Birding in late October

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow

Today I started the morning off at the Richmond Lagoons. It was another gray, overcast day, making me wonder what had happened to our beautiful fall weather – lately there have been more cloudy days than clear ones, and more rain than sun. With the gray, cheerless month of November and a bleak winter ahead, I was hoping that at least October would be sunny and warm.

The dark day made waterfowl viewing conditions at the lagoons less than ideal. Still, I managed to pick out three female Northern Pintails from the group, and noticed a large number of Green-winged Teals. The only other noteworthy species was an Eastern Phoebe perching on low branches above the water, bobbing its tail while it waited for insects to fly within range.


From there I drove over to the Moodie Drive Quarries where I saw my first Red-breasted Merganser of the season. Normally I see these beautiful birds along the river at Dick Bell Park or Shirley’s Bay. Hooded Mergansers and Ring-necked Ducks were also present.

My last stop of the day was Sarsaparilla Trail. I saw many of the same species from last weekend, including a pair of Hooded Mergansers (a female and male this time), one Fox Sparrow, four Red-breasted Nuthatches, four juncos and a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow, possibly the same one from last weekend. He was eating seeds on the trail just beyond the parking lot.

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow

It was a quieter day than I had hoped; there were fewer species around to photograph, and I took hardly any photos of the ones that I saw because many of the birds were too far away (such as at the lagoons), and because the light was so bad. With any luck, the gray skies will clear up soon and we’ll have some nice fall days before winter arrives.

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