Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bird-a-Day:Another Work Week

After the Super Sunday Fish Crow tick it was another week of spotting a species after a full day of work. The days are getting slightly longer which allows me to extend my search for a bird that is not one of the 36 species already on my Bird-a-Day list.

Monday February 6

The building where I work is fairly close to 5th Avenue. It's a  stretch of road in west St. Catharines that I frequently check for a few FOY ticks. I can actually watch Canada Geese preparing to land in the fields surrounding the rural road. How long it will remain rural is not known but, for now, I'll look to this small patch of open land to observe Savannah Sparrow, Bobolink, Northern Harrier, Upland Sandpiper, and Horned Lark.

It's still too early for Bobolink and Savannah Sparrow so, after finishing work, Jean and I headed to 5th Avenue to look for larks. Two Northern Harriers were playing above the field south of the road but this raptor was ticked on January 11. North of the road is where I expected to find larks. The remains of last year's corn crop filled the field and we sat in the car listening for the flute-like song of the Horned Lark.

We soon heard their song and after a little searching and discounting of corn stalks blowing in the wind, Jean and I found 2 Horned Larks darting between clumps of soil.

Tuesday February 7

Another late afternoon search after work. This time I thought I would try a few feeders in the North Pelham area. The properties I check back onto Short Hills Provincial Park so there always the chance of something good showing up. You just have to be there at the right time and this day was not it. Bird activity at the 3 feeders was non-existent. I included the Roland Road entrance to Short Hills P.P. in my hunt but that was quiet as well. No chickadees, woodpeckers or nuthatches. A Mourning Dove spotted on a utility line as I left work would have to do.

Wednesday February 8

A different environment this time and the unlucky streak continued. I had to reluctantly use another ubiquitous species. The Mallards at the marina in Lakeside Park had no unusual associates. Sure there were American Black Ducks and Bufflehead but they were already ticked.

Thursday February 9

After two days in a row of using my safety net, I drove to the Falls after work to ensure the trend would not continue. I had visited there the previous week to find Hooded Merganser but the appearance of a surprise Pied-billed Grebe deferred the waterfowl tick.

Hooded Mergansers and Gadwalls were observed again in the hydro forebay.

I continued my stroll along the path looking for something out of the ordinary.

Not many gulls this late in the afternoon. While walking back along the pedestrian bridge, I spotted the Pied-billed Grebe I observed the previous week. The small grebe was not too keen on being looked at and dove every time I tried to view it through my bins.

Walking to the parking area in Dufferin Islands, I decided to go with Hooded Merganser. Hopefully the Gadwall stay and I'm able to find them during the next work week.

Friday February 10

Searching the Welland Canal below Lock 1 was not helpful at all. I really did not have time to walk along the trail on the east pier Friday evening so I continued my search at Jones Beach in Port Weller. Nothing on Lake Ontario. I slowly drove back up the road to leave the east-side of Port Weller when I heard the call of a woodpecker. From the road, I walked across the grass of Port Weller East Park and found the Picoides responsible. There, hammering away at a tree branch, was a Hairy Woodpecker. A nice save to end the work week.

Another weekend was here and a chance to find a species while acting as a tour guide in the Falls. When you're a birder, the binoculars are always at the ready.


  1. You're doing great, Bob! Hang in for a few more weeks; I'm pulling for you.

  2. Stuart, Thanks for your comments and support. A few more weeks may be tough but I think I have a good shot of extending the challenge into March at least.