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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Widgeon Marsh bird house cleaning

The annual clean out the bird homes, before the birds arrive was done last Saturday 21 February
The encroaching bush in a few places has caused us to remove some of the boxes, since the present caretakers are not removing the brush as much as in the past.  Bears were apparently a problem here and also at Minnekhada, where they had discovered that there was a meal sometimes to be found inside :(
Twenty four brave naturalists were involved, and the weather was perfect.
Highlight for many was seeing a photogenic pygmy owl, and the trumpeter swans in the Widgeon Slough.

Anybody home, knock, knock

Safety first

the annual pilgrimage to the dam

A poor photo of the pygmy owl

And a not much better photo of the naturalists admiring the tiny beast

Some better photos from the same day and also past visits can be found at Panoramio

My best photo of the day

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Minnekhada Farm, Christmas Bird Count

Another year, another Christmas Bird Count, CBC.  Read about and see a little of what we saw last year  from the 2014 CBC

          This year we had the honour of two more souls, Megan and Jayme joining in the adventure and they helped considerably in raising the species counted, and the quantity.   Plus we were lucky to add a few new species for this walk, the  elusive Brown Creeper, which was always suspected, but was creeping elsewhere whenever we walked through.  And Anna's Hummingbirds which in hindsight I had heard about overwintering here, but we had never spotted before; a few residents along our route had hummingbird feeders setup and filled, so our work was easy, just look for the feeders.

         We were not far along on our adventure when two dogs became interested in us, appearing to live at 4071 Cedar Drive, they followed us for a few kilometers, well into Minnekhada Farm, when a Metro parks staff member, Mellisa became interested in them, being that no unleashed dogs are allowed in the park.  We explained to her the situation and she tried to contact the owners, after reading the dog tags but no one was home. She even drove down to the residence but received no answer. At least from now on we had no dog escort to hinder our count.

I am sad to report the loss of one of the roosters, Gallus gallus domesticus metallii

The one remaining lonely looking Gallus gallus domesticus metallii 

1355 Gilleys Trail   ( Google Streetview 2011 )
Note the larger Gallus gallus domesticus metallii on the stump

         We started our adventure from the DeBoville parking lot at 8:40 a.m., and completed our
mission at 12:40 p.m. back where we started. The weather was overcast, temperature high of 4C, with drifting low-hanging clouds being the norm.

81  Mallard duck's
2  Green-winged Teal
2  Pied-billed Grebe
4  Great blue heron
5  Bald eagles, adult
1  Bald eagle, immature
1  Cooper's hawk
3  Red-tailed hawks
6  Anna's hummingbirds
1  Belted Kingfisher
4  Norther flickers
4  Steller's jays
13  Northwestern crows

 5  Common ravens
17  Black-capped chickadee's
22  Bush tit's
1  Brown creeper
5  Pacific wrens
2  American dipper
11  Golden-crowned kinglet
19  Varied thrushes
8  Spotted towhee's
9  Song sparrow's
19  Dark-eyed junco's
2  Red crossbill's
152 Pine siskins

A total count of 26 species, and one metal rooster; with a grand total of 392 tiny souls being counted.

Photo by Megan Willie, of a Red Crossbill

Hard to see, but there is a American Dipper on the rock in the lower middle portion of this photo.
Another photo of the American Dipper by Pamela Zevit

The best photos of the American Dipper were shot by Megan Willie

American dipper, photo by Megan Willie

 Just after entering Minnekhada Farm, along Oliver Road ( pic at Panoramio )

 Eastern portion of the Minnekhada Farm, stables. ( pic at Panoramio )

 Western portions of the Minnekhada Farm, stable complex. ( pic at Panoramio )

 Dairy barn, at Minnekhada Farm  ( pic at Panoramio )

 Sheep barn, damaged corner, extensive rot damage.  ( pic at Panoramio )

 Photo by Pamela Zevit

Photo by Pamela Zevit
Photo by Pamela Zevit

 Ponds at Minnekhada Park  ( pic at Panoramio )

 Ponds at Minnekada Park ( pic at Panoramio )

Panoramic photo of Minnekhada Farm, with
Burke Ridge in the distant background. ( pic at Panoramio )

Many thanks to those who participated, and thanks to Pamela for some of the the photographs:
  Megan Willie; Jamye Brooks; Pamela Zevit; Victoria Otton; Niall Williams