2020 Orange County Waterfowl Count

Today, for the second year running, Linda Scrima and I participated in the Mearn’s Bird Club’s Orange County Winter Waterfowl Count. Like last year, our sector was the Black Dirt Region. Which means more fields than bodies of water, so we spent the majority of the time searching for, counting, and sorting flocks of Canada Geese. We met at the Liberty Loop parking area at sunrise, and then made our way through the black dirt, hitting the usual spots as well as scouting some relatively unfamiliar territory.

~The bird of the day – blue morph Snow Goose viewed from Celery Avenue, 01/18/20.~

Last year we got lucky and located a couple of rare birds (Cackling and Greater White-fronted Goose). This year was a little less exciting; our best bird was a blue morph Snow Goose that we found on Celery Avenue. But, we did increase our number of species from 2019 to 2020 (6 to 7). Here’s our totals for the day:

  • Canada Goose: 1,755
  • Mallard: 48
  • American Black Duck: 2
  • Mute Swan: 5
  • Ring-necked Duck: 1
  • Common Merganser: 17
  • Snow Goose: 1
~One of three Great Blue Herons we had in the black dirt today, 01/19/20.~

We did have some notable other birds as we made our way around. Raptors top the list with: Red-tailed Hawk (6), Red-shouldered Hawk (1), Rough-legged Hawk (1), Sharp-shinned Hawk (1), and Bald Eagle (2). We also had a surprising (3) Great Blue Herons as well as an extremely large flock of blackbirds that passed in the far distance; it is hard to put a number on it, but there were probably north of 3,500 birds.

I enjoyed participating in the count – it was nice to have a defined purpose in our birding. I’m thinking this is a direction I’d like to take to a larger degree in my birding moving forward.

~A small flock of Canada Geese lift off from Skinners Lane with High Point in the distance.~

2 thoughts on “2020 Orange County Waterfowl Count”

  1. Went to Barnegat yesterday looking for the black guillemot but had no success. Last seen on the 15 th. Had a good assortment of sea ducks though. Had several redheads on Lake Parsippany this afternoon
    Bruce

    1. It’s always product at the Jersey Shore in the winter, too bad about the Black Guillemot. I covered an awful lot of ground locally today, but really didn’t get much for my efforts. Best was having 9 Bald Eagles at Plum Point early in the afternoon. Matt

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