...so here's the deal: I have gone so far over to The Dark Side that I'm now maintaining a winter bird list of any birds that I see in December, January, and February. This is what we do.
Yesterday's snow squalls have
driven me into hibernation mode put me into a marvellously festive mood, so much so that the extra hour it takes me to get bundled up in winter gear Ann: bite me! no longer upsets me. Even if it means I spend hours in the cold and wind to see nothing new, I'm just fine with that my meds have obviously kicked in, shhhhhh.
So to ensure my Winter List was ahead of Master John's heheh, I spent Saturday morning with the TOC at Humber Bay Park, and it was another great outing led by Dave Milsom. Here's a view of the city from the park:
The highlights from the morning included several Hooded Mergansers, Mute Swans, Gadwall, Mallards, a Song Sparrow, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and Black-crowned Night-Herons flying overhead, here's just one of them:
As expected, Long-tailed Ducks were out on the lake, the female on the left is trying to keep up with the boys:
It almost looks like white icing has been drizzled along the backs of these males. I adore these birds, so expect lots more close-up photos of them think HOODED MERGANSER! over the next few months, consider yourself warned:
Here we all are under a bridge, at the foot of the Humber River, in fact Lakeshore Road, to get better views of whatever. We added a Belted Kingfisher to our list- make that winter List. Another Check, whoohooo! But this also proves, once again, that THIS IS WHAT WE DO.
A beautiful Red-tailed Hawk flew overhead and checked us out as we returned to our cars:
The west side of Humber Bay Park saw
extensive goober marks on my bins from the the dogs in the off-leash park Long-tailed Ducks, Greater Scaup, and Redhead:
At this point I decided to leave the group and hit the Leslie Street Spit as it had been almost eighteen months since my last visit there. Plus I was feeling pumped and energetic to add to my Winter List:
not disappointed: it was dead, dead, dead. What a total tragedy that I didn't run into Norm Murr, as I certainly would have done better than chickadees, and yup, more Long-tailed Ducks:
In the end I calculated that I probably walked at least ten kilometres, armed with sixty pounds of equipment, i.e. my scope, my camera, and my binos, to see virtually nothing:
This photo is included as proof that I WAS THERE, as well as to somehow justify schlepping all of my equipment that distance. Notice no birds whatsoever, despite Ian Cannell tempting me with owls and shrikes, grrrrr:
Another "I-was-there" shot of the cormorant trees:
Thank goodness I made it back to my car before they locked me in for the night!! I returned home to Whitby, stopping in at the harbour for the reported female Harlequin (another Dip for the day), only to freeze what-was-left-of-my-butt off in the company of a Common Loon out on the lake, and a closer Red-breasted Merganser:
But that's ok, I was somewhat on my way with my Winter List, despite being crippled from walking so far with so much on my shoulders.
But things turned the corner on Sunday, Master John
tossed me a bone e-mailed me with news of a reported King Eider off of Thickson's Point, amongst thousands of Greater Scaup. I was in, as Robert was out, so I braved the snow squalls and fortunately arrived in time to find Dan and Betsy still there to locate this first winter male for me. Alas, no photos as he was so far out, but he was identical to David Sibley's sketch on page 83. A Lifer, a Year Bird, and a Winter Bird to boot, my aches and pains from the day before began to heal!
Today I returned to Thickson's Point at 9:00 a.m. but was unable to re-locate the King Eider, but scooted over to Whitby harbour once again in search of the female Harlequin Duck. Jim arrived shortly after I did, and sure enough, there she was, braving and coping with the elements much better than we were able to:
So my Winter List now stands at forty-three species, but no doubt Master John will kick my
frozen butt soon enough!