Saturday, February 16, 2008

Perfect Birding Day

Today was one of those rare days when the weather was perfect. Lots of sun (not a cloud in the sky), no wind, and not too cold. I chose to go to Rondeau Park for a walk. I have been getting "cabin fever" lately, so today came along at the right time.

I started at the campground, and the first bird I looked at was a Merlin! That is a decent bird for the winter. I even got a photo.
Other birds in the campground included a Red-tailed Hawk, several Cedar Waxwings, a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers, a few Purple Finches, and a couple of Tufted Titmice. These are all wintering birds expected in the campground.

My next walk was on south point trail where I found a large number of American Crows. We do not usually get lots of crows at the south end of the park. Several Downy Woodpeckers, a couple of Hairy and a couple of Red-bellied Woodpeckers were tapping away. A sizable flock of Tree Sparrows were among the weeds in the open area.
Off Erieau were hundreds of Canada Geese and Tundra Swans, but these were way out on the lake. Everything is iced in anywhere near shore, so no open water is available. The adjacent photo shows an ice formation I found a year ago off Rondeau's south point trail. It was one of the most unique formations I have ever found.

On the way home, I decided to check for the Harris's Sparrow, and I got lucky. The birds (mostly White-crowned Sparrows) were feeding at the compost pile, or were sitting in the nearby cedars. The Harris's was in the cedars affording a good view.
We have not had too many Harris's Sparrows around Rondeau. The last one I saw was in May at the park's visitor centre in mid May 1996. There was one on a Christmas Bird Count a few years after that, but I did not see that one. The first one I ever saw was one right here in Wallaceburg in May 1990 coming to a friend's feeder!There are a large number of White-crowned Sparrows wintering at the compost pile. There are several cedar tree lines in the area in which they take cover. I find that any significant coniferous tree line in our area seems to harbour White-crowned Sparrows and others during the winter. There are certain spots we check on CBC's that are always reliable for these uncommon winter birds.It was nice to see some decent birds and decent weather today. Lately there has not been many birds to find, and the weather has been terrible anyway.

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