Monday, April 9, 2018


      I lead a bird watching group in the spring and fall. Every Saturday morning at 10:00 AM will find us at some site where we will watch  birds for two hours.

     Saturday was the first scheduled walk of the spring season. Most springs by April 7 we will have mild spring weather. Not this year. In fact, it could be well compared to one of the colder winter days. It was minus 16 C ( 1 F) . There was a wind of about 30 km per hour . It was brutally cold. I had my wind pants on and a good coat with a few layers. Oh yes, I also wore winter boots. The other birders were well clad in winter gear.

    However, we did get bare hands out to use cameras and binoculars.

    Now none of us expected to see much. Birds usually stay close to cover when it's windy and cold.

    Well, on my way down to the location I saw a golden eagle.  It was flying across the school yard a block from my house. That was a big sighting  for  me.

    As we were waiting in the parking lot we saw lots of American crows and Bohemian waxwings.

    After that it was a bit of a challenge. We could hear chickadees and nuthatches but didn't see them. I asked the group if they wanted to go off the trail and find the chickadees. Yes, of course.  About 50 m in someone saw bird in a dark part of the woods. It looked like some kind of hawk. It was very hard to see but someone said, "It's eating something!" Yes, it definitely was eating something. It was hard to get a look at the bird as the light conditions were very poor. Finally somebody got a good photo. Yes, it was a Sharp-shinned hawk eating a bohemian waxwing.

      Thanks to Lynette for her fine photo. You can see how close the camera had to be focused to get this one.

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    We spent about 10 minutes having a look at this little hawk and finally left .

    500 m further on we saw a pileated woodpecker sending large chips flying as he was looking for grub. The pileated paid not attention to us and we finally left.

    So what we thought would be a poor day wasn't that bad after all.