Friday, August 5, 2011

Birding Bidgood's Park in Goulds

This is my first year to bird Bidgood's Park. I don't know what took me so long to find it but there are  just so many great birdwatching places to discover.  I think the timing was right for me to enjoy this park this year. Now, I can identify more birds and am just learning to recognize the sounds as well as distant identification of birds.

Since Spring I have visited the park at least a dozen times at different times of the day. There is very little foot traffic in the park, especially during the day. I did find quite a few walkers and fishers arrived after supper time.

I understand that the Bidgood family donated 38 acres of land for the park development about ten years ago. Approximately four years ago work began to develop a network of trails, boardwalks and bridges throughout the wetlands. This work was done in such a way so as to protect the natural wetlands and was very successful.

The original plans included a full-scale park development model to include a museum, swimming pool, etc. Frankly, I am glad that this further development has been scraped, at least for the time being.

As it is, this natural walking park is a haven for many different species of birds and bird watchers. I have never found such a diverse collection of birds in any other area that is easily accessible from the city. Let's hope that this natural habitat remains.

There are many wonderful aspects of bird watching to enjoy in this park: It is accessible. It is quiet and easy to hear the birds from a distance. Many birds move into the area including song birds and wetland birds. There is little human activity in the park. There seem to always be surprises at this park such as the Red Crossbill pictured above. I didn't expect the find this bird and was delighted when I looked up and saw this one perched atop a dead tree.

Over the last three months I have generated a pretty good bird list for this park:

Eastern Kingbird
American Bittern
American Redstart
Tree Swallow
Common Grackle
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Flicker
American Robin
American Crow
American Black Duck
European Starling
Dark-eyed Junco
Pine Grosbeak
Purple Finch
Belted Kingfisher
Swamp Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Northern Waterthrush
Yellow Warbler
Black and White Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Red Crossbill
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Boreal Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Brown Creeper

I have listened as these birds moved through an extremely vocal period when the woods were filled with bird song, and I have experienced dead silence in the woods where I had to rely on movement to find the birds. This area is like a bird watching lab where much can be learned. It would be an ideal place for Girl Guides and Boy Scouts or any other youth group to learn about birds.  There is even an open-air classroom at one end of the park. Sounds like a perfect day camp experience to me.

Let's hope that the area remains as natural as it currently is so that it can continue to be a safe stopover for the many birds that spend their spring and summer there.

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