Monday, January 4, 2010

Searching for the Gyr with Tony Beck

Sunday, Jan 3, 2010. 7:30 am

It was another windy cold day in the capital, when Tony decided to put on an extra outing to try for the Gyrfalcon. Jen, Janet B, Rick, Barbara & I braved the temperatures.
We went first to Hilda Road feeders. Barbara spotted an American Tree Sparrow on the ground and Janet saw a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers at the suet feeder. We also saw a Hairy Woodpecker and a couple of Blue Jays. Our next stop was at Mud Lake. It was really quiet, but Jen had brought seeds to feed the Black-capped Chickadees. We scanned the open water at the base of the rapids with nothing to report. We got on the Ottawa River parkway and drove in to the Deschene Rapids lookout – not much doing and really cold. From there we went to Tunney’s Pasture to see if a falcon was at the Coates Building – nope!

Undeterred, we drove to the Experimental Farm to look for raptors – only got a Raven.

We were so close to Fletcher that we decided to give it a try. It had warmed slightly, so we hiked around to the far feeder. A mourning Dove was huddled right on the feeder. There were several House Finches, including a nice red male. A Northern Cardinal also appeared in the back.
We checked all the conifers, finding nothing. At the feeder behind the nature centre, there was a Dark-eyed Junco, a pair of House Sparrows and a White-breasted Nuthatch.

On leaving, I decided to liven things up by getting stuck. Some helpful dog walkers came to our rescue with a shovel and strong bodies.

We drove to the Carlington Quarry for one last look for the Gyrfalcon, but it did not appear. Jen was so cold that she did not even get out of the car.

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