Friday, January 9, 2009

A Slow Start to the Year

A little over a week has passed in a new year of birding and the year list is off to a slow start in comparison to 2008. A severe cold sidelined me and birds observed were limited to those seen from the dining room window and while standing in the backyard.

On New Year's Day, six species were easily ticked, the most interesting being a single Cooper's Hawk and a low flying Red-tailed Hawk. Not until January 8 did a seventh species appear, a small flock of European Starlings flying over the yard.

The observations of the Copper's Hawk have been interesting. Not one but two Cooper's were seen, one following the other, on two occasions. Once by myself and once by my wife. My wife Jean shares a similar passion for chasing down LIFER birds.

I find it odd that we have yet to see a Northern Cardinal visit our backyard feeder. The last observation occurred on December 21. Could it be the fact that a large section of the fence near the feeder is now missing? The missing fence, spooking the cardinal pair that frequent our feeder. Thanks to the high winds on December 28, 2/3 of the fence now lays on the ground. This is why I find myself standing out in the backyard to monitor the dogs as they go about their business. With the ground frozen, a new fence will have to wait until spring.

Tomorrow is the start of the weekend and both days will involve some birding. Saturday involves a short trip to Fenwick to attempt ticking a LIFER Varied Thrush. Fingers are crossed. The bird appears on the cover of the February 2009 issue of 'Birder's World' and viewing the recently reported Varied Thrush would be a great addition to the life and Ontario lists.

On Sunday, Jean and I will be assisting John Black with a duck count. That should help add a good number of birds to the year list.

Stay tuned to find the results of Saturday's hunt and Sunday's count.

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