Sunday, November 26, 2006

Frost, Fog and a Hairy

Spring Creek Meadow at 9 am on November 25th was still covered with frost crunching under our boots. (A good reminder Christmas is a month away) We have been working on an perfecting an area where a new net lane is going to be-and today we had a team of helpers-YAY We couldn't open the other nets at first because it was too cold and damp-so until it warmed up we did lots of clean up.

The meadow is quite beautiful covered in both frost and fog. It's hard not to just stand around and stare sometimes :D

We had two new volunteers with us and could hardly wait for it to warm up so we could show them some birds. When it finally did warm up we didn't have long to wait this Red Breasted Nuthatch flew into the net while we were still opening it up!

We had planned on putting up at least two maybe three nets but we were kept too busy with just the one, I didn't get many pictures because it was so busy after that, we had Goldfinches, Juncos, Chickadees and the prize of the day a Hairy Woodpecker-I didn't even get a very good pic of him-but I did get this close up of his bill-quite the length!

Again we had several visitors, it was a warm day in the Park after all and a Saturday to boot, so lots of people were introduced to lots of birds-the sharing of knowledge continues :D

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Normal to Abnormal

Spring Creek Meadow November 21st

It was c-c-c-old! Well at least the humans were cold, even though the Sun was shining brightly and and there was not a cloud in the sky there was a bone chilling wind, which did not make for happy banders :D

We were surprised at the amount of birds we caught today-there were the usual suspects, quite a lot of Juncos, Chickadees and American Goldfinches who were foraging together

and a Downy Woodpecker who was a recap from just a little while ago, November 11th.

But then we caught a White Throated Sparrow just as we were going to close up after our rush of other birds, and he was a little abnormal. He had a deformed bill, looked like a Crossbill, as a matter of fact.

He was a first year male, and he had a healthy weight, I hope the little guy makes it, maybe he will be found by someone else and we will get to hear about him. After him we stopped because we needed to get WARM

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dee, dee to Towee towee

Spring Creek Meadow today where the first thing to hit the single net we had up was a flock of chickadees-most of which had already been banded, one from April Fools Day 2006. However we managed to band a couple of newbies as well. The park was hopping today we had lots, and lots of visitors in the form of dog walkers, runners and regular walkers as well.

After the chickadees, which I thought was going to set the pace for the day, we caught quite a few American Goldfinches, and one very protesting female Downy woodpecker. The Goldfinches were quite beautiful, but we were so busy processing them I only managed pictures of this one fellow who had quite a gorgeous tail.

and while we are talking about how

handsome he is how about those
wing markings?

In High Park we often see all the same people over and over again, and have become friends with quite a few.....some regular dog walkers and runners, etc. Often people there are daily park we are, or at least we try to be.

This lady is usually there daily-weather and her health permitting. As you can see here she delights in releasing a bird, and we are always happy if we have one for her when she comes by.

A short day, but fulfilling both bird wise and education wise.

Monday, November 13, 2006


We worked in Spring Creek Meadow today and we really didn't think that much would be happening birdwise-but as usual we were surprised! Funny how when you think you are going to be busy you aren't and vice versa. Several visitors came by to chat and admire the birds we caught. We recaptured quite a few Black Capped Chickadees, giving us a chance to catch up on their health and welfare. I didn't really get any pictures of the chickadees as we were too busy processing them and they were anxious to get back to their flock. Happy to say they seem to be doing well. We also recaptured a Junco from April 1, 2005, and she too seemed to be in good health, plus her wing length was a tiny bit longer than last time.

Another visitor was an handsome male Northern Cardinal-not one previously banded by us....and he was fully grown, not a Hatch Year. Except for using his beak to try to free himself from our grasps he was surprisingly amiable for a cardinal. He had lovely wings.

A male downy was also caught-he was another handsome male, but it was very hard to get a photo of him as he rarely stopped moving, or stopped pecking.

It was a lot of fun recapturing birds-like catching up with old friends.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

More Visitors than Birds

We went to Thickson Woods today, and it turned into a teaching/sharing the joy of birds and banding day.

First we had a friend I had met on Flickr come by, and I'm pretty sure she'll be back next time too. Update, she got a beautiful picture of that female cardinal and she made this.

A couple of birders came by, someone from the Friends of Second Marsh, and a group of people out for a walk on their lunch hour. They lucked out because we caught the most beautiful Female Northern Cardinal, and she was very friendly, hardly biting at all. They all learned how to hold a bird in the banders grip, and then picked a number to see who would be the lucky person to release the bird. I thought the woman who won and did the release was going to cry she was so overcome with emotion. It was a joy to share the birds with so many eager, willing people.

Learning the banders grip!

Holding a female cardinal for the first time

We did not catch too many birds today, the Cardinal beauty, a Ruby and Golden Crowned Kinglet, and of course a couple of Black Capped Chickadees. I am posting a picture of the top of the Golden Crowned Kinglets crown, even though my photo did not turn out the best, because he had such a big patch of orange in his crown that I have to share it. The first bird we caught of the day we caught before we even finished putting up the net, we were still tying off the ropes, and she was a beauty as well, a very pretty American Tree Sparrow. But the small amount of birds were perfect because it made for excellent teaching and sharing conditions, without having to be cut short by other things. All in all a very good day.

Almost forgot to top off the day we both heard and watched the Great Horned Owl fly by! Hoo Hoodooo Hoooo Hoo!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Frost in the Meadow

Above; frozen berries and a white-breasted nuthatch.

This morning I arrived early at Spring Creek Meadow, there was frost everywhere in the meadow and for the first time this year the Duck Pond was almost completely frozen over except for about a six foot patch that some Mallards were making themselves at home on. Also when I first arrived about sixty American Robins were feeding in the meadow on both sides of the creekbed.

Several volunteers arrived today and we set up four nets. One American Tree Sparrow was caught. We caught a fair amount of birds and then around 12:30 a chickadee flock hit the net closest to the creek. Several Downy Woodpeckers, Juncos, White Breasted Nuthatches and Black Capped Chickadees were caught and banded. That kept us busy for the next while. Several people dropped by while banding and were shown the delights of seeing a bird up close for the first time.