Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bird-A-Day Challenge: A Week of Alternatives

During the week of January 10, it was back to ticking a bird species for my Bird-A-Day challenge after a full day's work. At times it was nerve wracking but I managed to survive the obstacles thrown at me during the work week.

On the Monday I planned to head to Lake Moodie on top of the Niagara Escarpment with hopes of making a selection from the waterfowl found on New Year's Day. Unfortunately, a road block occurred. I had to travel in the opposite direction on a work related errand. Rather than back track and lose valuable daylight as I travelled, I continued heading north towards Lake Ontario. Hopefully some waterfowl seen from the west pier during the duck count were chill'n in the Welland Canal below Lock One. No such luck but I scanned the distant birds as I looked down the canal towards the lake and waited until a Double-crested Cormorant popped out from the bank. The warm waters from the nearby sewage treatment plant attracts a number of cormorants that lack the intelligence to head south for the winter months.

No errands on Tuesday so I was able to stop at Lake Moodie. Went with the American Tree Sparrow that popped out of the brush after some pishing. I was hoping for Golden-crowned Kinglet. I returned to the man-made lake on Wednesday and ticked Common Merganser. On the Thursday, it looked as though the Mute Swan observed on Lake Moodie was the choice for the 13th but with less than 200 metres to reach my home the birding gods shined on me. A Cooper's Hawk, carrying prey, flew over the car and headed for the trees near my home. I was able to get additional views of the accipiter from the driveway.

The work week ended with celebrating my mom's birthday so a Mourning Dove spotted on the way home before heading out for dinner was the best of choice of the limited options.

On the Saturday, Jean and I birded at two spots along 12 Mile Creek. At the marina in Port Dalhousie there were a number of waterfowl to chose from. The usual hybrids were present as well. The hybrid Mallard we nicknamed "Blondie" has been a fixture for 2-3 years.

"Sylvester", another unusual hybrid, is new to the Dalhousie Yacht Club.

It appeared Canvasback was to be the tick for the 15th or possibly, American Coot.

But before writing the chosen species in my little notebook, we headed upstream from Martindale Pond and Port Dalhousie to the Merritt Trail.

From the trail we observed the feeders in the adjacent yards of the condo community that overlooks the valley of 12 Mile Creek.

Downy Woodpecker and Mourning Dove are on the list.

Two more choices for the day though. Hairy Woodpecker and Pine Siskin. It was time to decide. Waterfowl are always at Port Dalhousie so I went with Pine Siskin. There were no guarantees I would have another observation of this small finch species.

The third week of my challenge did not start well. Birding from the yard lacked the variety needed and I had to settle for American Crow. Another work week was here and I planned on stopping at the marina the next few days. Those ducks had better be there.

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