White Memorial's Winter Waterfowl Survey Protocol Developed

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Rationale:  Certain local waterfowl species are difficult to survey during the breeding season because they breed in isolated and protected water bodies.  Federal and State wildlife agencies conduct various waterfowl surveys in the winter to assess the population for management objectives.  These surveys include harvest waterfowl surveys, aerial surveys, and site specific surveys.  Bantam Lake and adjacent water bodies are commonly utilized by a variety of waterfowl during the winter months.  Since waterfowl harvesting is not permitted on these water bodies and aerial surveys are more feasible when surveying large flocks or rafts of birds in concentrated areas, Bantam Lake is best surveyed by counting birds from the lake shore.  All waterfowl species are counted including loons, grebes, cormorants, swans, geese, ducks, coot, and gulls.  The data collected in this survey is shared with wildlife agencies and other organizations that express an interest.

Survey Time and Dates:  Each survey will be conducted on one day on each interval in Late-November, January, and Early-March.  The survey will be conducted during daylight hours, primarily between 0800 – 1615 EST. 

Methods and Materials:  All waterfowl species, sex, and age are tallied.  Waterfowl will be counted using binoculars and spotting scopes at several predetermined locations.  Each survey count site will be conducted for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.  Waterfowl will be counted as surveyors drive between the locations such as birds in flight or birds in small water bodies along the way.  Ice cover, weather, number of counters, and potential disturbances to birds (ice fisherman, ice boats, etc.) will be recorded.  Counts will not be conducted when wind is over 15 mph, heavy fog, or when winter road conditions are not safe to drive. 

Count Sites:  Sites will be visited in this order

  1. Litchfield Town Beach looking south and east throughout North Bay.
  2. North Shore Rd. Bantam River Outlet Bridge looking down river and in close proximity to the bridge.
  3. Point Folly Observation Platform looking throughout the mouth of the outlet and points south and east towards Marsh Point.
  4. Point Folly Peninsula looking along Marsh Point, Deer Island, and southeast Bantam Lake shoreline.
  5. Point Folly/White Memorial Campground Store Parking Area looking west and south toward Deer Island.
  6. Keeler Cove for a short stop to look in the cove.
  7. CT DEEP Boat Launch, Morris, CT looking throughout South Bay.
  8. White Memorial Canoe Club, Van Winkle Rd., Morris looking further south and north into North Bay.
  9. Cemetery Pond, Litchfield counting from Whites Woods Rd.
  10. Little Pond Boardwalk counting birds throughout the pond.

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