Print

Print


Four of our traditional overwintering large-field birds, Snow Buntings, 
Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs and Rough-legged Hawks seem to me here 
in western Addison County to be less frequent and in fewer numbers than 
in previous years.  So I decided to see what the January eBird numbers 
show for the state, Addison County, and two Addison County hotspots.

All the comparisons below are 2018 compared with the averages from the 
preceding 5 years (2013-2017) using January eBird data. Where 
frequencies and flock sizes are not mentioned the differences are 
insignificant.  In most cases Lapland Longspurs were not reported 
frequently enough to make meaningful comparisons.

State level:
Snow Bunting flock sizes lower by 37%
Horned Lark flock sizes lower by 24%
Horned Lark frequencies of occurrence lower by 31%
Rough-legged Hawk frequencies of occurrence lower by 31%

Addison County:
Snow Bunting frequency of occurrence higher by 66%
Snow Bunting flock sizes lower by 33%
Horned Lark frequency of occurrence lower by 7%
Horned Lark flock sizes lower by 3%
Rough-legged Hawk frequency of occurrence higher by 20%

Gage Road, Dead Creek WMA hotspot:
Snow Bunting frequency of occurrence lower by 16%
Snow Bunting flock sizes lower by 95%
Horned Lark frequency of occurrence lower by 19%
Horned Lark flock sizes lower by 70%
Lapland Longspur frequency of occurrence lower by 33%
Lapland Longspur numbers lower by 68%
Rough-legged Hawk frequency of occurrence lower by 43%
Rough-legged Hawk numbers lower by 26%

Lemon Fair Road, Weybridge hotspot:
Snow Bunting frequency of occurrence lower by 9%
Snow Bunting flock sizes lower by 37%
Horned Lark frequency of occurrence down by 45%
Horned Lark flock sizes lower by 86%
Rough-legged Hawk frequency of occurrence down by 16%
Rough-legged Hawk numbers down by 20%
Horned-Lark frequency of occurrence down by 100%

Thus indeed Snow Buntings, Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, and 
Rough-legged Hawks this winter so far are all significantly down in 
numbers for Vermont, at least Addison among the counties, and at two 
Addison County hotspots reliable for the species.

With last night's new snow in western Addison County, and blowing snow 
all day today to bring the field birds to the roadsides, here in 
Weybridge and Bridport a couple of hours of local driving yesterday and 
today yielded not one of the three field species taking advantage of 
roadsides or elsewhere at their usual haunts except for a small cluster 
of Horned Larks chowing down at a bunker silo, nor did I see any 
Rough-legged Hawks.

Ian