Deb and I have been going out birding nearly every weekend. At the beginning of February we took a drive out to the east end where we found a flock of Snow Buntings on Giroux Road together with a single Horned Lark – a new bird for my winter list. The Snow Buntings were the first ones I’d seen in the Ottawa area – we had some at Amherst Island in January – and when they landed on top of a telephone wire I rolled the window down and took a few pictures.
When Luck meets Birding
A successful birding outing depends on two things: knowing where to go, and luck – the kind of luck that comes from being in the right place at the right time. The last time I went birding with Deb, we went to the right places but missed just about every bird we were looking for. There is nothing more discouraging when birding, particularly in the winter when there aren’t many birds around to begin with and there are no butterflies, dragonflies or reptiles to make the outings more interesting. Too many outings like these and it becomes tempting to put away the binoculars until spring.
Fortunately, Deb and I had the complete opposite experience on Sunday. It was bitterly cold when we met at 8:00; it was a good thing I didn’t check the temperature before I left home, otherwise the -19°C temperature might have tempted me to stay at home in bed!
Deb and I went birding again yesterday. The sun was shining, the weather was mild, and the snow from our previous outing had completely vanished. We started the day out in the east end, hoping to see a Cattle Egret which had been present in a field along Milton Road for at least three days. It was gone, as were the American Pipits from our previous outing, but a flock of about 20 Wild Turkeys, a pair of Red-tailed Hawks (one noticeably bigger than the other) sitting on the same branch of a tree, and the Sandhill Cranes helped to make up for the absence of the egret. Unlike our previous outing two weeks ago, there were no Northern Harriers, Rough-legged Hawks or Horned Larks to be seen. At the Giroux Quarry we found a pair of Common Mergansers and several Green-winged Teals.