Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

April snow showers.......

.....are tough for wildlife, but great for birders and photographers! Accumulating snowfall this late in April does not happen often, which is fortunate for the wildlife that has to endure it. But I look forward to it. When this happens, I purposefully go to Rondeau to check out what is hanging out along the roadsides. The forest floor is mostly covered with snow, but the road sides are partially clear, which is a magnet for birds. On Tuesday this week my wife (Marie) and I went to Rondeau. The snowy forest landscape was worth the trip in itself. With the sloughs all free of ice, it is a black-and-white world for the most part.

Bennett Ave slough

Bennett Ave slough

Black Oak savanna

As mentioned, the road bed and sides are mostly free of snow, and birds were concentrated along the several kilometres of drive-able roads. I must admit, this is kind of lazy birding/photographing, when you can just creep slowly along in the vehicle and use it as a blind to approach the birds.

Rondeau Road

All told, I estimated I saw more than 120 American Robins, 40+ Hermit Thrush, 40+ Dark-eyed Juncos, 36+ Chipping Sparrows, 10 Song Sparrows, 6 Field Sparrows, 4 Fox Sparrows, 2 Eastern Towhees, 1 Brown Thrasher, 2 Eastern Phoebes, 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 4 Mourning Doves, 12 Red-winged Blackbirds, 4 Common Grackles, 6 American Tree Sparrows, 7 Northern Flickers, 3 White-throated Sparrows, 2 Killdeer, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 1 American Pipit and 5 House Sparrows. I had half-expected to also see American Woodcock and Eastern Bluebird, but it wasn't to be on this day. One time a few years ago, I saw a Belted Kingfisher sitting at the edge of the road over a melting puddle of snow!

And just as much fun was getting a few photos. The light was cloudy bright, but the contrasting conditions when the birds were in the snow, which was most of the time, was a bit challenging. The birds often flushed up into the nearby shrubbery, which played havoc with the camera's auto-focus.

White-throated Sparrow

American Robin

Brown Thrasher

Chipping Sparrow

Eastern Towhee

A Cooper's Hawk thought it was a good place to go birding as well, but for a different reason than I did. This adult flew in, sat on a limb over the road, then moved lower to a nearby wire before pouncing on what appeared to be a Hermit Thrush.

Cooper's Hawk



A couple of Hermit Thrushes that didn't get plucked for dinner, at least not yet.



Northern Flicker

Killdeer

A Killdeer isn't normally a forest/roadside species, but it was on this day. And this critter below did not fall victim to the 'killdeer'.


The snow didn't last, of course, and hopefully we have all seen the last of the white stuff for this season!

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