Friday, April 22, 2011

Search for Woodcock Nests, Biking the Prescott-Russell Trail and Bourget waterfowl

Friday, Apr 15

Barbara's friend Jim offered to show us, Tony & Nina where he had seen American Woodcock on the nest, using his dogs to point.  So we met at 8:00 am at the east end location.

The dogs were eager to strut their stuff, and bounded ahead of us.

The first thing we saw were two Fox Sparrows. Then an American Woodcock flushed to the left directly into the sun. We plunged through puddles to the back of the area. Our next find was a pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds. We saw a colourful group of American Goldfinches. 

Another American Woodcock flushed, but the dogs had not seen it.  Then Tony heard Rusty Blackbirds, and we located them in dense bush.  Alas no photos possible.  Then he saw a couple of Racoons up a tree  - a lifer for Nina!  A Mourning Dove was more cooperative for the photographers. 
Barbara spotted a distant shrike.  But the question remains - which shrike was it?  Nina saw an American Kestrel and Tony saw a Common Redpoll, and at the parking lot, a male House Finch.
We parted ways, and Barbara and I headed out to Hammond to bike on the former rail bed.  She had not gone 100 m before she popped her tire.  We had no spare, and the repair kit was all dried out, so useless.  So she hiked along while I biked for about 5 km, then turned back to meet her for a picnic lunch. 

We then hiked back to the car.  There were lots of birds!  Dark-eyed Juncos and American Robins were everywhere.  I spotted a female Northern Harrier near my turn around spot. We sat on a fallen log and ate our lunch.  We heard a Wood Frog calling in an ephemeral pond, and with a lot of luck, managed to find and photograph it.
Since we were so close to Bourget, we decided to check out Cobbs Creek.  First we stopped at Johnson Road and notice a huge number of Greater Snow Geese in the far distance. 
We went along Cobb's Creek without seeing much, except for a couple of American Black Ducks, then went to Ettyville and the other end of Johnson Road.  This time we got somewhat closer to the geese; although but they were still quite distant, they were a very impressive number.

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