On Tuesday morning Ann and I ventured back to the Kawarthas once again, despite slippery roads. We almost turned back a few times, but stayed the course for some excellent birds by the end of the day.
Our first detour was to the village of Kendal where some Evening Grosbeaks had been reported the day before, but no luck. The winter scenery was spectacular, though, with this amazing ice fog hanging over the evergreens, but my death-grip on the steering wheel prevented us from safely stopping to capture the moment but imagine Ann hanging out of the car window like a true paparazzi snapping away!!
We arrived at the Lindsay airport and drove around the area looking for raptors, but were distracted by Dan's phone call telling us about some good must-see feeders in the area, so we forgave him kidding, Dan, you totally rock!!
We checked out the ice edges on Cameron Lake at Fenelon Falls for Bald Eagles, but no luck, so by now we were both starting to twitch a bit, but BOOM, that all changed as we drove around some country back roads and stumbled upon this handsome Barred Owl:
...a bait-free flight shot showing that yes, indeed, it is possible:
Relaxing in a tree with a great vantage point:
We were thrilled to watch this beautiful owl in the wild, it was Ann's second for the day, and my second for the week!
Our next stop was at Dan's suggestion, and what a good one it was. Kawarthan hospitality at its best, as the gentleman who owned the feeders came outside to greet us, inviting us to not only park in his driveway but to use his backyard to watch the birds, what a kind and generous fellow!
Oh, and did I mention that he was also armed with a huge hunk of pig fat (!!!) and a staple gun?
He stapled the pig fat to the tree, thus opening the doors to The Restaurant for the birds. Both Downey and Hairy Woodpeckers literally chewed the fat I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist that one, as did Black-capped Chickadees:
Ann and I watched the Downey Woodpeckers get downey and dirty wink wink nudge nudge in the trees, somuchso that Dan is now referring to us as Pornithologists- huh.
A Rusty Blackbird, no doubt the same one that had been included in their Christmas Bird Count last month, made an appearance too, what a great winter bird for my list:
But back to the pig fat on the tree: here's the
Pig Big Momma that certainly knew how to clear the place when she came in to chow down, a female Pileated Woodpecker:
...down the hatch:
We hit the road again after she stopped coming back to the fat my theory is that she found her boyfriend in the woods and was taking the lead from the Downeys, and our next stop was in the middle of nowhere, as per Dan's precise directions. We noticed an inordinate amount of Ravens in the area, but we were also hoping for eagles, Bald or Golden, Ann and I weren't choosy. Ann was out of the car ahead of me when another car pulled up beside her and it was Dan, who graciously arrived to help us locate anything of interest more of that Kawarthan hospitality!
The three of us drove around more back roads looking for eagles but no luck, and our final feeder stop with him was at another birder's home, but as it was getting on in the day, it was quiet, so Dan left for his appointment while Ann and I headed back for one final look at the Barred Owl. On our way there, this beautiful, nasty little Northern Shrike posed for us, neither of us had ever noticed the scaly marking on its breast, just beautiful:
For the benefit of my non-birding friends: when I say "nasty", it's for a very good reason, as this bird, with its hook-tipped bill, will take out insects, mice or small birds. I'll never forget the first time I saw one at the Leslie Street Spit attacking an American Robin, it was ugly! So don't be fooled by that innocent puffball look it has, it's hunting from that perch...
Further along the road, I saw the Barred Owl move out of the corner of my eye, what a great bird to end our day with before heading back home:
Many thanks to Dan and John, as well as the "pig fat" feeder gentleman for sharing your special birds with Ann and I. In fact we enjoyed it so much that we're carrying out our threat to return back up there next week, so brace yourselves!!