19 February 2007

Bogey birds and Garden birds

Thanks to our American friends south of the border where today is "Presidents' Day" and the fact that the company I work for is (now) a US company today was not a day on which I had to report to work while almost all of the rest of Canada did. This was good.

Yesterday we took a day off from birding and had great tramp round the snow-shoe trail in the arboretum ..... where, low and behold, we found a small flock-ette of White-winged Crossbills, a bird I had thought I might miss this year. One bogey-bird less and one not being targeted at the time so we take this as a gift from the birding gods.

Then today we went over to the south shore to visit the waste disposal facility at St-Basile-le-grand which is famous for its Short-eared Owls in winter. Bright, bright sunny day and numbingly cold and when we got there we found that because it was a working day the owls were all behind the wire and we were outside of it - however, bogey-bird number two put in a welcome appearance and as we got out of the car the air was filled with gorgeous little Horned Larks s you can see in the three pictures below:


Horned Lark (male)


Incoming flight


Sexual dimorphism - female to the left and male to the right

Well, that was a pretty good bird for the day but the garden has been filled with birds too and this time they almost all cooperated and let us get a full set of portraits. The following pictures are all but one of the species we have had in the garden today ...... Canadians will recognise old friends but our European readers will find this interesting .......


American Goldfinch




Downy Woodpecker (female)



American Crow



Hairy Woodpecker (female)



House Finches



European Starlings


Male and female House Finches and a Dark-eyed Junco



Purple Finch (male)



Northern cardinal (male)



Black-capped Chickadee



Dark-eyed Junco






Blue Jays - there were actually five of these in the garden at one time



Mourning Dove

The missing bird was a House Sparrow

Finally, a Gas Hawk to finish the set .........

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