Some early comparisons between January 2013 and 2014 suggest why long-term surveys are so useful.
Winter of 2013 began mild and then snow began to pile up in February, while 2014 began very cold, with virtually no open water and some snow pack. In January 2013, with a lot of open water, an irruption year for finches, and some lingering passerines, we had:
The amazing, continuing Rufous hummingbird, which lasted through Jan. 8
Wood duck, green-winged teal, bufflehead, mute swan
Common Yellowthroat, palm, pine, chipping sparrow, savannah, winter wren
Pine siskin, white-winged crossbill, pine grosbeak
|Common Mergansers in the Assabet River, West Concord|
This January we have missed all but the real cold water ducks, haven't had a winter wren yet or a barred owl, no red-breasted nuthatches, and only one reported redpoll. But birds we did not have last January are equally interesting:
Snowy and Short-eared owl (Hanscom, this year's bonus birds in early January)
Hermit thrush (numerous sightings)
Great Cormorant (amazing fly-over sighting at Hanscom)
Merlin (an active bird around Kaveski; we did finally see a Merlin in Feb. 2013)
Nevertheless, even though reporting is down a bit from a year ago, the current totals are similar (2014/2013): 73/75 by February.