The Waterloo Recreation Area Christmas Bird Count was held on Saturday, December 14th.
Our ten teams endured a persistent snowfall that continued throughout the day dumping up to 8 inches before the day was over. The weather kept most bird numbers low, and we also ended up with a relatively low species count of 49. We have to go all the way back to 1988 to find another species count below 50.
Two species, American Tree Sparrow (549) and Dark-eyed Junco (970), were recorded in above average numbers with the junco count being a new record high. The old junco high count was 807 from 1985.
Joyce Peterson and Connie Spotts found the Golden Eagle that has been seen off and on along Dalton Road during the past couple of weeks. A Golden Eagle had been recorded during the count week in both 1991 and 2011, but this marks the first record of the species on count day. Other uncommon species were a single Wood Duck and one Northern Shrike.
Most of the water was frozen, so very few waterfowl were recorded. Only 57 Sandhill Cranes were counted and both Red-tailed Hawk (13) and American Kestrel (3) tied their record low numbers (1990 and 2005 respectively). The low numbers for the raptors was most likely due to the weather and poor visibility.
A few notable misses were Purple Finch, Belted Kingfisher, and Swamp Sparrow. Purple Finch has been recorded on 43 of 45 counts, Belted Kingfisher on 38 and Swamp Sparrow on 37 of those counts.
Robyn and I want to thank all of the participants for braving the conditions. For the first time, we decided to cancel the tally dinner at Steak's Eatery due to the weather and the fact that most of us were pretty worn out from combating the weather all day.
A full list of species and numbers can be found at the end of this blog entry: http://donsbirding.blogspot.com/2013/12/2013-waterloo-rec-area-christmas-bird.html
Don & Robyn Henise, compilers