And the sleeping muskrats could care less that a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice would soon be here.
Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels were observed in the morning and aside from a Cooper's Hawk at the start of our count we did not find any other raptors until after lunch. What we observed was dramatic. We spotted a large darkly coloured raptor standing in a field that we identified as a Rough-legged Hawk. Soon after identifying the welcomed addition to the section list, we observed a large female Red-tailed Hawk swoop in and land in front of the Rough-legged Hawk. A stand down ensued. A second Red-tailed Hawk joined the fracas but the Rough-legged Hawk would not be bullied. It stood its ground and the Red-tailed Hawks left to hunt elsewhere.
Other notable species observed in the afternoon included, American Robins (6), Horned Lark (4), Brown Creeper (1), White-breasted Nuthatch (3), Red-breasted Nuthatch (2) and at our last stop, a Tufted Titmouse visiting feeders we did not see last year. The feeders in the back yard of a residence were filled with birds hungry for seed. The homeowner was friendly and allowed us closer views of the feeders. This is a spot we will surely mark for visiting next year.
At the end of the day, we observed 29 species while covering 75+ kilometres of rural roads in our section. The winter list now stands at 41 species and we added 1 species to our year list. The next count for Jean and I will be the Niagara Falls (ON) CBC. Ron Pittaway has predicted an irruption year for Common Redpolls. The small finches were recently observed in Toronto. With a bit of luck, maybe we will spot one or two at some feeders in NOTL or even better, in our backyard from the comfort of the dining room.