With winter upon us, most of our activities during December focused on the provincial Christmas Bird Counts. We had fine weather during most of the month so they mostly went off without a hitch.
Our first Count was at East Point, starting with our meeting at the Lighthouse at the crack of dawn to view the sea ducks. We were rewarded with 2 large rafts of ducks including Common Eider, Black and White-winged Scoter, Long-tailed Duck and a group of 13 Harlequin. Also noted were Black Guillemot, Black-legged Kittiwake and a Razerbill. Other count highlights were Bohemian Waxwings, American Tree Sparrows, a Great Horned Owl and a late Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
Our next Count was in the area of Prince Edward Island National Park. Nothing too unusual came to light on this count but what was interesting was the lack of sparrows and finches. Finally, coming across a few Pine Grosbeak saved the day for us.
The final two Count Circles were Hillsborough and Montague. One of the first birds to come to light in the Hillsborough Count was a Snowy Owl located on the old bridge piers. The following day, birders looking to see that owl came to find two more for a total of three Snowy Owls located in and around the Bridge. Since those birds were seen we have also had other sightings reported in Charlottetown, in the National Park and in other areas across the province. Of the two counts, nothing unusual has been reported other than the owls but they fit nicely into the Echo Year that others have contended.
With January, and the new year, we are getting into the planning for 2015. This will get us into activities such as the PEI Winter Woodlot Tour 2015 (January 31) and generating interest in the Great Backyard Bird Count (February 13-16) . After that we will be looking forward to Spring. Bring on the birds!