I was lucky enough to have today off from work in lieu of working New Year's Eve Day... at least I think that is why we had today off (Jan 4th).
I debated on going out since it was to be -20c with the wind chill factor. After getting a few chores done, I said "go for it!"
I even surprised myself as I went out twice today, both places approximately 90 minutes each.
First off was High Park and Grenadier Pond. The water is freezing up nicely with the deep freeze... but that meant no water fowl, who are probably down along the shores of Lake Ontario, where it's not frozen.
I then went further along to some old fave spots... and I don't think what I saw, I will ever get used to seeing... American Robins still here through the winter. As I said in the past, "they aren't the sign of Spring anymore". There was a massive amount in this one area, and more flying in. A number of Juniper trees are here, still full of Juniper berries, which they were all feasting upon. I do hope there is enough berries to carry them through the next couple months.
A large Hawk flew overhead and everybody scattered. Unfortunately I could not identify the predator.
I headed back to the area near where I parked the car. There was a lot of bird noises from the bush along the walkway. I had heard Chickadees, Cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Dark Eyed Juncos, White Breasted Nuthatches and Red Breasted Nuthatches, American Gold Finches along with some Sparrow species. This is just me hearing them... birds I am very familiar with since I see them daily in my backyard. So my hearing and memory served me well as I saw all species listed.
This stretch of walk is a great place for those who admire our furry and feathered friends. People often place seed along the fence posts and the birds come regularly to feed... or check if food has been placed. What's really cool is when you may see post after post after post with birds and Squirrels on them at the same time!
It's nice to see everyone get along during these brutally cold days... one more shot of proof to this.
Chickadees are in large numbers at High Park and I was able to have one land into my hand for seed.
I also spotted 3 pairs of Cardinals. The females were difficult to find within the branches on this grey morning with snow flurries. I managed to photograph this one sitting quite close to where I was...
Almost an hour and a half in the park and I saw so many birds... not bad for a -20c day in January.
I hit home for lunch and then off I went again... this time to Lambton Woods which is minutes from home. Another hour went by, many birds seen and a rare one (for me anyways). Oh, also, part of this visit I made it a must to get one really great shot of a male Northern Cardinal for our 2011 calendar. That red bird, with the snow... great winter month photo. Success!
Through my trek in the woods such species were spotted... Chickadees, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Juncos, House Finches and American Gold Finches, White and Red Breasted Nuthatches, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers too. Much like my visit to High Park earlier in the day.
A male Hairy Woodpecker...
A male Downy Woodpecker. Not much different than the Hairy, eh... judging from the photos. The Hairy Woodpecker is almost double the size of the Downy Woodpecker. The Hairy's call is a lot louder and higher as well. You might notice the difference in the beaks as well. The birds are eating lard that someone has smeared about the tree trunks in the woods.
A male White Breasted Nuthatch that got very close to me as I remained quiet and still.
In my journey through Lambton Woods, I crossed paths with a few others enjoying the crisp day that turned sunny in the afternoon. Lucky for me they were nature lovers as well and enjoying the birds around us. One man told me of a few interesting sightings and also the fact he had been coming to Lambton for three days now in search of a Pileated Woodpecker. He hears it in the forest but has yet to spot it. I've only seen a Pileated once, and that was 2 or 3 years ago, in these same woods. I wished him luck and I kept my eyes open. Once you see a Pileated, you never forget it... they are a massive species of Woodpecker for sure.
He also told me there is a Red Bellied Woodpecker within the forest as well. He saw it earlier in the day. I've only seen this species once, and that was down in Niagara on the Lake, back in early November. So, wouldn't you know it, about 20 minutes later, who do I see? The Red Bellied Woodpecker!
How odd of a name for a Woodpecker with such a red head. There is a Red Headed Woodpecker already out there, though not common for this area (especially in the winter), and it's much different looking than the Red Bellied.
So, all in all, it was a great couple of hours out and about on this frosty day. I even helped another identify the same Woodpecker. We chatted for a short bit on my way out regarding the woods, she mentioned this odd Woodpecker and I knew from that she was talking about the Red Bellied. I was happy to pass the info on to her and show her my pics.
Please note all shots were taken by me today EXCEPT the Pileated and Red-Headed Woodpecker photos which I borrowed from Google images.