Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 St. Catharines CBC

December 20

On the last Sunday before Christmas, Jean and I participated in the St. Catharines Christmas Bird Count.

Jean baked cookies for the round-up. Can you i.d. the birds?

It was our second year of attending the count and once again, Jean, Denys and I assisted John Black with his assigned area.

Not a Swamp Sparrow in sight.

We travelled the rural roads of West Lincoln, counting any species we could find in the south-western section of the St. Catharines birding circle. No roadside woodlots, hedgerows or feeders were left unchecked.

Some of the roads were very familiar to me. I have ridden along Twenty Mile Rd. (northern boundary of the area), Silverdale Rd. and Sixteen Rd. on my bike with the St. Catharines Cycling Club (sometimes by myself after getting dropped like a rock).

Over a total time of 6.5 hours we covered 105 kilometres of road and found 29 species.

Unfortunately, there was no repeat of the White-winged Crossbill or Turkey Vulture (both firsts for the St. Catharines CBC last year).

I was surprised to see a Great Blue Heron fly across the road in front of us as we were completing our count. All the ponds were frozen over and Twenty Mile Creek had hardly any sections with flowing water. Only in St. Anns did we find an open spot, which allowed for the addition of Canada Goose to our list.

Twenty Mile Creek at Snyder Rd. The call of a Red-bellied Woodpecker was heard here.

The St. Catharines CBC was not the only event in Niagara on Sunday. The Olympic Torch Relay passed through the region with a stop in downtown St. Catharines. The route was less than 200 metres from my house! And where was I? Counting birds?

A cycling friend managed to capture some images in Niagara Falls and he has graciously given me permission to post them here.

The torch bearer in these images is Niagara Olympian and SCCC member Gord Singleton.

Olympic Torch Relay images courtesy of Dave Van de Laar

He is a brief summary of the count. We all received the link from the compiler earlier this evening.

An exciting weekend in St. Catharines. Next week is the Niagara Falls CBC. Will we get stuck in the ice and snow again?


  1. Your CBC sounds like the experience I had this year, checking every patch of vegetation (or concrete/brick to count the House Sparrows and Rock Pigeons) but with no real exciting finds.

    Two days after that count a friend and I made a trip to Niagara to gull-watch, wish I was coming back for that CBC!

    Happy holidays!

  2. Mike,

    Did you get the California Gull while in Niagara?

    I'll be in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the NF CBC. Same area as last year which includes feeders in a residential neighbourhood, grounds of a winery, a lake-side pond (Swamp Sparrow last year), sewage lagoon and a conservation area (our leader's car stuck in ice and snow last year).

    The Buffalo Ornithological Society covers above the Falls during the CBC's (How many Herring Gulls did you get?). Areas below the Falls will be covered by Niagara birders.

    Happy holidays to you as well.