Twenty-two Lake Erie Bird Club members and guests braved frigid temperatures and snow to participate in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count on Jan. 1. The Club's count circle includes the Dunkirk Harbor and Airport as well as areas in the townships of Pomfret, Dunkirk, Sheridan, Hanover, Villenova and Arkwright. Participants observed birds in all of these areas as well as at feeders in their yards. A total of 66 species was observed on count day and an additional nine species were reported during the count week, but not on count day. This was the highest count the club has had in about 25 years. The average count is about 58 species. However, the total number of individual birds observed was low at 3,479 birds.
Highlights of birds observed on the count included Black-crowned Night Heron, Greater White-fronted Geese, Bald Eagles, Merlin, Glaucous Gull, Snowy and Barred Owls, Common Raven, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, Cedar Waxwings, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Snow Buntings and Common Redpolls. Joanne Goetz served as compiler.
The Dunkirk Harbor continues to be a popular destination for both birds and birders. A great variety of ducks and gulls attract many local birders, as well as birders from many other areas of Western New York. Some of the ducks observed include Canvasback, Redhead, Greater Scaup, White-winged Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Harlequin Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, and Ruddy Ducks. Other birds seen at the Harbor include Black-crowned Night Herons, Double-crested Cormorants, Canada Geese, Mute and Tundra Swans, American Coots, and Ring-billed, Herring, Glaucous and Greater Black-backed Gulls. Bald Eagles are also frequently seen at the harbor. The Dunkirk Harbor provides birders with a great opportunity to observe and study many ducks and gulls.
A Downy Woodpecker is one type of bird that birders look for in our area.
The next meeting of the Lake Erie Bird Club will be on Monday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. at BOCES, Fredonia-Stockton Road, Fredonia. Bonnie and Dick Lancaster of Westfield will present a program on their trip to the Engeye Health Clinic of Ddegeya Village in Uganda, Africa. They both worked in the clinic for two weeks. All are welcome to attend the meeting and hear about their experiences at the clinic. There will also be a sharing of recent bird sightings.
For information about the Lake Erie Bird Club call 673-1627.