Saturday, January 12, 2008


Our weather is sure screwed up! Now we have unseasonably (by a longshot) mild weather. We certainly started out with a cold winter. Last year it seamed the opposite. And what is with all these high winds? This is rather unhealthy for the natural environment.

For a birdwatcher, this is not good news. The mild weather causes birds to spread out and they become difficult to find it seems. Today this was exactly the case, as I drove around. They must be somewhere! Virtually nothing was on the St. Clair River to look at. Driving the back roads, a few Red-tailed Hawks were seen. An immature Northern Shrike was a decent find though. I saw several Kestrels, with one harassing a Red-tailed.

Being cooped up in a dusty shop all week, one needs to get out on the weekends. It is disappointing when not much is around to see. However, the sun was out today, and we have not seen much of that in the last month. At least it made it a nice day for a walk, and there was little wind for a change!

I ended up at Rondeau Park (no sense driving around endlessly and seeing very little!). Walking around the campground, there were a few chickadees, a handful of Cedar Waxwings, and some other common birds. The highlight was a group of five Field Sparrows taking advantage of the sun. I got a few shots of some of them. They may be a common summer bird, but they are a decent find in the winter. They usually associate with Tree Sparrows. (I saw no Tree Sparrows today, if you can believe that!). Sometimes you may also get a Chipping Sparrow with them. I always find Field Sparrows in Rondeau's campground every winter, and sometimes a chippie.

Several Red-bellied Woodpeckers were around the park as well. The resident Pileated Woodpeckers are rarely seen in winter. One wonders where they hide. I have not seen one since earlier in the fall.

Rondeau Bay is now completely open--extremely unusual for this time of year. Some ducks and geese were there, but I did not bother to scope them out. Most waterfowl left in early December due to the freeze up. Some coots and Ruddy Ducks are at Erieau--decent winter species.

Lots of gulls were out on the lake, but too far out to see details. They would likely be closer if we had more normal weather. There were hundreds at Erieau on the Bay ice last Sunday. Only the four usual species though, and no Slaty-backed (!).

I wonder where the Redpolls have gone to. I saw none today. Once again, it is easier to find them when it is cold. At least I still have siskins at the home feeder. Perhaps a couple of redpolls are around too, but I am never home during the day.

I thought of going to the east edge of Chatham-Kent (NOT!) to look for the Townsend's Solitaire that was reported on Thursday. Chances of finding it again are slim, but it is likely in the area. I have seen three of those in my life (found one), but not one in CK yet.

1 comment:

  1. Can you believe this mild winter? There have been a few times in Toronto now where I head outside bundled up only to have to start unzipping outer clothing to cool off a bit. It hasn't been good on the birds here, either. I went to High Park just outside of Toronto this past weekend and saw very little. I had a few Red-breasted Nuthatches (but they are always around the same spot where people feed them birdseed). No Redpolls this time and I STILL haven't gotten Pine Grosbeak yet! I was checking a lot of the gulls along the waterfront but just getting the regulars. The one great thing about Lake Ontario is the number of Long-tailed Duck though. I'll never get tired of their seemingly endless calls coming in off the lake.