Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Little Winter Birding

A couple posts back I mentioned how February can be a bit of a black hole for me in terms of birding. A milder than usual winter and the arrival of some new binoculars however provided just the right amount of impetus to head outdoors.  I decided to check out a trail I usually only take once the snow melts.  Its actually been quite awhile since I'd walked it.  I wasn't sure what to expect, though the ground conditions were pretty decent.  And the lack of foliage provided a pretty decent view of the river valley.

I walked several hundred yards before I even saw anything.  The crunch of the snow under my boots loudly announced my presence.  Once I reached the lip of the valley I started stopping along the path to give a good listen in the hopes that I wouldn't spook any anything.  Eventually, this started to pay dividends.

I expected to see a couple species of woodpeckers but other than the ubiquitous raven and a couple of blue jays, the forest instead seemed to be alive with quite a few boreal chickadees and black-capped chickadees.  This little guy was pretty brave as he fluttered right by my head and even perched long enough to allow me a half-decent photo for once.

I ended up doing perhaps half the trail before turning back once it started to get a bit cold on the face. The binoculars work like a charm too, I should add....fairly light and easy to grip. A big change from the old clunky pair I had before. In any event I found I didn't need them all that much given that I had great sight lines and I saw species that I could readily identify as they are all pretty common for this time of year here. So all told 5 species sighted, 2 of which were first sightings for the year.

1. Common Raven
2. Black-billed Magpie
3. Blue Jay
4. Boreal Chickadee
5. Black-capped Chickadee


Angelina Pratt said...

I love that the Chickadee always sings to anyone listening who they are. Unlike the egotistical blue Jay who screeches loudly that he is nearby. lol However, both are beautiful birds. :)

Way Way Up said...

I find them to be very inquisitive and brave for their size. It isn't often that I get a bird of any species flying mere inches from my head. And yes, those Jays definitely like to announce themselves. The forest was pretty quiet and I could hear a jay from somewhere on the opposite site of the valley calling for the one that I sighted.