I went to Hurdman on Tuesday for the first time in over a week and was surprised by the number of Common Redpolls that had descended on the area during my absence. I heard them as soon as I entered the small woodland path, and when I reached the feeders I observed at least fifty or sixty of them in the area, either sitting on the two feeders, feeding on the ground, or waiting their turn in the trees. They greatly outnumbered the chickadees and House Finches; I don’t think I saw or heard 20 individual House Finches, when normally there are at least 50 around the feeders at any given time. There were fewer goldfinches around, too, although I’m not sure whether this is due to them spreading out now that spring is imminent, of if they have been pushed out by all the redpolls. In any event, it was fun to watch the small, energetic redpolls flitting about, and they certainly afforded me with plenty of opportunities to capture them with my camera!
A single male Downy Woodpecker was also in the area, sharing the suet feeder with the chickadees. The Hermit Thrush put in an appearance as well, although he only stopped briefly to pick up some suet from the ground before flying off again. Is it me or have the spots on his chest gotten darker since he first showed up in December?
I checked out the river briefly. Although there is now a great deal of open water just south of the footbridge, only a single female Common Goldeneye was floating along the current. The usual mallards were hanging out by the 417 bridge. The water level is really high right now, and I’m sure it won’t take long for the rest of the ice to break up. A number of gulls – most likely Ring-billed Gulls – flew by overhead, though none landed along this stretch of the river. While walking back toward the feeders I heard two Canada Geese honking as they flew upriver, although I was no longer in view of the water and didn’t actually see them. There were no signs yet of any Red-winged Blackbirds, robins or grackles, though I expect them to arrive at Hurdman any day now!