2023 Christmas Bird Count

by Cheryl Anderson


Photo: Lori Borthwick

From Birds Canada: “Started in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is North America’s longest-running Citizen Science project. People in more than 2000 locations throughout the Western Hemisphere participate in the CBC each year. The information collected by thousands of CBC volunteer participants forms one of the world’s largest sets of wildlife survey data. The results are used by conservation biologists, environmental planners, and naturalists to assess the population trends and distribution of birds.

The CBC in each 24 Km diameter Count Circle is planned on a day between December 14 and January 5. Effort for each circle is organized by a Compiler.”

The Sandbanks Count has been running for nine years. It is centered on Sandbanks Park. (See map attached). Tyler Hoar from Oshawa is the Compiler. The count circle is divided into five sections. Each section is “birded” by a group of volunteers. Tyler has invited birders from Oshawa, Peterborough and Toronto to help with the Sandbanks Count.

Traditionally, birders from the County have been responsible for section five. Section five encompasses the area from County Road 24 inland to Dainard Road and down to Lake Ontario. Charwell Point and Gull Pond, the Lighthall and Simpson Road impoundments, Army Reserve, Royal, Simpson and Lighthall Roads are included in section five.

On December 19, Ian Barker, Amy Bodman, Lori Borthwick, Joanne Dewey, Paul Jones, Sheila and Allen Kuja, John Lowry, Mikaela Naumann, Dale Smith and Rick Szabo, joined me to scour section five for birds. Dawn Ayer joined in for a short time but was challenged by a faulty rubber boot.

Photo: Lori Borthwick

Paul, Dale and Mikaela started early to search the Charwell Point area. Unfortunately, they were confronted by a group of hunters at the point. Nevertheless, they provided a good list of species including a Fox Sparrow. Sheila and Allen and Ian and Joanne were the driving teams – covering the road areas. The Red Shouldered Hawk was absent from its usual perch, but Wild Turkeys, Black-capped Chickadees and Dark-eyed Juncos were abundant.

The walkers started down the MNR Road and turned to follow the Simpson Road berm to Simpson Road. Canada Geese were a welcome sight in an unusually quiet morning. The walk down Simpson Road was remarkable only for the many American Robins and a Hermit Thrush. At the Lake were saw Buffleheads, Long-tailed Ducks, Goldeneyes and a couple of White-winged Scoters. Returning to Army Reserve Road we were thrilled by a fly past of 11 Sandhill Cranes.
We were happy to join in the round up event at the Waring House to boast about the species we had found and hear about the exploits and species found by birders surveying the other sections of the Sandbanks Christmas Bird Count.

Photo: Lori Borthwick

We look forward to many more opportunities to let everyone know about the great birding opportunities in Prince Edward County.


Long-tailed Ducks (Photo: Ian Barker)