Print

Print


For all the birders viewing Great Egrets on Lake Champlain this August 
and September, it was a bumper year.  Here are some comparisons with 
previous years.

When looking at the numbers, keep in mind that the farther back in time 
the fewer the number of birders.  The years since 2012, or so, are 
reasonably comparable with this year.

The following table looks at the number of Lake Champlain basin reports 
in eBird with more than 9 Great Egrets per checklist for August and 
September.  There are four numbers for each year:
     (a) The number of checklists having more than 9 Great Egrets for 
Aug/Sept  (for this year 44 in August and 114 in September)
     (b) The highest number of Great Egrets reported for Aug/Sept (for 
this year 29 in August and 56 in September)
     (c) The number observations of with 25 or more Great Egrets for 
Aug/Sept (for this year 3 in August and 7 in September)
     (d) The average water height above sea level for Aug+Sept. 
Highlighted are three exceptionally low water years.

2018    44/114---29/56---3/7       [94.2]
2017      1/3---22/28--0/1              95.9
2016   10/41---39/123---2/7        [94.2]
2015      2/6---14/52---0/2             96.0
2014      0/6----8/24---0/0              95.2
2013      1/1---10/12---0/0             96.2
2012    20/6---30/21---2/0           [94.5]
2011      4/0---14/8---0/0               96.9
2010      2/5---16/17---0/0             95.3
2009      0/0
2008      0/0
2007      0/0
2006      0/0
2005      2/0---15/6---0/0
2004      2/0---17/7---0/0
2003      4/5---21/31---0/2

The three years with clearly the highest Great Egret counts and the most 
submissions to eBird in August and September (2018, 2016, 2012) are also 
the years with the lowest water levels (average = 94.3 feet above sea 
level).  The average height for the other years is 96.0, approaching two 
whole feet higher. The differences in Great Egret numbers comparing 2016 
and 2018 with 2015 and 2017 is very striking.

  The lowest ever recorded level for the lake was in 1908 at 92.4 feet, 
which must have been astounding.  The lowest level this year was on 
October 1st at 93.96 feet above sea level .... only a foot and a half 
above the all time record low.

Being waders, the egrets are obviously enjoying all the added feeding 
grounds, while giving us the joy of their presence as well!

Best to all .....

Ian