Sunday, January 31, 2010

Field Trip Report - Saturday January 30th

Six birders braved the cold yesterday to take part in our field trip to the Bois de Liesse Nature Park. Early morning temperatures bottomed out at -22C and the breeze in open areas made it feel much colder. But the sun was shining and it definitely had a little warmth in it when a sheltered area could be found.

It was disappointing to discover that not only were many of the bird feeders in the park no longer being filled but they did not even exist! There were feeders near the two chalets but all the ones on the walking trail in between have been removed.

Despite the cold many of the birds seemed to be getting ready for spring, at least early in the morning. Male cardinals were singing and chasing each other, white-breasted nuthatches were calling their territorial song(?) and a few woodpeckers were drumming. Overwintering robins were present adding to the impression of an early spring day.

The highlight of the day came at the very end of the morning when three of the group tracked down some raucous crows along a little used trail and had sensational views of a quite tame, quite small and quite pale gray Great Horned Owl. He would not have been found without the help of the crows and even then blended in incredibly well with the bark of the large oak tree he was perched in.

The other highlights were a very friendly American Black Duck in the open stream near one of the bridges and very colourful views of male cardinals and house finches sharing the same feeder.

Our complete list of 15 species included: American Black Duck (Canard noir)- 1, Rock Pigeons (Pigeon biset)- 12, Mourning Dove (Touterelle triste)- 1, Great Horned Owl (Grand duc d'Amérique)- 1, Downy Woodpecker (Pic mineur)- 2 , Hairy Woodpecker (Pic chevelu)- 6, Blue Jay (Geai bleu)- 1, American Crow (Corneille d'Amérique)- 36, Black-capped Chickadee (Mésange à tête noir)- 25, White-breasted Nuthatch (Sittelle à Poitrine blanche)- 8, American Robin (Merle d'Amérique)- 30, European Starlings (Étourneau sansonnet)- 25, Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco ardoisé)- 5, Northern Cardinal (Cardinal rouge)- 8, House Finch (Roselin familier)- 15

As always, many thanks to those who came out. Hope all the fingers, toes and noses have thawed! - Wayne

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