Totally captivated in 2007 by the live camera feed of the Hornby Island nesting Bald Eagles in B.C., I was drawn into birding and have never looked back. Thus begins my account of what I'm fortunate enough to discover each day and perhaps capture with my camera.

Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by and are the property of Janice Melendez

Species Counts:

2014 Final Year List: 255; 2015 Year List a/o June 5, 2015: 235; Life List: 327

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Back Roading in Pickering

On Saturday, January 5th, eighteen Pickering Naturalists enjoyed thirty-two different species of birds while back roading in Pickering for our annual Feeder Tour, one of our most popular outings.

Forget the Year of the Dragon or Snake, this certainly is the Year of the Finch as one of our best feeder stops was in Greenwood where we enjoyed numerous Common Redpolls, such pretty little finches with their red caps and varying degrees of streaking:

Although photographic proof eluded me, we were fairly certain of a Hoary Redpoll amongst the Commons.  Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches were plentiful with the occasional House Finch, and along the same road we even encountered an American Robin.

The Pine Siskins outnumbered the Redpolls on the feeder at times:

I recall Redpoll droughts on prior years' outings, but for sure this year, everyone enjoyed excellent views of Common Redpolls:

Whitevale Road was another rewarding area for us where an impromptu stop to get better views of an American Kestrel resulted in a bonus pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers, as were some unexpected Eastern Bluebirds that moved back and forth from the hydro lines to a thicket below.

We stopped in at Betty Pegg's home in Claremont for a visit where warm beverages and baking greeted us...

...followed by a visit to Brouwer's for the most colourful and exotic and uncountable species of the day:

As always, the highlight of the day was our final stop at Rosemary and Jonathan Oliver's beautiful home overlooking the Rouge River. Talk about stocked feeders with plenty of feathered and furry visitors! Their Red-bellied, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers were frequently seen coming in and out to the feeders, as were American Goldfinches, House Finches, White-throated and American Tree Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Northern Cardinals, a plump Eastern Grey Squirrel, a Red-tailed Hawk that surveyed the area every so often, along with a Sharp-shinned Hawk that knew how to break up a party as it whipped through the area, retuning later to perch on a snag checking out the menu at the feeders:

A Northern Flicker was a major coup for the Winter Listers amongst us as we cheered in unison when it appeared we scare ourselves sometimes :

There was even an unexpected discovery of a Jones glendaialis species (aka "Glenda")  late in the day at the Oliver's! Truth be known, she was there for the view, the birds, the hospitality, the home baked sweets, treats and fresh soup, and of course the camaraderie of nature lovers.

Many thanks to Rosemary and Jonathan for once again opening up their elegant doors to us, as I suspect it's what kept all of us motivated throughout the wintry day, knowing exactly where we would wrap up our tour for the day. 

It's always a challenge each year to find worthwhile feeders that are well-stocked with seed to bring in the birds, so a huge thanks to John and Doug for scouting out the back roads ahead of the day to streamline the route for us.

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