Friday, 20 January 2012

Back to Blog'n

I have missed posting the last few days.  I have had limited time to chase birds, so even when I have been out - to Hamilton and Burlington Tuesday and Wednesday mornings - I got nothing more than cold fingers and a runny nose.

However, even though I missed the target birds, Glaucus Gull,(Bayfront Park) and a Greater White-fronted Goose seen at the Islands near the Burlington Skyway, I still had a great time seeing many of the birds I have since learned to identify on sight and are actually starting to stick in my not so sticky memory. Repetition really does work sometimes. Reminds me of my grade 10 math teacher who always told us "you have to do the problems a million times. If you do the problems a million times you will eventually be able to do the problems."

Well, the birds are my "problems" and I just have to see them again and again as I learn this crazy, sometimes frustrating, and mostly exhilarating past time, that is developing itself into a full time passion.  Or maybe I really should just admit, obsession.

My math teacher, who always seemed to sound like former President of the United States, Gerald Ford, giving a speech, also instilled in us that "practice doesn't make perfect, it makes better." Just when you think you're perfect is when it's time to start learning again. Birding is going to keep me learning and getting better for a long, long time

Which brings me to today, January 20, my mom's 84th birthday and Year birds 107-109. Where did 106 come from? That was a Least Sandpiper I missed counting from San Francisco.

Today I was chasing birds at Claireville Conservation Area, Near Highways 50 and 7, after reading my OntBirds alert to the White-winged Crossbills near the entrance road.

It was super-duper cold and I wore the wrong gloves when I first went out so after spotting the target bird in a thicket across from the bird feeder,(I was not lucky enough during my short visit to see the entire flock), I had to go back to the car to blast the heat and warm my hands. But it gave me a chance to check iBird and confirm the White-winged Crossbill from the descriptions and photos. I am still on a sharp learning curve here so I don't always trust myself. While out on the road I spotted a hawk overhead and was glad to have a fellow Birder on the road to help me identify it as a Cooper's Hawk.

After he went off in search of Owls - I hadn't time to explore that long - I hung around the feeder to see my third Year bird of the day, a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Later, once again with Sue's help, I added the American Tree Sparrow I had also seen and photographed for identification. Couldn't do this without the support and guidance Sue provides every day.

I also enjoyed seeing a flock of Blue Jays, enough to make an entire baseball team; many House Sparrows and Dark eyed Juncos.  Each took turns going to the feeder.  And I got a great photo of a Downy Woodpecker leaving the feeder, as seen below.  Also included are photos of the American Tree Sparrow, Red-bellied Woodpecker and, of course, a Blue Jay.

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