Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Feeder Viewing

Over Christmas, time was spent with family and friends but we managed a few minutes of birding here and there while travelling along rural roads in the Niagara Region.

After sharing Christmas morning with my brother-in-law's family, Jean and I stopped at a few feeders we have become quite familiar with when returning to St. Catharines from Welland. The feeders are always full of seed in the winter months and attract a variety of species. The first feeder we stopped at though was new to us. We were informed of the location during the St. Catharines CBC round up and that the spot can be relied on for observing redpolls. The feeders are located on the property of a private residence near St. John's Conservation Area, a wooded area we can count on to tick Scarlet Tanager every year. Now that I've said that, we will not find them in 2011. No redpolls but we did get a Christmas surprise. Feeding on the seed scattered below the feeder was an Eastern Towhee, a species that does not appear on our winter list year after year.

At the feeders near Short Hills Provincial Park, we added White-throated Sparrow to the 2010/2011 winter list. For the second year in a row, we have observed Wild Turkeys roaming the property in the valley, south of the park. We continued along Roland Road and Jean's suspicions were correct, I was searching for the Northern Shrike seen in the Hawthorns during last year's St. Catharines CBC. No shrike or any birds for that matter so we tried one last feeder location before leaving the Town of Pelham. More American Tree Sparrows, House Sparrows and Northern Cardinals. But once again, no redpolls.

On Boxing Day we birded along 5th Avenue en route to our friends' home. The open fields were snowy and barren. At a culvert that crosses a ditch, I pished, that's "pished", thinking it would attract the attention of a member of the sparrow family. No Song Sparrow but a female Northern Harrier was flushed from the weeds in the ditch. Further west along the road, we stopped to view some feeders that sit on the back deck of a residence. From the car we can observe birds visiting the feeders and hiding in the brush along the roadside. We found many House Sparrows, a few Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays and a lone Red-winged Blackbird, another addition to this season's winter list.

Upon returning home, it was time to relax. The next day we would be birding areas in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the Niagara Falls CBC.

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