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Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Audubon Christmas Bird Count Results


41st Gravenhurst-Bracebridge (ONGB) Christmas Bird Count
Sponsored by the Muskoka Field Naturalists

COUNT NOTES
The count was held on Sunday December 20, 2020
26 Observers in 9 groups travelled 495 km by car and 11 km on foot.
Temperature -0 to +1 C, AM - wet snow PM - cloudy, Wind Light
Snow depth 2 to 4 cm, Moving water and large lakes open

This count was much different than the 40 counts that preceded it. Because we were in the middle of a global pandemic all the social aspects that are an important part of Christmas bird counts had to be modified or cancelled. Maps were distributed and groups arranged by email ahead of time, no pep talk at the start, counters from different households drove their own cars, no pot luck supper with the tally after. During the count we struggled with masks, fogged glasses and keeping 6 feet apart at all times. Perhaps because of the pandemic lockdown, when we stopped and talked to people we noticed that they were more eager than usual to share all their recent sightings. In the morning birds were hard to find because of steady wet snow, most staying close to feeders or out of sight. The roads were slushy and slippery requiring caution and picking routes with no steep hills. By noon the snow stopped and the birding improved. In the evening after the count about half of the participants managed to sign into a zoom meeting where we compiled the results and shared details of our good birds and other experiences of the day. Despite a slow start in the morning we finished the day with an above average 42 species (all time high 44) and 2560 individuals. Many thanks to all participants who accepted the challenge to take part in this year’s Christmas Bird Count. We have high hopes that next year everything will be back to normal.

COUNT RESULTS

TOTAL COUNT SPECIES: 42 (last 10 yr average 38.0)

TOTAL COUNT INDIVIDUALS: 2560 (last 10 yr average 2395)

TOTAL INDIVIDUALS: GRAVENHURST 1100 BRACEBRIDGE 1460

TOTAL SPECIES: GRAVENHURST 29 BRACEBRIDGE 38

ADDITIONAL COUNT WEEK SPECIES: 3

NEW COUNT SPECIES: 1 Field Sparrow at a feeder on Glendale Rd in Bracebridge. 1 Trumpeter Swan on the South Muskoka River at the Black Bridge. This was swan number R89 tagged as a 2 yr old at Washago in 2017. Since then it has been reported as stopping in spring and fall on the river along Matthiasville Rd. but until now must have left before the count.

NEW COUNT HIGHS: Northern Cardinal 35, Wild Turkey 163. (White-breasted Nuthatch at 96 was 4 short of the all time high in 1989)

UNUSUAL SPECIES: In Bracebridge a Carolina Wren (only seen once before in 2009) and a Song Sparrow were at the same feeder on Woodchester Ave. A Belted Kingfisher (first since 2009) and an American Robin were found along the river at the end of Beaumont Farm Rd. A Glaucous Gull was with Herring Gulls at the Bracebridge landfill. In Gravenhurst a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk was seen at two location in the south end of town. Bald Eagles are now a common species here in winter, 13 at the Gravenhurst composting site (formally the Beiers Rd. Landfill) and 4 at the Bracebridge Landfill. 2 barred Owls were found, one calling after dark in Bracebridge, another watching a feeder on Hawn Rd. at Uffington. A White-throated Sparrow was at Farquhar and Austin in Gravenhurst and 2 Black Ducks were with a large raft of Mallards seen from Narrows Rd.
SPECIES MISSED: Red-tailed Hawk was missed for the first time in 12 years. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was not at its normal feeder on Santa's Village Rd. but showed up 2 days later for count week. Snow Buntings were missed but a small flock was at the Bracebridge Ponds 3 days before. House sparrow was missed for the 2nd year in a row.

FINCH SPECIES
Large numbers of winter finches were in Muskoka in early fall but most did not stay.
Pine Grosbeak 15, Common Redpoll 55, American Goldfinch 70, Evening Grosbeak 46.

CANADA GOOSE 1
TRUMPETER SWAN 1
AMERICAN BLACK DUCK 2
MALLARD 98
COMMON GOLDENEYE 28
COMMON MERGANSER 8
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK 1
BALD EAGLE 17
RUFFED GROUSE 1
WILD TURKEY 163
RING-BILLED GULL 2
HERRING GULL 122
GLAUCOUS GULL 1
GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL CW
GULL SPECIES 18
ROCK PIGEON 259
MOURNING DOVE 156
BARRED OWL 2
BELTED KINGFISHER 1
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER CW
DOWNY WOODPECKER 23
HAIRY WOODPECKER 31
PILEATED WOODPECKER 4
BLUE JAY 248
AMERICAN CROW 31
COMMON RAVEN 79
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE 575
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH 33
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH 96
BROWN CREEPER 2
CAROLINA WREN 1
GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET 1
AMERICAN ROBIN 1
NORTHERN SHRIKE 1
EUROPEAN STARLING 287
NORTHERN CARDINAL 35
AMERICAN TREE SPARROW 5
FIELD SPARROW 1
SONG SPARROW 1
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW 1
SPARROW SPECIES 2
DARK-EYED JUNCO 35
SNOW BUNTING CW
PINE GROSBEAK 15
COMMON REDPOLL 55
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH 70
EVENING GROSBEAK 46

Participants:
G1 & 4-Janice House, Moira Payne, Mary Powers
G2-Dan Burton, Marilee Koenderink
G3-Cyril Fry
G5-John Challis, Gayle Carlyle
B6-Linda Boon, Wendy Hill, Al Sinclair
B7-Bill Dickinson, Steve Sprague, Michael Hatton, Will Lockhart
B8-Dale Wenger, Aaron Rusak
B9-David, Regan & Mara Goodyear, Stephanie Lehman
B10-Mary, Ian, Emma & Gerald Willmott, Dirk Janis
Feeder watchers-7



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The Muskoka Bird Board is a place to share reports of birds and other nature sightings in Muskoka and surrounding areas. You may also post a question about birds or birding in general. You don't have to include an email address in your post. Remember to include the location of your sightings - even the nearest town or major crossroads would be fine. See the Posting Guidelines for more information and helpful tips about using the Muskoka Bird Board.

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