KINGSTON, NS – Preliminary results from the fiftieth annual and best attended Christmas Bird Count ever in Kingston have flown in, showing several rare species spotted and a new species record set.
The event was held Dec. 23 and saw 28 observers in nearly 15 groups take part.
This was the largest amount of people ever to take part, according to count founder and organizer Wayne Neily, who was excited to see the event draw that many people.
60 bird species – the same number as last year’s count – have thus far been counted, with the most common sightings from highest to lowest being European Starling, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, and American Goldfinch.
Neily said this order could change once data from the feeder reports is collected, in addition to rare bird reports.
Sightings of common and rare birds
These common sightings were among 31 other ‘A-list’ species, which Neily says, “are those birds seen on 90 per cent or more of the last ten counts.”
Those missing from common sightings were the Evening Grosbeak, which Neily says is a major miss, despite a decline.
One sighting of another ‘A-list’ bird, the Pine Siskin, was reported.
Less common species that weren’t counted this year include the Surf Scoter, Horned Grebe, Purple Sandpiper, Horned Lark, and Pine Grosbeak, each of which have only been seen on 50 per cent of bird counts over the past ten years.
Second sightings and breaking records
No new species were recorded this year, according to Neily, but several rare sightings were seen for the second time each – the Peregrine Falcon and a Dickcissel, seen for the first time just two years ago.
Neily confirmed there were two other instances of bird species being sighted for just the third time, which were the Yellow-breasted Chat, found at Nictaux Falls, and the Fox Sparrow, seen at Victoria Vale.
“Other highlights of uncommon species found were Razorbill, Great Blue Heron, Grey Canada Jay, and both crossbills,” said Neily.
The results also indicate record highs were set for Canada Goose, breaking the record 400 sightings in 1984.
Neily has extended thanks to all those involved in the count, and a special thank you, “to the hosts of our compiling get-together, Twila Robar-DeCoste and John DeCoste.”
Final results are expected to be released mid-January. Anyone interested in past results can find a complete table prepared by Neily’s brother, Larry, at http://www.neilyworld.com/neilyworld/CBC-Kingston.htm.