Melanie and I originally intended to spend the early part of the morning at the Champlain Lookout and Pink Lake in Gatineau Park, but as the only road up to these two places was closed to vehicular traffic until 11:00 a.m., we decided to make the drive to Luskville Falls instead.
This strategy didn’t pay off. Even though there were few people on the trail, I didn’t see any mammals other than squirrels. There were lots of deer tracks and even some Snowshoe Hare tracks, but no sign of the animals themselves. The diversity of birds was better: one Mourning Dove, a Downy Woodpecker, and two male Cardinals were all in the vicinity of the OFNC feeder; along the trail I encountered about four Blue Jays, both nuthatches, and a pair of juncos.
I couldn’t let New Year’s Day pass without going out and attempting to find some birds for my brand new year list. My plan was to head south along Eagleson and Moodie to look for hawks and gulls and Snow Buntings, but as the day was incredibly foggy I had to give up the idea of birding in any open areas. Instead, I stopped in at the Eagleson Ponds, where I found a couple of House Finches, about ten mallards, and one Canada Goose…an excellent start to the year.
Next I went to the Jack Pine Trail, figuring the fog wouldn’t be as bad in the woods. There I found a couple of Blue Jays feeding on some peanuts near the parking lot and a single Mourning Dove by the large OFNC feeder. I was very surprised not to see or hear a single chickadee or nuthatch along the way, and as I continued down the trail I soon discovered why. While walking toward the back of the trail a large, grayish hawk flew up off the ground almost right in front of me, landing on a fallen tree not too far away. Fortunately he was quite visible from where I stood on the trail, allowing me good look at his long tail, the dark cap on his head and bright white supercilium. There was no doubt in my mind that it was an adult Northern Goshawk. Not only was the goshawk only the eighth bird on my year list, it was my first life bird of the year!