2020 Bird Count
33rd Annual Lake Erie Islands Christmas Bird Count
December 20, 2020
H. Thomas Bartlett
On December 20, 2020, the 33rd annual Lake Erie Islands Christmas Bird Count was conducted on 4 of the western Lake Erie Islands. This is one of the few counts which covers areas in two countries. Participants on South Bass Island, Middle Bass Island, Kelleys Island, and Pelee Island. Normally, coverage includes North Bass Island and sometimes Green Island. However, the one counter on North Bass Island has moved off the island in the last year. Need to work on getting someone there in future years. The compiler and founder of the count, John Pogacnik of Perry, Ohio started the count in 1987 and it has been run every year except 1994.
This year’s count found 80 species and 40,992 individuals over the 4 islands. The count average has been 73 species observed and 27,971 individuals, so this year was above normal. South Bass Island found 41 species and 5347 individuals. Unusual species for South Bass Island were a Common Loon, a Common Grackle and a count week sighting of a Tufted Titmouse. Middle Bass Island found 39 species and 975 individuals. Unusual species for Middle Bass Island were a Peregrine Falcon and a flock of 26 Common Redpolls. Redpolls are a northern finch species which don’t come south every winter. The 39 species found were the highest number every recorded on the count for Middle Bass Island and this was with only 3 counters; Teddi Keith-Morris, Tyler McClain, and Mariah Scherer. Pelee Island counters found 46 species and 4930 individuals. Pelee Island had 17 observers in 12 groups. Unusual species for Pelee Island were 3 Mute Swans, 620 Wild Turkeys, 3 Common Terns (first time ever for this count!) and 15 Common Grackles. As has been the case in many of the past counts, Kelleys Island had the highest number of species (69 species) and highest number of individuals (29,740 individuals). Kelleys had 9 counters and 4 feeders being watched. Unusual species were a Surf Scoter, 3 Black Scoters, 4 unidentified scoters, a count week Killdeer (late), a Purple Sandpiper (a rare east coast species), 5 Common Loons, a late Gray Catbird, 6 Purple Finches, 2 Common Redpolls (at Kit Kilen’s feeder), 4 Pine Siskins, a late Chipping Sparrow and a late Field Sparrow. And for the record, 24 Bald Eagles were observed on the islands (each island had at least 4 individuals).
Kelleys Island counters were Chris Ashley, Emily Beal, John Pogacnik, Shawn Pogacnik, Josh ?, Tom Bartlett, Paula Bartlett, Alexi Panehal, Tyler McClain, and Mariah Scherer. Feeder counters were Bruce & Leslie Korenko, Lee & Sandy Tkach, Chris Ashley, and Kit Kilen. We can always use more counters and feeder watchers. Think about helping out next year. The count will be Sunday, December 19, 2021.
South Bass Island counters were Lisa Brohl, Susan Harrington, Paula Ziebarth, Elizabeth Heineman, Julene Market. South Bass feeder watchers were Susan Harrington, Russ Brohl, Ruth Scarpelli, Janet Grantham, Kit Knaser, Michelle Heineman, Jean Hilt, Bob Glauser, Pam Stephens, Sue Freguson, Paul Ladd, Gay Pippert, Sarah Toole, Randy Wertenbach, Anita McCann, Maryann McCann, Jim O’Donnell, and Barb Chrysler.
Middle Bass Island Counters were Teddi Keith-Morris, Tyler McClain, and Mariah Scherer.
Pelee Island counters were Sumiko Onishi, Carol Takahashi, Karen Foster, Kim Gardner, Ron & Lynn Tiessen, Deb & Fred Billard, Alyssa & Matt Staples, Pete Samuels, Dale Adamson, Lisa & Brian Kipp, Deb Crawford, and Ron Tymstra.
Lake Erie Islands Bird Count Totals for 2020
Kelleys Island Christmas Bird Count
Pictures: Tom Bartlett took the Killdeer picture and Tyler McClain took the Purple Sandpiper