Saturday, August 29, 2009

BPQ Field Trip to Cooper Marsh August 29th

The weather gods were fickle and the forecast discouraging, but I was still shocked at 8 a.m. sharp to turn into the parking lot at Cooper Marsh and see not a single vehicle or birder. A minute later, one car carrying two birders arrived for the total complement of 3 observers on
today's trip.

The weather was poor certainly, very windy and cool at 16 degrees Celsius, but amazingly there was no rain all morning.

The birds were hard to find. My overwhelming impression was of the utter absence of song, the only sounds a few chips from Song Sparrows and a chickadee call or two.

The wind was strong and flight fast so we had trouble getting on the birds, thus the missed solitary swallow (which was not a Barn); opinion was divided between Tree and Cliff.

Raptors saved the day. Two Ospreys, the Birds of the Day, obligingly perched on a snag, and the difference in size between female and male was easy to discern. There was a third Osprey on the other side of the marsh. Two female Northern Harriers could be counted even though seen
separately as the plumage of one was noticeably worn. A merlin flew past early, in the opposite direction to a Mourning Dove!

A Great Blue Heron standing on an osprey platform provided another visual highlight.

Flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds without an adult male anywhere to be seen lifted out of the marsh, sailed through the air in cascading
flight, and disappeared again.

My two companions carried on without me to the far trail and added 3 species to the list.

Thanks to them for a lovely morning . . . . I wouldn't have done this trip without them!

Species list below.


Great Blue Heron 2
American Bittern 1
Wood Duck 5
Mallard 8
Common Merganser 5
Osprey 3
Northern Harrier 2
Merlin 1
Ring-billed Gull 200
Mourning Dove 1
Belted Kingfisher 2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Northern Flicker 10
Swallow sp. 1
Cedar Waxwing 4
Black-capped Chickadee 3
American Crow 5
Blue Jay 1
American Goldfinch 1
Song Sparrow 4
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 180

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