Here are the totals from the Champlain Islands Christmas Bird Count held on
Dec 20, 2015. The circle includes North Hero, South Hero, Grand Isle, Isle
La Motte, the southern end of Alburgh, the lakeshore portions of Swanton,
St. Albans, and Georgia, and a small area in New York including Point Au
Roche State Park.
We ended up with 64 count-day species plus 1 count week species, compared
with a high count of 76 species in 2005 and 73 species last year.
Total number of individuals was 95,044, shattering our previous high of
28,305 in 2011 and only 14,913 last year. The reason for the high numbers
was an amazing 84,500 Snow Geese observed in Point Au Roche, NY. Without
these Snow Geese, we would have had only 10,544 individuals, which would be
the lowest numbers since 1987.
Here are a few highlights:
Snow Goose - 84,663 new high count; previous high was 11,667 in
Ross's Goose - 1 new species
Green-winged Teal - 1 seen in only 4 previous counts
Hooded Merganser - 270 new high count; previous high was 62 in 2004
Northern Harrier – 8 new high count; previous high was 7 in
2011 and 2013
Peregrine Falcon – 4 new high count; single birds seen in only
3 previous counts
Snowy Owl – 1 seen in only 3 previous counts
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 5 new high count; previous high was 3 in 2012
Red-breasted Merganser seen in 25 previous counts
Ruffed Grouse seen in 25 previous counts
The above statistics are based on 29 years of data in our present circle's
location. Four earlier years (1983 to 1986) when the circle was located
slightly to the north were excluded. Counts were generally very low in
those first few years compared with later counts.
We had 30 people "on the road" counting, plus 13 at feeders. We drove and
walked 345 miles and spent 104 hours, including owling and watching
--Ken Copenhaver (compiler)