I don’t really need more excuses to go out birding, but I’ll take them as they come regardless. Last weekend, from Feb 12 to 15, was the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a worldwide citizen science project that tries to capture an ‘annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds’. Contrary to it’s name, the GBBC does not require one to bird in a backyard (great news for us apartment dwellers).
I focused my efforts on Wellington county, my new home turf, and was able to find some new birding spots. For the second GBBC in a row the temperature was frigid, but that didn’t keep the birds at bay. Over the course of the count, I found 28 species including some highlights; Snow Buntings, Purple Finches, and a Merlin!
Pine Siskin & American Goldfinch
Some odd looking birds. Need better plumage to stay warm.
In addition to seeing many great birds at Algonquin Provincial Park last weekend, my group was treated to a handful of fantastic mammal sightings. This was the first Pine Marten I’ve ever seen and it gave us quite the display. Within seconds of us spotting it, it nearly nabbed a Red Squirrel. After the squirrel got away, the marten treated us to a display of tree climbing gymnasts.
I think it should be noted however, that all of the mammals in my photos came out into the open because of previous incidents where park visitors have fed them (note: no one in my group fed any of the animals below). While it may be tempting to leave out some food in order to see these fabulous creatures, being fed is often to their detriment (and yours, as you will be fined). Feeding can cause human/wildlife conflicts, increase the chances of the animal being hit by a car, and can harm the health of the creature. I’m grateful that I got to see fox, marten, deer, and squirrels last weekend, but I really do prefer spotting my wildlife far from the influence of humans where I know that the animals’ safety is not at risk.
This past weekend I went to Algonquin Provincial Park with some good friends. It was both my first time at Algonquin and my first time seeing a few of the boreal birds we came across. Though it took me awhile to get to Algonquin the first time, I don’t think it will be long before I’m back. It is a beautiful park!
Blue Jay – Mew Lake Campground
Evening Grosbeak (a first!) – Visitors’ Centre
Gray Jay – Spruce Bog Boardwalk
Red-breasted Nuthatch – Spruce Bog Boardwalk
White-winged Crossbill (a first!) – Spruce Bog Boardwalk
In honour of World Wetlands Day, I thought I would contribute a collage of my experiences in various wetlands. Wetlands (bogs, fens, marshes, swamps, and shallow open water) filter our water, prevent flooding, provide habitat for various wildlife, and add to the beauty of our natural world, amongst other ecological services. I am glad that spending time in wetlands is a part of my life.
A bog in the Chignecto Isthmus, NB
Red-headed Woodpecker – Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve, Spartanburg, SC
Least Sandpiper in a fen – Daring Lake, NWT
Oxycoccus microcarpus, Bog Cranberry – Daring Lake, NWT
Grass Pink – Escuminac, NB
Blue Flag Iris – Cape Jourimain, NB
Sphagnum capillifolium and Polytrichum stictum, Ottawa, ON
Research at Mer Bleue, Ottawa, ON
Research at Alfred Bog, ON
Pitcher Plant – Escuminac, NB
Delicious Cloudberry – Miscou, NB
Salt Marsh – Bay of Fundy, NB
Salt Marsh Copper – Tabusintac, NB
Sundew – Escuminac, NB
Sora – Sackville Waterfowl Park, Sackville, NB
Four-spotted Skimmer – Odell Park, Fredericton, NB