Hello all,
Hope everyone is staying warm! I would like to start off the brief summary by saying a big THANK YOU to all who helped us on the count this year. Even with adverse weather conditions (snow and cold) we still had roughly 20 participants from as far away as St. Louis, Columbia, and the winner this year Texas (yes we have started a much bugger recruiting effort....). Without everyone's help we could not conduct this count and we really do appreciate everyone's effort, expertise, and help.
Now to the count, unfortunately total species were way down this year with a total of 80-81 (we had been averaging around 90). Most of this is attributed to all open water being froze for at least a week prior to the count and as a result record low numbers of waterfowl and water-related birds. In fact we missed multiple species of waterfowl that had not been missed on any previous count. The other big miss was Cedar waxwing, not sure how that happened.
With many lowlights there were also a number of highlights on this years count. We did add two new species to the overall count list this year. The highlight was a Northern Waterthrush found by Austin Walker and myself in the Two Rivers NWR section outside Batchtown. Needless to say that was the more unexpected new species to the count....The other new species was Turkey Vulture (3 seen by two parties). Although this species was expected to show eventually, not three in one year, and not three when it was snowing most of the day.
Other highlights included:
Cackling Geese-22
Coopers Hawk-7
Short-eared Owl-2
Red-Breasted Nuthatch-3 (had been missing for several years and new HC)
Brown Creeper-3
Winter Wren-1
Both Kinglets
Hermit Thrush-1
Field Sparrow-1
Fox Sparrow-74 (new HC)
Lincoln's Sparrow-1
Swamp Sparrow-655 (new HC)
Lapland Longspur-77
Rusty Blackbird-157
Brewer's Blackbird-1
Large numbers of Blackbirds (very large roosting flock outside Elsberry) Red-Winged-27,420: Starling-87,539: Common Grackle-75,397: Brown-Headed Cowbird-2,021
Although less than ideal conditions and less than desired overall species numbers it was still always fun to get out, I always recommend participating in these counts as the data is important and they are rarely boring and often very much fun. Again thanks to all who came and helped us again this year. Hope everyone has a great new year and we hope to see everyone next year!
Eric Schuette
Denver CO/Troy MO
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Spring Meeting: April 30-May 2. Cape Girardeau, MO