Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Odds Were in Our Favour

Saturday morning, Jean and I drove to Fenwick to view the Varied Thrush that had been coming to a feeder since January 6. The previous day had the bird visit the feeder 13 times and no birder left without a viewing. The odds were in our favour.

We arrived after 11:00 am, observing a few cars in the driveway but no birders in the yard. As per the instructions that accompanied the report, we approached the house, following two more birders that rang the back door bell. To our amazement we were greeted by the owner and graciously allowed into her home. After removing our boots and coats, the owner, Carole Chapman, informed us we could view the feeder from either the kitchen or living room windows. Could birding get any easier? There were about a dozen birders throughout the home, all hoping to catch a glimpse of the western bird. It had yet to make an appearance. A total of 29 birders would visit the feeder Saturday without observing the bird. Had the Varied Thrush moved on? Weather conditions were the same as the previous day. It was suggested the appearance of a Cooper's Hawk that morning scared the thrush away. Or has it simply moved to another feeder.

The feeder was not as active as it was on Friday but Jean and I added a few birds to the year list during the two hours we visited the home. Species included, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin and American Goldfinch.

Before leaving, Jean and I thanked owners Bill and Carole Chapman for their hospitality and soon discovered it is indeed a small world. Not only are the Chapmans friends with the previous owners of our house but also with the owner before them. A pine table in the home of a relative of the Chapman's was made from pieces of the barn sitting on our property. A yard in north St. Catharines we visited last year to observe a reported White-winged Dove, another unsuccessful tick, is a relative of the Chapmans!

Additions to the year list did not end at the feeder. En route home, an American Kestrel and Rough-legged Hawk were observed in North Pelham. Approaching Effingham, a flock of 50 Snow Buntings were seen flying and landing but not sitting long, in a field south of Sixteen Road.

The year list now sits at 19 and the Varied Thrush to be ticked another day.

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