Over the last month I frequently walked the often untrodden trails of Goulds. Many days the weather was miserable so I didn't stay as long as I would have liked.
According to my Fitbit, during the Goulds' walks, I logged in 83 kilometers. Birding is exercise in disguise. Considering there were many days that were too cold or too rainy keeping me warm and dry at home, 83 kilometers is not bad.
I watched and listened to the breeding birds returning to their favorite spots to set up home. There is often the arrival of the males first, followed by the females a few days later.
The singing gets underway and the woods are alive for about a month. It is not the same species singing all this time, but a staggered concert of the different species arriving at different times.
It is always nice to see the return of color and sound to the drab woods of winter/spring.
There seem to be more American Redstarts this year. I am seeing them in areas where I have never seen them before.
Common Grackles are pairing off and nesting in several locations.
Note: My photos are not in my chosen order because of a finicky feature on BlogSpot. Among the American Redstarts, there are many first-summer males among them. I have seen eight!
I went back through many years of photos of Redstarts, and I do not have one shot of a first-summer male, until now. For me, this is unusual.
The above young bird will transition into this stunning black and orange phenom.
I experienced some interesting bird behaviour along my walks. On one morning, this extremely vociferous Osprey circled overhead me as I walked a trail for nearly 20 minutes. I don't know what was up with this guy, but it did make for an interesting stroll.
Red Crossbills are plentiful while the White-winged numbers are dwindling.
I watched as the sparrow species returned in good numbers.
I listened as the Northern Waterthrush filled the woods with song everywhere I went.
Cedar Waxwings first showed up at Third Pond and are now actively flycatching at Bidgood Park. Also interesting, I saw several sparrows join in the flycatching.
The spring plumage is so rich. On the dull, foggy days, the warblers of yellow color are so easy to spot on branches.
Of course, the males look a lot more spiffy than the females.
Pic: Out of order. I spent a lot of time scouting areas where swallows may be present. Bidgood Park hasn't yielded the stunning swallow show of previous years. Very few swallows showed up there, and now there are only three Tree Swallows seen regularly.
Goulds has also hosted some special visitors. Among them is this Gray Catbird. I have heard this bird before, but never seen one.
I saw it a couple of times, but because I am a morning birder, the sun was always at this back of this bird, making it impossible for me to get any decent shots. I did enjoy the views though.
This bird is a chatterbox. It is so easy to locate because it has been singing steadily over the last week.
A surprise visitor to Power;s Road was this American Kestrel. When I first saw it, it was near the road. My car spooked it when I stopped. It flew to this distant tree. I decided to get a shot before shutting off my motor to get a more steady image. The second I turned off the engine, this bird was gone. I stayed awhile, but it didn't return. How did this bird come to be there?
Now, back to the swallows... It was what I call "birding torture" every time I went to Third Pond to check the swallows. The wind was fierce, the morning temperature was hovering around zero, and the birds were far.
I tried hard not to let this deter me. I nestled in as close to the brush/trees to block the wind and steady my binoculars as possible and began the challenge of making sense of what I was seeing.
Over several visits, I was able to see Tree, Barn, and Bank Swallows. I also saw two female and one male Purple Martins on different trips.
It was tough viewing, but often when I see something that peeks my interest or curiosity, I lose awareness of the elements. I even have to be careful not to fall off a rock, step in water or moose poop!
On my last visit, I only saw a single Tree and Barn Swallow. They flew out from the south river flow. Terns remain in this site, along with a pesky Merlin.
The appearance of a Tennessee Warbler was also a "plus." It was a one-day wonder.
Of course, I had several birds get away without an ID. This is only one of them.