It is also prime time for eagle migration, especially Golden Eagles. I hoped that with the wide open skies, my chances of spotting one, and possibly even getting a photo, would be good. So off I went.
Given the beautiful day, there were very few people on the trail.....a total of 6 people and two dogs over the space of about three hours. Two people per hour was okay by me, so as to give me more of a chance to see the wildlife. Perhaps the very cool breezes off Rondeau Bay were not enticing to many folks, and the ones in the park this day stuck to more sheltered trails.
Song birds were quite few. I noted a few sparrows and juncos, including this first year White-crowned Sparrow.
A Sharp-shinned Hawk zipped by.
Golden Eagles were not to be seen, but both resident Bald Eagles were perched in one of their usual spots a few hundred metres from their nest tree.
A mink scampered across the trail 50 metres or so in front of me, but it was not spending any more time than necessary out in the open. I stood still and squeaked and pished, hoping to convince it that a mouse or a rabbit was injured and it would come to investigate, hoping for an easy meal and giving me an opportunity to photograph it. However this large member of the weasel family ignored my attempts, and thus I was left only with a memory of it registered in my brain cells, rather than in a series of pixels in the digital realm.
I came across an 'orange' tree! It wasn't going anywhere.
On the return, this Northern Harrier floated by fairly quickly, and I only had time for a quick shot before it headed into even more challenging light.
And several small flocks of Tundra Swans were winging high overhead.....and heading north! They have been building in numbers gradually over the last couple of weeks, with most of the population yet to arrive before heading southeast to spend the winter at Chesapeake Bay. Maybe they were really just heading inland to feed in recently harvested soybean or corn fields, and the wind turbulence was less problematic for them at a higher altitude.
I checked part of the campground before leaving, since there is a nice mix of shrubbery amidst the planted conifers and deciduous trees. The fruit of the Red Cedar isn't as plentiful as it was last year, but there were still birds around. Lots of robins, starlings and a few kinglets. I was hoping for Fox Sparrow but didn't find one. There were the usual Song Sparrows and juncos. I spotted at least six Yellow-rumped Warblers, a single Blue-headed Vireo and two Red-breasted Nuthatches. The vireo didn't cooperate for the camera.