Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weekend Update...

I made the short drive to Goose Pond Sanctuary this morning to see the Tundra Swans. Mark Martin stopped by and said his count was 680 swans. Scoping over the pond revealed a single Snow Goose, a probable Ross's Goose X Snow Goose hybrid, hundreds of Canada Geese, fewer Cackling Geese, many Mallards, Green-winged Teal and several Northern Pintail. Most of the swans were resting but some were forming small flocks and zooming around the perimeter of the pond - they're so beautiful in flight. Their gentle calls were very relaxing and it was good to be out.

Our backyard seems quiet at the feeders, but birds are definitely close by. Twice in the past few weeks I stood below one of the maple trees and pished continuously for a minute or so and watched what came out of the spruce trees. Today this brought out several Dark-eyed Juncos, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches, 1 White-breasted Nuthatch, 1 White-throated Sparrow, 2 Black-capped Chickadees, a few House Finches and American Goldfinches, a Red-bellied Woodpecker and Downy Woodpecker. About the only birds that are conspicuous when watching the feeders from inside are Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays. There are also a few Hairy Woodpeckers that make regular rounds to suet. Perhaps this is unnecessary harassment (pishing), nevertheless it's interesting knowing the birds are around and not absent. They're just not making conspicuous trips to our feeders. Come snow cover, I'm sure that'll change.

On a personal note, I haven't been able to bird as much lately due to some recurring problems with my feet. I finally went to the doctor on Friday and was advised that my symptoms seem to indicate plantar fasciitis, which like most medical terms sounds worse than it actually is. It's been difficult for me to walk more than a mile or be on my feet for more than an hour at a time, so I'm off to a podiatrist in early January to find out more. For now, I'm keeping off my feet as much as reasonably possible. I'll try to keep blog posts relevant to whatever sort of birding or bird photography I'm up to, but there will probably be less in the short term. Putting a positive spin on being far more sedentary than I enjoy, I've been catching up on a lot of reading!

If you've been reading my blog for the past few years, I think it's pretty safe to assume you possess a keen interest and passion in all things related to birds. I recently picked up a copy of Laura Erickson's "101 Ways to Help Birds" and consider it to be one of the most valuable books about birds in my library. Reading her fine work, I found myself nodding in agreement, "Yeah, I do that. that taken care of," etc. But I did discover and learn things I'm presently not doing that I could easily do, making the book purchase well worth its modest price. Ideas are knowledge that can be put into action or practice and her book is full of excellent ones. Laura's ideas and suggestions can save the lives of birds, so naturally I highly recommend her book!

Tundra Swan and White-breasted Nuthatch © 2006 Mike McDowell

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