Dan Tippin Keeps Busy

Todd from Parks department takes deliver of the 17 Bluebird boxes built by Dan.

Dan Tippin recently completed 17 new Bluebird boxes for the cities Parks Department. The uncut lumber was generously donated by Springwater Sawmill. Dan and Al Hurst picked up the lumber and ran it through Dan’s planer. Dan did all the rest and as you can see by the photos he did a marvellous job.

Thanks Dan;
Members STFNC

Ten of the finished Bluebird boxes.
Final 7 bluebird boxes.

2023 Christmas Bird Count Results

Northern Shrike photo by Eva Visscher

This year was a really warm CBC with a high of 10 degrees Celsius, we started the day with rain but it proceeded to get drier as the day progressed. All the water in our area was open, yet that did not help with getting more waterfowl.

This year ‘s total of 71 species and 4 count week birds gave us a total of 75 species and total number of 18,003 birds. Since 1950 we have counted 1.25 million birds with an average of 15,423 and this year, we were right on with the average of 71 species. Over the years we have seen a total of 158 species during our CBC.

Click here for a complete list of this years birds.

For comparison last year we had 82 species and 14,525 birds. Last year our 4 Red-shouldered Hawk and 2157 Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) were Canadian high counts for the year and we tied with other areas with 2 Long-eared Owls.

A new species was reported by Al and Eva Hurst and Eva and Laurel Visscher, both groups got a Common Raven this year. Apparently Common Ravens were reported nesting in every county in Ontario this year.
Al and Eva Hurst had over 1000 Tundra Swans, a new high count for our club, the warmer climate is keeping them further north. Al and Eva got another high count with 8 Ruddy Duck. This was the first year of our count where we didn’t get an American Black Duck after reporting them for 73 years.

We reached a new high with 4 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, 9 Winter Wren and 62 Carolina Wren.

George Prieksaitis got our lone Short-eared Owl and 2 Rusty Blackbirds. Eva and Laurel Visscher managed to find a Northern Shrike, a nice bird for our CBC. Candy McManiman got our lone Gray Catbird (first reported in 5 years) and 2 Swamp Sparrows on the same bulrush. Bob Johnstone’s group was the only one to get 4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets (last reported in 2016) and 25 Cedar Waxwings.

With this warm green count we had only 3 Horned Lark seen by Ron Kingswood and Ed Pietrzak, they also ventured out in the rain to get 3 of our Eastern Screech-Owl and 2 Great Horned Owls in the damp night.

Cape May Warbler photo by Trish Snider

Trish Snider got a real good bird, Cape May Warbler at the corner of Centennial Ave and Roberts Line on count week. Karen Auckland got our lone Hermit Thrush at Lake Margaret on count week and Sally Martyn got our lone Purple Finch on her property also on count week. Jackie and Al Sharpe found the Black-billed Magpie that had been seen during the fall on Fingal Line, we found it south on Lyle Rd near the abandoned CSX tracks during count week.

Black-billed Magpie photo by Al Sharpe

2023 Christmas Bird Count

2023 Christmas Bird Count for St Thomas Field Naturalist Club

This years Christmas Bird Count will be on Tuesday, December 26th.
Our club has participated in this citizen science project since it was created in 1950.
Last year we had 14,525 birds with 82 species. There will be no potluck after the days count.
If you would like to participate email asharpe@outlook.com


STFNC Rondeau Adventure

Our day to raise funds for Birds Canada under the umbrella of Birds Canada Birdathon
(birding for conservation) will take place the same day as “Global Big Day” on Saturday, May 13th.
To participate we will meet at intersection of Kent Bridge Rd (15) and Rose Beach Line (17) at the mailboxes at 9 a.m.
In the morning we will walk around Bates Dr to Pike St and back via Rose Beach Line, approx 2 km.

Vehicle admission to Rondeau PP is $14.50 for seniors and $18 regular. We will stop at the rest rooms just inside the park and hopefully walk around the maintenance area. We will then go to the visitor centre for lunch. Pack your lunch because Rondeau does not have a large variety of food on offer.

We will base the afternoon walks on information we learn at the visitor centre. Everyone who wants are invited to Rondeau Joe’s, just outside the park for supper. Time and health considered we may be able to take in Keith McLean CA after supper.

This day’s adventure is to raise funds for Birds Canada and a portion comes back to our club. To make a donation please go to our fundraising page at: https://www.canadahelps.org/s/nB5yJV

If unable to donate online please see either Al Hurst or Al Sharpe to make sure your donation makes its way to Birds Canada. A sign up sheet will be at the May meeting.

Hope you can make it out for this great day of birding.

Al Hurst & Al Sharpe

Paintings of the Endangered

Club member Candy McManiman has a showing of her art at St. Marys Station Gallery
until April 8th. Candy also has her art at Art and Soul in Port Stanley. When out and about
you will find her art in the most unexpected places like in the middle of forests. Will leave
that up to you to find.

More event info.

When the weather is sunny plan a trip to see Candy’s presentation in St. Marys. Gallery hours are 11am to 4:30 pm Wednesday thru Saturday. You never know what you might see at the Thames River waterfront in St. Marys.

Aylmer Express articles this week

The express has two great articles on Catfish Creek AGM.
The first presents teacher Duncan Sinclair the 2023 Conservation Award.
https://aylmerexpress.com/2023/03/elp-founder-saluted-by-ccca/

The second article is a good write up of the things Catfish Creek Conservation Authority
has done over the year. Missing in the article was that Ron Casier presented a
talk on the Chestnut trees, with advances and set backs to the program.

Front page has a picture of Tundra Swans taking off and landing at Aylmer WMA.

The Maple Syrup festival at Springwater is only a one week event this year. Saturday March 11th
to Sunday March 19th. Pancakes are 9 dollars and for children 5 dollars. Bird house building is
available on the 16th Craft Day. Friday features woodcarvers and maple baked goods on Saturday.
The last day will feature live music, face painting and baked goods by Creative Confection Bake Studio.

If you want to know what’s going on in Elgin County get the Aylmer Express. All info above was from this
weeks issue.

GBBC Final Results

Group on walk on muddy Feb afternoon

With three days done of the four day GBBC, we are at 59 species. Last year we had 63 species. The walk pictured above at Fingal WMA did not produce vary many birds, extremely quiet. With one day to go hoping we can beat last year. It turns out you can go to the website ebird.org/gbbc/submit and your sightings will automatically be included in the GBBC.

Continue enjoying the celebration of birds in February.

Quick update: We ended up with 68 species, I will post a complete list and highlights after March 1st when all rare reports should be in. Not that I think we have any.

GBBC 2023 results.

Great Backyard Bird Count

This years GBBC is on Friday Feb 17th to Monday Feb 20.
Last year we had 63 species reported in Elgin. Hoping to better that this year.
I will be leading people on Saturday the 18th at 10 am at Yarmouth NHA at
47502 Sparta Line. We will go around Herb Kebbel Wetland and along Catfish Creek.
Sunday will have Ron’s walk at Fingal WMA at 1:30 pm, 34469 Fingal Line.

Attached is info on the GBBC.

Hope to see you out for one or both walks.

Al Sharpe

Feb meeting cancelled

Hello folks, due to the inclement weather our guest speaker has wisely decided to stay home. Mary will be booked to do the talk in the future. Marches speaker has been decided.

Stay warm and safe and we will meet in March on the 10th, notice the change for March to second Friday.

Al Hurst and executive

STFNC 73rd Christmas Bird Count

The winter season brings up the Christmas Bird Count. Our club has participated
every year since its inception in September 1950. The Count is the longest running Citizen Science project. The count is based on a 24-km diameter circle centred at John Wise Line and Yarmouth Centre Rd. We count all the birds we see for the day and the lists are compiled and input into the database maintained
by Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York.

The CBC took root over a century ago when 27 birders in 25 localities from Toronto, Ontario to Pacific Grove, California, led by ornithologist Frank Chapman, proposed a conservation-oriented alternative to the traditional ‘side hunt,’ a Christmas Day competition to hunt the most birds and small mammals.
This alternative initiative to identify, count, and record all the birds found on Christmas Day 1900 has turned into one of North America’s longest-running wildlife monitoring programs.

Our count is held on December 26th every year. To volunteer for the count or
just count birds in your backyard please contact Al Sharpe at 226-271-7018 or email asharpe@outlook.com.
All birders are encouraged to participate.