Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Back in Ontario.

After a week working in Vancouver and not getting any birding done in Ontario, I flew back Sunday, January 23rd. I arrived to a very tired wife (as anyone would be looking after a couple crazed 3 year olds for 9 days) and some very excited children. I decided to take a couple days off work since I had been away for two weekends in a row. We spent Monday just hanging out and thoroughly enjoying being a complete family again.
It didn't take long to get the itch to twitch again though. I checked out some of the online postings and there were a couple of very interesting birds to be had at Presqu'ile Provincial Park about 45 minutes east of Orono. I contacted a new friend, Richard Pope, and he agreed to go and try for them with me. The first and more possible bird was a Barrow's Goldeneye. I saw plenty of them in the ocean at Stanley Park in Vancouver but it's a tough one here in Ontario. You can really only get them in winter and Presqu'ile is a pretty good place to get one.

Barrow's Goldeneye by ingridtaylar

The second bird, one I have seen once before but not this year, is a Boreal Chickadee. Chickadees have a special place in my memories. They were one of the first birds that got me hooked on birding. My dad used to take me to a spot where you could feed Black-capped Chickadees in your hand. I loved it right away. And one of the things I find most fun about birding in new places is a bird that is structurally very similar to another one but just has different plumage. It makes me wonder why they are different when their habitat is not a huge visual departure. I don't think that brown cap does much more to help a Boreal Chickadee blend in to its surroundings than the black  cap of a Black-capped Chickadee.

Boreal Chickadee by Firstmac
Sadly, I missed both birds yesterday. On top of that, my kids didn't take their usual nap in the afternoon. As a result, it was an unfair position to put my wife in after me being away for 9 days. When I got home, my son sat me down and said that he didn't want me to leave him again. I think he actually thought I was leaving for a long time. I knew doing a big year would be difficult at times but when you go out and fail like I did yesterday at the expense of a happy wife, it almost doesn't seem worth it. So let me publicly apologize to Rachel and my kids. And to thank them for supporting me in this slightly crazy endeavor.
It wasn't all bad though, I was birding with great people and I did see a couple new birds for this year. We also saw what we decided was a hybrid Barrow's Goldeneye/Hooded Merganser. It was a full adult male and quite interesting to see. But as Hugh Currie might say, "It's nice, but it's not a tick."

January 24th, 2011 day listCommon Raven, Orono.
January 25th, 2011 day list
Pine Siskin (On Sunday morning before going to Presqu'ile)
Song Sparrow  (On Sunday morning before going to Presqu'ile)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (On Sunday morning before going to Presqu'ile)
Barred Owl

Paul Riss
Punk Rock Big Year

1 comment:

  1. Looks like that BArrow's/Hoodie cross may be a Common/Hoodie. Someone will do some research on it and let us know. I'll post it if there's a correction to my original post. And it seems the Barrow's that I originally went for is there today. Very frustrating.