Sutton Christmas Bird Count Results
The Sutton Christmas Bird Count was held on Sunday December 28, 2014. The weather varied between +2 and -2 Celsius throughout the day, cooling toward the end of day. The winds were moderate (about 20 km/hour) from the north-west in the morning, stilling to 4 km. by the end of day.
Strong winds in the early morning meant that owling was difficult and only Great Horned owl was heard. The day was mostly cloudy (about 85%) overcast cumulous cloud, with the sun briefly making short appearances intermittently in the afternoon between 1:30 and 4:00 p.m.
The count began at 7:10 a.m. for owling and ended at 4:30pm. There were 19 birder participants in the field (local naturalists and others from other parts of Southern Ontario). There were 18 feeder watchers participating throughout the Count circle area (Georgina, parts of East Gwillimbury and Old Scott Twp.).
Partially due to the good weather and fine optical conditions this year’s count had a high number of species for the Sutton Count at 54 (56 being the highest ever in 2012).
Highlights included 12 Bald eagles on and around Lake Simcoe and 17 Snowy owls (the Echo year), and unexpected lingering migrants like single Gray-cheeked thrush, Flicker, Osprey, and 8 Red-winged blackbirds.
Also, 52 Tundra swans and a Trumpeter swan were seen on the lake.
Other notable species were 9 Red-bellied woodpeckers (now expected), a Raven and 106 Snow buntings. Two count week species were one each of Belted kingfisher and Carolina wren.
Report by Paul Harpley, South Lake Simcoe Naturalists