Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fleeting Ticks

During the seventh week of my Bird-A-Day challenge there was little time for birding. I had more important things to attend to and species set aside for such a day went quickly. From Monday to Thursday, I ticked Mallard, Rock Pigeon, House Sparrow and Canada Goose. On Friday, I was awarded a gift for my patience earlier in the week. While sitting at a traffic light on my way home, a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over the front of my vehicle and by the look it gave me, it appeared the small accipiter knew I needed this tick. Thanks Sharpie.

Another weekend but this time, I had an extra day. The provincial holiday, known as 'Family Day' would give some additional spare time to actively search for a species that I do not come across every day.

On the 19th, I visited the feeders on the Merritt Trail and observed a Red-bellied Woodpecker in the trees beside the gravel path. The next day, I travelled to the Upper Niagara River. I had still not ticked Tundra Swan and I was certain this would be a no hassle tick. With the recent thaw, I thought the section of river near Miller's Creek would be free of ice. Well, it was definitely clear of ice. But to my surprise, there were only two swans present.

Mute Swans.

Was I too late? Had the Tundras left Niagara? From the roadside, I looked at the waterfowl on the river and found two species that I could use for my challenge. After choosing Redhead over Greater Scaup, I attempted a bit of digiscoping.

Heading back to St. Catharines, I thought of places that I could visit on the holiday Monday. Not only would it have to produce a species that was not already on the Bird-A-Day list, it would have to be a spot that involved a minimum amount of travel. With no spares left, my days just might be numbered.

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