117th Christmas Bird Count Results. We had a very good count this year, and I think we actually set a couple of records: in number of species and number of participants. We saw 58 species this year, 46 last year, and 45 the year before. The highest species count that I was able to find before this year was 50 in 2007. I didn't check before that, because the raw data from National Audubon has to be used, and it is awkward and time consuming to pull out the totals. If anyone would like to do some more analysis, I can send you lots of spreadsheets.
This year we had 30 participants, 19 last year. Generally, the number fluctuates around 20 because of people leaving the area or being unavailable. This year we didn't lose anyone, and we were able to recruit some new ones. Youngest was 7 years old, and she did very well; the oldest, well I won't say. It wasn't me, but I'm close. Also a few people who have participated irregularly in past years unexpectedly reported in with backyard feeder totals. That was good.
Total number of birds was basically average at 4,404. Last year we had 4,220; year before 5,131. Not as many crows and starlings were reported this year, which brought the total down some. Canada goose and common merganser totals fluctuate a lot from year to year, depending on how much open water is available, and can really skew the results. As far as open water is concerned, this was a pretty good year. Many years there is none at all.
Unfortunately, no northern winter birds such as pine siskins, redpolls, evening grosbeaks, horned larks, snow buntings, etc. were reported. It seems like we need more snow cover for those.
Because of the larger number of participants, we may need to come up with a better way to make coverage assignments. Perhaps we need to create more real teams, rather than sending out individuals or couples to bird the circle's 7 sections. In any case, we will work on this so that every participant has the opportunity for some good birding during the count.
Finally, we at TAS would like to thank all the particpants who contributed their time and effort for this important work.
January 18 Meeting. Our January 2017 monthly meeting will feature a photographic presentation entitled Birds and Wildlife of San Francisco and Monterey Bays by TAS webmaster Gary Tyson. Despite intensive real estate development and much industrial activity, San Francisco Bay still has many natural areas used by an abundance of birds and other wildlife. Gary will show you some of the more important preserved areas, such as the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, and other parklands maintained and protected by local governments and private organizations. Although the program will be largely devoted to San Francisco Bay, there will be a short excursion to nearby Moss Landing, a coastal town on Montery Bay rich in seabirds and marine animals.
Gary has been birding for more than 50 years and is an accomplished photographer, whose photographs have appeared in a number of national and local publications and are often used by various environmental and educational organizations. Many of them appear in the Cornel Laboratory of Ornithology's online bird identification site, All About Birds. He has made several trips to the Silicon Valley area of San Francisco Bay in the last couple of years and has accumulated an extensive collection of photographs of the interesting wildlife to be found in the area. Please join us on January 18 at 7:30 PM at the Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center in Wellsboro. The presentation will be preceded by a 6:30 business meeting, which is also open to the public. Also, please visit us on Facebook or at www.tiaudubon.org, where you can learn more about our local chapter and its activities.
Eels and Mussels Project
Please take a look at our page devoted to the Eels and Mussels Project. There are also links to some relevant YouTube videos and a link to our Flickr group which has many more photos of eel captures, tagging, and releases.
New Wildlife Observation Blind on Landrus Road. Tiadaghton Audubon in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry has built a new blind on Landrus Road just west of Arnot. The blind is on one of several rather large ponds in forestry lands in that area. A parking area has already been created and a gravel path laid from it to the blind and pond. It is a very pretty location. Here are the GPS coordinates in decimal degrees: N41.66463, W077.14194. Driving instructions below.
From Rte 15, you can visit the project by driving to the village of Arnot (get off at the Blossburg exit and follow signs to Arnot). From Church Street in Arnot, continue west on Arnot Road for another half mile and make a left onto Landrus Road. Landrus Road is an unimproved, forest-service road. The blind site is 0.6 miles from the Arnot Road intersection. There is a small, rough parking area lined with large rocks on the left. The trail is across the road on the right. The new blind is a very short walk at the end of the gravel path. As of now there are no signs.
From Wellsboro: Approximately 15 miles. Take PA Route 6 East out of town, for 2.1 miles and make a slight right turn on to Cherry Flats Rd. Proceed 2.5 miles and turn right on Arnot Road. Follow Arnot Road for 9 miles, making a sharp right hand turn onto Landrus road (turn is located after passing ponds on the left and right and is very shape, approximately 135 degrees. Landrus Road is an unimproved, forest-service road. Follow Landrus Road for 0.6 miles to parking lot on the left. Lot holds approximately 4 cars. The trail to blind is directly across from parking lot.
(Updated January 8, 2016.)
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Thanks to Wayne C. Sierer for the new raven logo.