Waxwing day

I see this month’s eBird challenge is patch related; visit your patch at least 20 times in February to qualify. You wonder whether they know that there is such a thing as winter in the north! Twenty visits are fine if you have a patch that has access all year, but when you are iced in from December through March and scratching around for an American Crow some days, well, I can’t see me hitting the pits 20 times this month, especially as I could only manage 13 visits in January!

We are in the midst of a frigid spell again, you can always tell when it gets snowy and icy, not just by the weather but also by the number of spin-offs between Hudson and the 40/20 split, I counted evidence of nine this morning. The birds are suffering by the low temps and this Common Redpoll sums up yesterday’s muckyness. Incidentally, this would be approaching Mealy Redpoll in plumage in Europe. I know people want to lump all redpolls but that is because they are crap birders that can’t be bothered to learn how to sort things out.

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The owl baiting debate continues to run hot and I still stand by what I said in an earlier blog post. Keith Crowley does a nice, balanced blog post here. It’s quite long but well worth working all the way through. Perhaps we should embrace baiting but regulate it, perhaps using a permit system (paid) along the duck stamp lines. We could even build into the system a set of ‘where and when guidelines’ to keep owls off the road, just a thought: https://lodgetrailmedia.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/of-mice-and-owls/

Recently there have been Bohemian Waxwings around our area. Wayne Grubert has been seeing them in the Hudson area and I’ve looked there a few times, finally finding a few on a dull day last week. Here is a link to Wayne’s shots. https://www.flickr.com/photos/98105147@N06/sets/72157650553087475/

Today I thought I’d go back for another try, it was lovely and bright and only the thermometer registering -23°C might had made me think twice. I’m glad I ignored it as I found around 250 birds along Montee Lavigne, just north of junction 17 of highway 40 on the continuation of route 201. The birds were feeding by the roadside and gritting when the road was quieter, although today it seemed busier than usual. I stayed with them for quite a while taking a million shots, here are a few of the better ones.

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Both Waxwings

We went out to St-Timothee today to look for the Great Horned Owl that nests amongst the Great Blue Herons but no luck. On the way we dropped into the pits where a little free water has developed and 30 Northern Pintail were taking advantage. With them were three Green-winged Teal and a single male Ring-necked Duck, all new for the pits this year.

After leaving St-Timothee we chanced upon a mixed flock of Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings hawking roadside insects. We parked up and had half an hour watching them. Below a few shots.