Survey 1: Report

Survey 1 of the Dundas IBA (ON005): Report

The first-ever Dundas IBA Survey was conducted on June 16, 2018. The day was quite warm, with a bit of light rain interspersed throughout the morning. The high reached 28? C, making for very hot afternoon conditions for a bird survey. Many counters were undoubtedly more used to such surveys happening in mid-fall or winter conditions, making this a new experience for many.

This count, which can also be more lengthily referred to as a “Dundas Valley & Dundas Marsh Important Bird & Biodiversity Area Survey” was conducted exclusively within natural lands found inside the boundary of the IBA, which in short covers the Dundas Valley from Summit Musket through to Spencer Creek into Cootes Paradise, extending to Burlington Heights.

To read more about this IBA, see https://www.ibacanada.ca/site.jsp?siteID=ON005.

For those familiar with the Christmas Bird Counts, this survey followed a similar methodology, but did not include urban areas or backyard birdfeeders.

This count included 14 volunteer counters who covered quite a lot of ground throughout the day. While we did not cover all mapped zones, we did cover all key areas. Counters employed three means of active transportation: while most of the birding was by foot, eight kilometres was covered by canoe (Cootes Paradise), and ten kilometres by bike (Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail).

Since this is the first survey, there are no comparisons that can be done with previous results. That said, there are still a few interesting discoveries in the data.

Of the nine “criteria species” (species that have at one time been present in significant numbers within the IBA) that occur within the season, only three were observed: Acadian Flycatcher, Chimney Swift, and Hooded Warbler. This is not surprising, since five of the missing species have been extremely scarce in recent years, with the Louisiana Waterthrush as the only species known to breed in recent years that was not seen. This was deemed a likely outcome however, since while this species did arrive during migration this year, it did not remain past May.

In terms of sheer raw numbers, the top 10 species observed were: Red-winged Blackbird (475), American Robin (265), Song Sparrow (166), House Sparrow (154), American Goldfinch (148), European Starling (141), Red-eyed Vireo (135), Yellow Warbler (134), Gray Catbird (122), Ring-billed Gull (119).

There were 10 species with 80% or higher distribution for reported zones (in order of percentage of checklists present within): American Robin (97%), Gray Catbird (90%), Northern Cardinal (87%), Indigo Bunting (87%), Baltimore Oriole (87%), American Goldfinch (84%), Eastern Wood-Pewee (81%), Blue Jay (81%), Song Sparrow (81%), Red-winged Blackbird (81%).

In contrast, there were 13 species that were highly localized; that is, occurring in one checklist only: Blue-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Wild Turkey, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Least Bittern, Great Egret, Cooper’s Hawk, Acadian Flycatcher, Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Brown Creeper, Black-throated Green Warbler, Pine Siskin.

There were a few surprise results.

A total of 6 Hooded Warblers were found in the western side of Dundas Valley, which is a very healthy count for this Carolinian species.

A lone fledgeling Pine Siskin was observed at Iroquia Conservation Area, which is a remarkably late date for this northern species which infrequently breeds within this area before migrating back to northern forests.

Highlights from the canoe-birding party included Least Bittern, Great Egrets, a new colony of Bank Swallows, a Common Loon flyover, a Pied-billed Grebe on breeding territory, some Yellow-throated Vireos, and so many Marsh Wrens heard that a very conservative estimate had to be made by ear of 25, with likely many more out of audible range.

One notable missed species was the Eastern Meadowlark, which has been seen in recent years within the IBA but was not present within this count.

Since nearly all species on this list are likely to be breeding locally, the author has not annotated any of the data with breeding status.

Thank you to all whom have assisted in this initial survey, including the RBG and HCA for their assistance. The current plan is to conduct surveys every five months, until data is collected for each calendar month. Our second survey is expected to occur late November, followed a third survey next April.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Rob Porter
Compiler, Dundas IBA Survey 1

Results

IBA Criteria Species for Spring/Summer

Observed in Survey 1:

Acadian Flycatcher
Chimney Swift
Hooded Warbler

Not found in Survey 1:

Barn Owl
Little Gull
Loggerhead Shrike
Louisiana Waterthrush
Prothonotary Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat

Survey 1: Count Totals

Each line follows the format: species name, count, distribution (% of checklists present within)

List is in taxonomic order.

* Denotes species adjusted lower to account for possible observation overlaps.

Canada Goose	92	(23%)
Mute Swan	24	(13%)
Trumpeter Swan	4	(6%)
Wood Duck	34	(16%)
Blue-winged Teal	4	(3%)
Mallard	45	(19%)
Hooded Merganser	1	(3%)
Wild Turkey	8	(3%)
Common Loon	1	(3%)
Pied-billed Grebe	1	(3%)
Double-crested Cormorant	48	(10%)
Least Bittern	3	(3%)
Great Blue Heron	37	(26%)
Great Egret	4	(3%)
Green Heron	8	(13%)
Black-crowned Night-Heron	7	(16%)
Turkey Vulture	77	(55%)
* Osprey	4	(10%)
Cooper's Hawk	1	(3%)
* Bald Eagle	4	(6%)
Broad-winged Hawk	2	(6%)
Red-tailed Hawk	9	(23%)
Killdeer	11	(16%)
Spotted Sandpiper	7	(6%)
Ring-billed Gull	119	(42%)
Herring Gull	20	(26%)
gull sp.	10
Caspian Tern	25	(26%)
Common Tern	29	(13%)
Rock Pigeon	12	(10%)
Mourning Dove	55	(45%)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo	21	(39%)
Black-billed Cuckoo	7	(23%)
Chimney Swift	21	(29%)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird	12	(29%)
Belted Kingfisher	14	(32%)
Red-bellied Woodpecker	36	(58%)
Downy Woodpecker	47	(68%)
Hairy Woodpecker	17	(42%)
Downy/Hairy Woodpecker	1
Northern Flicker	23	(45%)
Pileated Woodpecker	14	(23%)
Eastern Wood-Pewee	64	(81%)
Acadian Flycatcher	1	(3%)
Alder Flycatcher	4	(10%)
Willow Flycatcher	4	(10%)
Empidonax sp.	1
Eastern Phoebe	9	(26%)
Great Crested Flycatcher	47	(65%)
Eastern Kingbird	25	(29%)
flycatcher sp. (Tyrannidae sp.)	1
Yellow-throated Vireo	7	(10%)
Warbling Vireo	27	(35%)
Red-eyed Vireo	135	(74%)
Blue Jay	93	(81%)
American Crow	60	(65%)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow	9	(10%)
Tree Swallow	84	(39%)
Bank Swallow	15	(3%)
Barn Swallow	58	(32%)
Cliff Swallow	2	(3%)
Black-capped Chickadee	116	(77%)
Red-breasted Nuthatch	5	(13%)
White-breasted Nuthatch	35	(45%)
Brown Creeper	1	(3%)
House Wren	68	(71%)
Marsh Wren	27	(6%)
Carolina Wren	20	(42%)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher	17	(35%)
Eastern Bluebird	10	(16%)
Veery	5	(13%)
Wood Thrush	34	(39%)
American Robin	265	(97%)
Gray Catbird	122	(90%)
Brown Thrasher	4	(10%)
Northern Mockingbird	2	(6%)
European Starling	141	(42%)
Cedar Waxwing	87	(61%)
Ovenbird	2	(6%)
Blue-winged Warbler	33	(45%)
Mourning Warbler	3	(10%)
Common Yellowthroat	64	(65%)
Hooded Warbler	6	(6%)
American Redstart	42	(39%)
Yellow Warbler	134	(77%)
Chestnut-sided Warbler	5	(6%)
Pine Warbler	6	(13%)
Black-throated Green Warbler	1	(3%)
Chipping Sparrow	46	(61%)
Field Sparrow	44	(39%)
Savannah Sparrow	17	(10%)
Song Sparrow	166	(81%)
Swamp Sparrow	24	(23%)
Eastern Towhee	27	(39%)
Scarlet Tanager	29	(35%)
Northern Cardinal	88	(87%)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak	56	(71%)
Indigo Bunting	113	(87%)
Bobolink	5	(10%)
Orchard Oriole	4	(13%)
Baltimore Oriole	84	(87%)
Red-winged Blackbird	475	(81%)
Brown-headed Cowbird	63	(65%)
Common Grackle	89	(61%)
blackbird sp.	1
House Finch	15	(29%)
Pine Siskin	1	(3%)
American Goldfinch	148	(84%)
House Sparrow	154	(39%)

TOTAL birds counted 	4469

Species counted 104
Other taxa counted (spuh, slash, or hybrid) 5