The Christmas 2012 Bird Count, held on December 16, 2012, was one of our warmest yet with no ice at all. The day brought south to southwest winds, temperatures in the upper 40’s to low 50’s inland and partly cloudy skies. We saw an active Lake Erie water snake and a bat flying around Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve at dusk! Tom Bartlett also reported two bats at Kelley’s Island. A highlight of the day on South Bass was watching a Bald Eagle fly in with a red-breasted merganser, then land and proceed to eat it on the shore behind the Put-in-Bay airport.
On South Bass Island, Lisa Brohl, Susan Harrington, Debbie Woischke, Colleen O’Brien, Bridget Wise and John Dodge traveled the island during daylight hours of the 2012 bird count to count waterfowl and woodland birds. Sixteen people watched their feeders for us, including Len and Connie Knam, Mary Ann McCann, Paul and Gay Pippert Ladd, Sue Amrine with grandchildren Ella and Lukas Kostura, Ruth Scarpelli, Bob Glauser, Kit Knaser, Sarah Toole, Bridget Wise and John Dodge, Angie Martens, Susan Harrington, Russ Brohl, John Ladd, Henry and Jack Genzman, and Joseph Byrnes. Marsha Parker, David Hill and Chris Ladd also added their observations for the week by phone or e-mail.
Valerie Mettler prepared a delicious lunch of curried pumpkin soup, ravioli, cream cheese bread and a beautiful salad for the 2012 Bird Count Participants. Thanks to all for their help and to property owners for access.. It is great to have so many eyes and
ears out there! On Middle Bass Island, Emily Schanz watched her feeder, the lakefront at her home, and drove to the Kuehnle State
Wildlife Area to find the only great blue herons for our count.
On North Bass Island, Bob Glauser spent two hours walking the area from the dock to Honey Point and to the north through the vineyards. A permit was received from the Ohio Division of Wildlife to hold the second Christmas Count at Green Island State
Wildlife Area. As the weather was best on December 15th, John Dodge, Bridget Wise, and Lisa Brohl visited the island by small
outboard. Green produced a lot of herring gulls, a variety of woodpeckers, and a winter wren to add to the count total. Ron and Lynn Tiessen watched birds on Pelee Island. Their ring-necked pheasants were the only ones for the islands. Eastern bluebirds showed up the day after so were counted as “count week birds”.
On Kelleys Island, John Pogacnik, Tom and Paula Bartlett, Sandy Tkach, Shane Roberts and Tom Behlen scoured the island for the 2012 Bird Count to come up with some great birds including a golden eagle, harlequin duck, Virginia rail, purple sandpipers, and incredible numbers of hermit thrushes, yellow-rumped warblers, and golden-crowned kinglets. Lee Tkach and Bruce and Leslie Korenko contributed by watching their feeders. This year’s totals on Kelleys demonstrated the northern eruption of common redpolls, white-winged crossbills, and red-breasted nuthatches Ohio is experiencing this year. A Townsend’s solitaire was present before the count and after but did not show up that week. The incredible birding on Kelleys that day garnered a mention in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s birding column about the 2012 Bird Count! John Pogacnik, the Lake Erie Islands Count Circle compiler, reported 82 different species of birds seen on all the islands that day. The most numerous bird of the count was over 19,000 European Starlings followed by bufflehead (1,518) and American robins (1,228). This effort is part of the nationwide Audubon
Christmas Bird Count that has been going on for over one hundred years. It is great to be a part of the citizen effort across the country to census bird populations.