It snowed all Monday night and into Tuesday morning, resulting in a total of 10 cm on the ground by the end of it all…enough to make us to break out the shovels for the first time and to really snarl the morning traffic. Even though it was relatively cold out, I stopped by Hurdman at lunch in between snow flurries. The sun was shining weakly through a thin layer of cloud, blue sky was visible in patches above, and I wanted to check the feeders and to see if the Hermit Thrush was around.
There was only one other set of footprints and one bike tread on the path through the woods, and these were already about an hour old. When I arrived at the first feeder I saw only a single chickadee there, despite a visible amount of food inside. Upon closer inspection I realized the seed had all frozen to the tray, preventing fresh seed from spilling out; I attempted to remove the frozen seed, first with my gloved fingers, then by knocking the feeder against the tree, to no avail. I dumped most of the seed out onto the ground for the birds and filled the tray with my own fresh seed mixture.
By this time the activity had caused more birds to fly in to investigate. More chickadees arrived, as did two beautiful male Northern Cardinals. Much shyer than the chickadees, the two cardinals waited in the shrubs and trees for me to finish. Even when I was done and backed up far enough not to scare the birds they refused to come to the feeder. One was in a good position so I took a few photos of him before leaving the feeder:
By the time I left, two more males had flown in with a single female for a total of five cardinals waiting for food….more than I have ever seen at one time! They looked almost like Christmas ornaments hanging in the shrubs.
I looked for the White-throated Sparrows by the niger seed feeder but came up empty in my search once again. The usual goldfinches and House Finches were present, and at the suet feeder I found a female Downy Woodpecker. At least one other Downy was in the same area, as was a Hairy Woodpecker.
I didn’t see the Hermit Thrush during my walk, and there were no mallards on the Rideau River, either. A thin shelf of ice is forming on both banks, though the river was moving swiftly. Four Common Goldeneyes were diving near the footbridge. I haven’t seen a Barrow’s Goldeneye on this section of the river yet; the male(s) seen earlier this fall are likely still at Riverain/Strathcona Park. Once of these lunch hours I will have to make my way there instead.