Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Plus One

January 31

It was the last day of January and I set some time aside for a final attempt to add birds to the January list. The previous day Jean and I ticked 11 species, setting a new total for the list. Rather than rest on my laurels, I thought it would be worthwhile to add a couple more species. This would make next year's list all the more challenging.

There was one bird still remaining off the list that we should have ticked by now. A Mute Swan. Yeah, hard to believe. A pair can usually be found in Port Dalhousie but the two times we were there earlier this year, no Mutes.

Thinking it would warm up a few degrees, I left our hunt until the afternoon. Well, that didn't happen. It was still bloody cold. Our first stop was Jaycee Park on the south side of Martindale Pond. The pond was mostly ice and I used the scope to scan the open water near Rennie Park in Port Dalhouise. Only Canada Geese, Ring-billed Gulls and frozen chickens being tossed across the ice (And they think birders are odd!).

At the marina in Port Dalhousie (Martindale Pond empties into Lake Ontario here) similar results to our visit during the duck count. No Mute Swans.

There was another open body of water that could possibly produce the swans. Up to my home town of Thorold we would go. The waters of Lake Gibson are channeled to the Decew Hydro Generating station and a few spots remain open during the winter months.

Looking south of Beaverdams Road we found our quarry. A pair of Mute Swans.

Further south on this section of the lake we spotted a third Mute Swan. We then walked along the old railway line on the causeway to get a view of the open waters north of the road. More swans but this time a pair of Tundra with a juvenile. A few more species were observed during our time in Thorold but only the bird I sought was added to the regional list.

With birding officially done for the month of January, Jean and I observed a total of 57 species within the region of Niagara. A new personal best. Having missed a Bonaparte's and Little Gull, I know it is feasible to obtain 60+ species next year. I already have my itinerary mapped out in my head. In addition to continuing the tradition of a January regional list I will also take on the Bird-A-Day challenge. Yes, the lists are ever growing.

Basically one bird is added to the list per day, no repeats or skipping days allowed. Looking at my lists from this year, the Bird-A-Day challenge would have quickly ended on the 4th of January.

January 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
January 2 Northern Cardinal
January 3 American Tree Sparrow

I did not enter any lists on eBird Canada for January 4 but I did see House Sparrows as they waited for me to fill the feeder in the back yard. No further lists until January 9. Looks like I skipped a few days so obviously I'm out.

I'll be prepared next year. Who knows, may be I'll even keep pace with a certain Carolinian birder that has yet to miss a day.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I may have yet to miss a day, but I can't see myself making it through February.