada Geese consisted 
of numerous smaller Lesser/Richardson's types, and considerable time and 
patience was required to sort out the Cackling Geese.  Five Northern 
Pintail (three off Clearwater Road in New Paltz, and a pair in a pond 
off Lapla Road in Marbletown) represent only our second count record for 
this species, previously recorded when two individuals were observed on 
a small pond in Krumville in 2012.

Record-high counts were established for a remarkable twenty species, 
including three Iceland Gulls observed along Mohonk Road in New Paltz 
(our fourth overall CBC record), and three reports of individual Merlins 
from three distinct locations, representing our fifth CBC record.

Additional high counts were recorded for Ring-necked Duck (28, eclipsing 
14 in 2013), Bald Eagle (10, eclipsing 6 in 2011), Cooper's Hawk (9, 
eclipsing 8 in 2012 and 2011), Red-shouldered Hawk (7, eclipsing 5 in 
2012), Great Horned Owl (7, eclipsing 5 in 1966), Northern Saw-whet Owl 
(3, eclipsing 2 in 2010), Red-bellied Woodpecker (85, eclipsing 77 in 
2013), Downy Woodpecker (161, eclipsing 126 in 2009), Hairy Woodpecker 
(40, eclipsing 36 in 1965), Common Raven (25, eclipsing 16 in 2006), 
Tufted Titmouse (364, eclipsing 331 in 2006), White-breasted Nuthatch 
(267, significantly exceeding our previous high count of 158 in 2006), 
Carolina Wren (68, eclipsing 61 in 2012), Eastern Bluebird (195, 
eclipsing 145 in 2012 and 2006), Savannah Sparrow (14, eclipsing 9 in 
1967), Northern Cardinal (257, eclipsing 245 in 2009), and American 
Goldfinch (335, significantly exceeding our previous high count of 266 
in 1972).  Pileated Woodpecker matched our previous high count of 31 
from last year.

Canada Geese were once again the most numerous species recorded during 
the count, accounting for 26% (4,086) of our total number of 
individuals.  A flock of 250 Snow Geese were a nice addition, more often 
than not missed entirely on this count.  Irruptive winter finches were 
modestly represented with a single Purple Finch, four Common Redpolls, 
and 41 Pine Siskins.

One Eastern Towhee, one Field Sparrow, four Great Blue Herons, four 
Belted Kingfishers, and eight Hermit Thrushes lingered in the count 
circle, otherwise half-hardies were surprisingly absent during this 
relatively mild December.  We did not detect any warblers, Ruby-crowned 
Kinglets, or Gray Catbirds during the count, and blackbirds also 
appeared scarce, with only two Red-winged Blackbirds, a single Common 
Grackle, and two count week Brown-headed Cowbirds detected.  No 
record-low counts were set for any species previously encountered on 
this count, though our total number of Swamp Sparrows (5) was half the 
current ten-year average of 10.1/year and well below our record high 
count of 46 in 2006.


Thanks to the following participants for their fine effort in conducting 
this annual bird survey: David Arner, Christina Baal, Joseph 
Ben-Eliazer, Allan Bowdery, Lynn Bowdery, Mira Bowin, Joe Bridges, Jim 
Clinton, Matt Corsaro, Sammy Decker, Mark DeDea, Lin Fagan, Deb 
Ferguson, Amy Fradon, Christine Guarino, Barbara Hart, Dave Hayes, Jon 
Hilowitz, Jon Johnson, Evelyn Leigh (feeder-watch), Maeve Maurer, Annie 
Mardiney, Arnold Meier, Joel Meier, Malcolm Meier, Travis Meier, 
Elizabeth Moffett, Frank Murphy, Jeff Nerp, David Nyzio, Jessica 
Prockup,  George Rodenhausen, Susan Rogers, Tom Sarro, Peter 
Schoenberger, Halley Schwab, Donna Seymour, Steve Stanne, Nava Tabak, 
John Thompson, Wendy Tocci, Glen Van Gorden, and Kent Warner.

It was particularly 

[nysbirds-l] Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC Results

2013-12-16 Thread Steve M. Chorvas
The 64th annual Mohonk Lake-Ashokan Reservoir (Ulster County) Christmas 
Bird Count (CBC) was conducted this past Saturday, 14 December 2013, 
under very challenging winter weather conditions.  Despite an 
abbreviated count day for some territories, and an overall lack of 
access to some secondary roads, 31 participants in nine field parties 
managed to survey a significant portion of all sectors, recording a very 
respectable 72 species and 14,033 individuals (plus two additional count 
week species, pending additions to the count week period).



Our first major snowstorm of the season materialized overnight and 
continued to produce light snowfall throughout the count day. 
Temperatures remained below freezing, ranging from an early morning low 
of 8° (F) to a high of 18° (F) by mid-day on the Lomontville Flats in 
Hurley.  Winds were thankfully calm over most of the count terrain, but 
visibility was less than ideal under dark foreboding skies with a 
persistent snowfall.  Night skies were solid overcast, precluding any 
moonlight.



Snow continued to accumulate throughout the day, amounting to an average 
of four to six inches of ground cover by day's end.  Major bodies of 
water and fast moving creeks and streams were predominantly open, with 
smaller ponds and stagnant marshes completely frozen or partially open, 
providing some small areas of liquid water.



Considering the challenging weather conditions and abbreviated count 
routines for some sectors, species diversity (72) was very good, above 
our ten-year average of 70 species/year, and only the sixth time in 64 
years that we have exceeded 70 species in this count circle.  Total 
individuals (14,033) were also exceptional, representing our most 
prolific count since our record-setting 16,092 in 2008, and just 129 
species shy of our second highest count of 14,162 in 2007.   It should 
be noted however, our tally was greatly influenced this year by large 
flocks of Canada Geese moving throughout the count day, accounting for 
nearly 5,000 individuals and 35% of our total number.



No new species were added to the historical count composite this year, 
but we did not lack for highlights.  Best birds of the day were a 
Dickcissel visiting bird feeders in New Paltz (our fourth overall 
record, and first since 1966), and a juvenile Iceland Gull associating 
with a few hundred Herring Gulls at the Mohonk Preserve composting site 
in New Paltz (third overall record, first since 1995).



Two American Pipits foraging on compost mounds off Fording Place in 
Hurley represent our sixth historical record; two Red-headed 
Woodpeckers, apparently wintering on territory in the Weston Road marsh 
on the Esopus/New Paltz town line, were our ninth record for this count; 
two separate White-crowned Sparrows represent our ninth historical 
record; and a lingering Gray Catbird along the Hurley Avenue section of 
the rail trail in Kingston is our 12th count record for this half-hardy 
species.



Fourteen Ring-necked Ducks tied our previous high count from 1974, and 
represents only our 8th historical record.  New high counts were 
recorded for Snow Goose (870, more than double last year's high count of 
425), Red-bellied Woodpecker (77, eclipsing 75 in 2011), Yellow-bellied 
Sapsucker (16, eclipsing 14 in 2011), Hermit Thrush (12, far exceeding 
our previous high count of 4 in 2009), and Dark-eyed Junco (1,722, 
significantly eclipsing 1,558 recorded in 2009).



One Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 645 American Robins, 312 Cedar Waxwings, 7 
Yellow-rumped Warblers, 2 Field Sparrows, 1 Savannah Sparrow, and 17 
Swamp Sparrows are also noteworthy for this count.



Irruptive winter finches were essentially absent, with only one count 
week Purple Finch noted.  Blackbirds were very modestly represented in 
single-digit numbers of Red-wings, grackles, and cowbirds.  Waterfowl 
diversity was average and typical for this count, with the exception of 
the aforementioned Ring-necked Ducks and large numbers of Snow and 
Canada Geese on the move.  Perhaps our most surprising negative was the 
total lack of Turkey and Black Vultures in historical winter roost 
areas, though the inclement weather may have very well factored in 
keeping these soaring birds down and out of sight.  Only one Wild Turkey 
was encountered, one Belted Kingfisher was active, and four Great Blue 
Herons were recorded.



Thanks to the following participants for conducting their assigned 
routes under adverse conditions, and also to those who attempted to make 
it out into the field but were not able to do so: David Arner, Christina 
Baal, Allan Bowdery, Lynn Bowdery, Mira Bowin, Joe Bridges, Bea Conover, 
Matt Corsaro, Mark DeDea, Lin Fagan, Deb Ferguson, Tom Grady, Christine 
Guarino, Annie Mardiney, Jim Marks, Frank Murphy, Jeff Nerp, David 
Nyzio, Jessica Prockup, Doug Robinson, George Rodenhausen, Susan Rogers, 
Peter Schoenberger, Halley Schwab, Donna Seymour, Steve Stanne, Nava 
Tabak, John Thompson, 

[nysbirds-l] Mohonk Lake-Ashokan Reservoir CBC Results

2012-12-16 Thread Steve M. Chorvas
The 63rd annual Mohonk Lake-Ashokan Reservoir (Ulster County) Audubon 
Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was conducted yesterday, Saturday, 15 
December.  A total of 10,461 individuals of 78 species (plus one 
additional count week species) were recorded by ten field parties under 
very pleasant weather and field conditions.

Temperatures were relatively mild for this mid-December census, ranging 
from an overnight low of 24 degrees (F) to an afternoon high of 43 
degrees (F) on the Lomontville Flats in Hurley.  Winds were calm 
throughout the count period.  Night skies were clear but dark due to 
moon phase, followed by mostly sunny skies early morning with an 
increase in clouds mid-day.  No snow cover was recorded within the count 
area.  Major bodies of water and fast moving creeks and streams were 
predominantly open, with smaller ponds and stagnant marshes frozen to 
various degrees, ranging from entirely frozen to partially open, 
providing small pockets or larger areas of open water.

Diversity was very good, falling just one species short of our all-time 
high of 79 species in 2007, exceeding last year's total of 74 species, 
and well above the most recent 10-year average of 67 species.  Total 
number of individuals was well below our maximum of 16,092 recorded in 
2008, but otherwise consistent with recent years and only 325 
individuals short of last year's tally.

Highlights this year were dominated by waterfowl and raptors, including 
the addition of a new species to the 63-year composite.  Two lingering 
Northern Pintail represent a first record and advanced the historical 
total to 144 species.  Four Green-winged Teal were only the second time 
this species has been detected during this count.  Three American Wigeon 
represent our third historical record, one Wood Duck represented a 
fourth record for the count, and one Gadwall and a count week Lesser 
Scaup were both encountered for only the fifth time in the history of 
this CBC.

A lone Long-eared Owl and one Northern Saw-whet Owl were detected for 
only the fourth time, and a Peregrine Falcon was observed for only the 
second historical CBC record.  One Fish Crow was an uncommonly good find 
and only our fourth record, equaling our previous high count of 1 in 
2002.  Two American Pipits were observed for a fifth overall record, and 
one Red-headed Woodpecker was a good winter find.

New high counts were set for several species, including 425 Snow Geese 
(eclipsing 286 in 2008), 5 Red-shouldered Hawks (eclipsing 4 in 2010), 9 
Belted Kingfishers (eclipsing 8 in 2006), 8 Winter Wrens (exceeding last 
year's record 6), 61 Carolina Wrens (eclipsing 53 in 2010), and 180 Song 
Sparrows (eclipsing last year's record 123).  Great Blue Herons equaled 
our previous high count of 11 in 1998, 8 Cooper's Hawks tied last year's 
record high, and 145 Eastern Bluebirds tied our previous high count from 
2006.

The much anticipated and publicized winter finch irruption was not 
significantly realized in the count circle results.  No Pine Grosbeaks, 
Purple Finches, Pine Siskins, or Evening Grosbeaks were detected.  A 
small number of Red Crossbills were recorded in two sections (3 and 4 
individuals, representing our fourth historical record), and one field 
party encountered two White-winged Crossbills, representing our fifth 
overall record.  A total of 15 Common Redpolls were scattered throughout 
three sections (in numbers of 3, 5, and 7 individuals).  A surprisingly 
few 15 Red-winged Blackbirds were the only representation of the 
blackbird family, and 19 American Robins seemed a disappointingly low 
number during a regionally mild December.  One unidentified warbler will 
apparently remain a mystery.

Thanks to all of the following participants for their time and effort: 
David Arner, Alan Beebe, Allan Bowdery, Lynn Bowdery, Mira Bowin, Paul 
Comstock, Bea Conover, Matt Corsaro, Eileen Cunningham, Mark DeDea, Lin 
Fagan, Deb Ferguson, Christine Guarino, Annie Mardiney, Jim Marks, Maeve 
Mower, Frank Murphy, Jeff Nerp, David Nyzio, Dan Porter, Jessica 
Prockup, Bob Rifenburg, Evelyn Rifenburg, Bruce Robertson, Corbin 
Robinson, Doug Robinson, Susan Rogers, Tom Sarro, Peter Schoenberger, 
Donna Seymour, Alan Spivack, John Thompson, Glen Van Gorden, and Lisa 
Weinstein.

And once again this year, a very special thanks to Mark DeDea and Kyla 
Haber for providing the facilities, hot food, and beverages for our very 
enjoyable post-count compilation at Hasbrouck Park in Kingston.


Steve M. Chorvas

Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir CBC Compiler

Saugerties, NY







 

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[nysbirds-l] Mohonk Lake-Ashokan Reservoir CBC Results

2010-12-28 Thread Steve M. Chorvas
111th Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC)
Mohonk Lake / Ashokan Reservoir (NYML) - December 18, 2010

Twenty-seven observers in ten field parties recorded 11,840 individuals 
of 72 species (plus one additional count week species) during our 61st 
annual survey of this Ulster County CBC circle centered at the Ulster 
County Community College in Stone Ridge. This year's count represents 
only the third time we have recorded 70 or more species (record-high of 
79 species in 2007), and our third highest total number of individuals 
(previously 16,092 in 2008 and 14,162 in 2007).  Species diversity was 
well above the recent ten-year average of 64.3 species, and we exceeded 
last year's (2009) count by one species and 209 individuals.

Weather conditions this year were quite favorable for conducting the 
count, if not for concentrating birds in limited areas.  Temperatures 
were typically cold and near average, ranging from an early morning low 
of 15° (F) in the southwest sector to an afternoon high of 38° (F) at 
Ashokan Reservoir.  No precipitation was recorded during the count, with 
mostly sunny skies and little or no wind.  The higher elevations of 
Mohonk Lake experienced light winds and recorded trace amounts of snow 
cover, while the rest of the count area was generally devoid of any 
snow.  Smaller ponds and slow moving bodies of water were largely 
frozen.  Fast moving streams, Esopus Creek, and the lower basin of 
Ashokan Reservoir were entirely open, and approximately one third of 
Stone Ridge Pond on Mill Dam Road retained open water.

Highlights include three species previously recorded only once during 
this count's 61-year history.  A very late Broad-winged Hawk was 
observed by Tom Sarro perched in a tree on the edge of a horse paddock 
on Klienekill Farm in the Mohonk Lake sector; two Northern Saw-whet Owls 
responded to Peter Schoenberger's vocal imitation on Sundale Road in 
Accord; and a total of eight Wood Ducks in two groups were encountered 
in two sectors, eclipsing our first record of 3 recorded in 2005.  Two 
additional species were encountered for only the third time; two Merlins 
(previously 1 in 1988 and 1 in 2008) and a late Killdeer (3 in 1973 and 
1 in 1991).  Six Ring-necked Ducks, last recorded 19 years ago and on 
four previous occasions (1/1991, 14/1987, 2/1975, 14/1974, 4/1966) were 
an unusual find for this count circle.

Additional noteworthy records include new high counts of 767 Mallards 
(eclipsing 715 in 2008), 5 Bald Eagles (eclipsing 4 in 2009 and 2007), 7 
Cooper's Hawks (surpassing last year's record 6), 4 Red-shouldered Hawks 
(eclipsing 2 in 2008), 80 Red-tailed Hawks (surpassing last year's 
record 65), 7 Barred Owls (eclipsing 4 in 2006), 9 Yellow-bellied 
Sapsuckers (eclipsing 8 in 2008), 53 Carolina Wrens (eclipsing 47 in 
2006), and 98 Song Sparrows (eclipsing 95 in 2007).  Two White-crowned 
Sparrows represent our 7th count record, and two Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 
three Field Sparrows, one Fox Sparrow, and three American Kestrels were 
nice half-hardy additions to the compilation.

Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Hairy 
Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted 
Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Mockingbird, European 
Starling, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and Northern Cardinal 
were encountered by all of the ten field parties.  Ring-necked Duck, 
Common Goldeneye, Horned Grebe, Broad-winged Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, 
Killdeer, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Hermit Thrush, Fox Sparrow, 
White-crowned Sparrow, Snow Bunting, and Common Grackle were recorded by 
only one field party.

Stone Ridge Pond continues to attract and account for significant 
numbers of Canada Geese, Mallards, and a few Mute Swans, but lacked 
additional waterfowl diversity this year, and the overall population 
density continues to decline from the high counts of 2,000+ individuals 
of recent past years.  Several large flocks of Canada Geese were 
observed in flight over the Lomontville Flats, heading in no consistent 
direction or with any apparent objective, and the compost mounds off 
Fording Place continue to attract large numbers of Ring-billed Gulls 
along with a few Herring Gulls.  Canada Geese and American Crows once 
again accounted for a large percentage of the total number of 
individuals (38%).

Three typically abundant species were notable for their relative 
scarcity.  Downy Woodpecker completely evaded detection in one large 
sector, White-throated Sparrows (200) were below average and fewer than 
half of the 403 detected last year, and Dark-eyed Juncos were well below 
recent averages and down 60% compared to 2009 (631 vs.1,558).  No winter 
finches (Purple Finches, Siskins, Redpolls, Grosbeaks, or Crossbills) 
and no Yellow-rumped Warblers were encountered by any of the field 
parties, and blackbirds were limited to just one lone Common Grackle! 
For the fourth consecutive year, relatively few vultures 

[nysbirds-l] Mohonk Lake-Ashokan Reservoir CBC Results

2009-12-25 Thread Steve M. Chorvas
Mohonk Lake/Ashokan Reservoir (NYML) Christmas Bird Count
December 19, 2009


Thirty-six observers in eleven field parties recorded 11,598 individuals 
of 71 species, plus an additional four count week (cw) species, during 
our 60th annual survey of this Ulster County CBC circle centered at the 
Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge. Counts conducted during 
this most recent decade have typically recorded 64-69 species.  This 
year's count was only the second count in our 60-year history that 
recorded 70 or more species (record-high of 79 species in 2007), and 
represents our third highest total number of individuals (previously 
16,092 in 2008 and 14,162 in 2007).



Temperatures were typically cold and slightly below average, ranging 
from an early morning low of 15° (F) at Mohonk Lake to an afternoon high 
of 24° (F) at Ashokan Reservoir.  No precipitation was recorded during 
the count despite dark gray skies and solid cloud cover throughout the 
day.  Winds were generally calm to light at 0-5 mph with occasional 
strong gusts at the higher elevations of Mohonk Lake.  Snow cover was 
100% with a hard icy crust, averaging 3-4 in depth.  Smaller ponds and 
slow moving bodies of water were completely frozen.  Fast moving 
streams, Esopus Creek, Williams Lake, Ashokan Reservoir, and 
approximately half of Stone Ridge Pond on Mill Dam Road retained open 
water.



Highlights include our first CBC record of a Peregrine Falcon,  observed 
by Peter Schoenberger, Matt Corsaro, and Mira Bowin on Whitelands Rd. in 
Kripplebush; our first count day record of  Red-breasted Merganser 
(previously recorded as a count week species in 1984), observed by Ev 
and Bob Rifenburg along the near side of Williams Lake in the Town of 
Rosendale; four American Wigeon (only our second count record, and a new 
high count eclipsing our first record of 3 in 2007), observed by Jackie 
Bogardus and I on Stone Ridge Pond; and our fourth count record of two 
American Pipits, also observed by Jackie and I, feeding on and around 
the base of a compost pile on Fording Place Road out on the Lomontville 
flats.



Additional noteworthy records include 4 Bald Eagles (equals our high 
count in 2007), 8 Sharp-shinned Hawks (new high count, eclipsing 6 in 
2007), 6 Cooper's Hawk (new high count, eclipsing 4 in 2007), 1 
Red-shouldered Hawk, 64 Red-tailed Hawks (new high count, eclipsing 55 
in 2006), 8 Eastern Screech-Owls (new high count, eclipsing 7 in 2007), 
125 Downy Woodpeckers (new high count, eclipsing 108 in 1988), 20 Brown 
Creepers (new high count, eclipsing 18 in 1965), 75 Golden-crowned 
Kinglets (new high count, eclipsing 44 in 1987), 4 Hermit Thrushes 
(equals our high count in 2008), 1 White-crowned Sparrow (only our 6th 
count record), 1,558 Dark-eyed Juncos (new high count, eclipsing 1,252 
in 2007), and 245 Northern Cardinals (new high count, eclipsing 211 in 
2008).



Stone Ridge Pond continues to attract and account for significant 
numbers of Canada Geese, Mallards, and Ring-billed Gulls; a few Mute 
Swans, American Black Ducks, and American Wigeon; however, overall 
population density was considerably less this year at 672 individuals in 
comparison to the 2,000+ of recent years.  Four species accounted for 
52% (6,065) of all individuals recorded on this year's count: Canada 
Goose (2,151), Dark-eyed Junco (1,558), European Starling (1,328), and 
American Crow (1,028).



With the exception of just one Purple Finch, no winter finches 
(Crossbills, Redpolls, Siskins, or Grosbeaks) were encountered by any of 
the field parties, and blackbirds were limited to only a few count week 
individuals.  For the third consecutive year, relatively few vultures 
(12) were observed in the vicinity of their former roost in New Paltz 
that produced record-high counts of 108 Turkey and 41 Blacks in 2006. 
No Common Loons were observed in the lower basin of Ashokan Reservoir.



In recognition of our 60th anniversary, I thought it of some interest to 
look back and compare the winter population trends of two non-migratory 
Game species as reflected in this count's historical data.  Ruffed 
Grouse were recorded in each of the first 40 years of this count 
(1950-1989) but were absent the past six years and 13 out of the last 16 
years.  In contrast, Wild Turkeys were only recorded once in the first 
34 years (1950-1983) of this count but have now been encountered 15 out 
of the last 17 years with double-digit numbers in all but one year and a 
high count of 91 in 2004.  Finally, Great Blue Herons were not recorded 
on this count for the first 34 years (1950-1983) but have now been 
encountered 18 out of the last 19 years, typically as one or two 
individuals, with a high count of 11 in the mild winter of 1998.



Below is the complete list of species with total number of individuals 
(asterisks indicate unusual species for this count circle, cw 
indicates a count-week only species).  I sincerely wish to thank all of 
the