On A Winter’s Morn

Juvenile Bald Eagle

Juvenile Bald Eagle

It snowed again yesterday. I went out early in the morning to try to find some gulls at the Trail Road Landfill but the white skies were spitting snow even as I left. I found three Red-tailed Hawks along Trail Road, several European Starlings, and at least 200 crows near the dump, but no gulls. Further along the road I saw a single Dark-eyed Junco and some chickadees. I then checked some of the back roads near Richmond and came up with a single Rough-legged Hawk flying over and a Snowy Owl perched on top of a telephone pole, both new for my winter list. I didn’t stay out too long because the snow was beginning to accumulate on the roads and visibility was poor.

The sun came out this morning, shining on snow-laden trees and glistening white fields. I drove out to Dunrobin to follow up on a report of several ravens and two Bald Eagles feeding on a deer carcass. I saw only one raven on Riddell Road, but out near Thomas Dolan I found two eagles: an adult being harassed by three ravens, and a juvenile slowly circling the skies. I managed to take one photo of the juvenile as it was soaring above my car. The only other birds of note were two Wild Turkeys perching in a crabapple tree on Herzberg Road.

After that I decided to head out into the woods. I was eager to go snowshoeing, and thought Jack Pine Trail would be a great place for a long walk even though the temperature was still only -13°C. The trails were already packed down from other people using them, so my snowshoes weren’t really necessary, but I enjoyed the exercise. The trees were all covered with snow, making for some stunning scenery.

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In many places the trees were bent over the trail beneath the weight of the snow, making walking upright difficult in some spots.

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I didn’t see many birds along the trail; two Downy Woodpeckers and one Hairy Woodpecker were enjoying the suet at the OFNC feeder, while three American Tree Sparrows were feeding on some seed left on the trail. I saw one cardinal, one Blue Jay, and one crow on my walk, while three White-breasted Nuthatches and over 60 chickadees came up to me looking for handouts.

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Mammals, too, were scarce; I only saw one red squirrel on my walk, and the only tracks I saw in the snow were a couple of sets of deer tracks. There were no signs of any porcupines or snowshoe hares, both of which can be found here. Still, it was a beautiful morning, and I enjoyed trekking through the woods, taking in the fresh air and snowy winter scenery.

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2 thoughts on “On A Winter’s Morn

  1. Very nice Gillian! Searched for “your” Snowy Owl today….no joy, BUT several gorgeous male Pine Grosbeaks were more than compensatory! 🙂

    Best to you & see you in the New Year!

    • Thanks Chris, and happy new year to you! I searched for the owl both yesterday and today. The Rough-legged Hawk was still in the same spot, but the Snowy Owl was gone. I also had a Northern Shrike today along Barnsdale near Cedarview, which was also new for my winter list! I am hoping that both the hawk and the shrike are still there tomorrow.

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