Saskatoon Nature Society
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Clark's Crossing Christmas Bird Count
December 17, 2005.

by Michael Williams

A clear sunny day welcomed the 28 participants to the 15th annual Clark's Crossing Count. Although temperatures were cool, the warm sun and lack of wind made this one of our most pleasant count days.

The river, which runs through the centre of the count circle, was still open, but becoming choked with floating ice pans, crowding out the ducks which are normally present. Only 5 Common Goldeneyes were seen. Canada Geese (1,310) were still present, roosting along the ice shelves or flying out into nearby stubble fields to feed.

Fewer species were recorded this year, only 23 compared with 28 and 26 in the previous two years. Even so, more birds (5,533) were counted than usual, largely owing to the big flocks of Bohemian Waxwings (1,145) in the area.

Species present were generally in average numbers, although Common Ravens (10) were scarce. Downy (13) and Hairy (17) Woodpeckers were almost twice as abundant as usual (in marked contrast to the numbers seen in Saskatoon a week later! Possibly they are more active and visible when it is cold). A Boreal Chickadee was seen for the first time this year.

Other species counted were: Bald Eagle (3), Gray Partridge (41), Sharp-tailed Grouse (45), Rock Pigeon (295), Great Horned Owl (7), Snowy Owl (4), Northern Shrike (1), Blue Jay (2), Black-billed Magpie (334), Horned Lark (3), Black-capped Chickadee (127), European Starling (25), American Tree Sparrow (1), Snow Bunting (39), House Finch (1) and House Sparrow (2,104).

In common with other local counts this year, no grosbeaks, crossbills or redpolls were seen. One assumes that mild winter conditions and good food supplies in the north are keeping them away. Many thanks to those who took time to help with the count in the busy pre-Christmas period. It certainly helps us to get into the spirit of the season. Good luck, and good birding.


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Last modified: 6 February, 2010