Sullivan County Mid-winter Waterfowl Count

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This weekend, Arlene Borko, Scott Baldinger and I (John Haas) participated in the Mid-winter Waterfowl Count for Sullivan County, sponsored by New York State DEC. The count took place during one of the most prolonged deep freezes we have had in years, initially resulting in our lowest waterfowl count in all the years I have done it. (appox. 20) On Monday, 1/15, another deep freeze concentrated more birds in accessible areas, increasing our total count.  This brought us up to our third lowest count, not that bad.  That said, there were also some nice highlights to the count.  The primary birding locations were The Bashakill, Wurtsboro, Rio Reservoir, Mongaup Reservoir, Neversink River and Rondout Reservoir.  The forty mile stretch along the Delawar River failed to produce a single species/individual due to ice jams and dense ice flows.  Our typical birds counted include Canada Geese , Mallard, Black Duck, Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers and Common Goldeneye .  Any additional species for this cold, mountain county are a bonus.  This year the highlights were  REDHEAD,  NORTHERN PINTAIL,  LESSER SCAUP and  AMERICAN WIGEON.  Here are our totals:

Canada Goose – 157 all time historic low

Mallard – 90 all time historic low

American Black Duck – 205 average

Common Merganser – 53 average

Hooded Merganser – 23 average

Common Goldeneye – 35 a good count

Lesser Scaup – 1 immature drake

Redhead – 2 adult drake

Northern Pintail – 1 adult drake

American Wigeon – 1 adult female

Total – 568 individuals

Since the Midwinter Count is a prolonged count, not ending until next Sunday, more species may be added over the course of the week.  I’d like to thank Scott and Arlene for their efforts with the count.  While traveling around the county, we had Snow Buntings in four locations today! Great weekend!

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3 Responses to Sullivan County Mid-winter Waterfowl Count

  1. John – Sorry the waterfowl count was on the low side. I think they did one in Orange County this weekend too, but I think we probably had more open water than Sullivan. I’ll be curious to hear some of their numbers. I really love your Snow Bunting photo – I think I’ve only ever seen SNBUs perched in a tree one other time – in Rye NY a few years back. Matt

  2. Kathleen Ashman says:

    Love your photos of the Snow Buntings!

  3. Matt and Kathy,
    Thanks! I too have seen few Snow Buntings perched in trees. Several years ago, on McDonald Road in Wurtsboro, 120 Snow Buntings perched in a tree and I was amazed. I hadn’t seen that behavior before. I have only seen it a couple of times in my 26 years of birding. Always great to hear from both of you! John

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