Winter weather has made it difficult to look for birds lately. Member of our birding forum have reported seeing flocks of Crossbills as well as Bald Eagles, Rough-legged and Red-shouldered hawks and Snowy Owls north of the city. Birding by car along country roads is not without risks when ditches are filled with snow. Pulling over to the shoulder can easily lead to a slide right off the road. ( I know this from experience)
I headed toward Hawkesville one morning last week looking for Crossbills reportedly seen in a spruce grove near the highway. This is Old Order Mennonite country and many horse-drawn buggies use the local roads. The shoulders are ploughed back and are wider than those found in other parts of the region to accommodate them. Traffic is generally light so I could drive slowly if necessary.
Sheds used to sell farm produce at the end of lanes were empty and hand written signs invited people to drive to the house to buy brown eggs, sausage, potatoes, maple syrup and more. No Sunday Sales! Old Order farms are easy to spot by the absence of electical wires to the house. Clean laundry flapped on clothes lines in the icy cold wind.
Birds were very scarce and the winds blew snow from the fields across the roads. I did see several hawks overhead but was unable to identify them. Other than an American Kestrel on a wire, I didn't see much. However, there are always things of interest around here. A buggy dropped two women off at a farm where they walked up the snowy drive to visit someone. At noon hour, Mennonite children at a parochial school played outdoors in the cold. A large ice rink was being prepared behind the building. Older girls huddled near the walls out of the wind while younger children were playing tag.
Wild turkeys cross in front of me
As I drove back toward the city I saw three separate flocks of Wild Turkeys in cornfields. Two turkeys crossed the road in front of me in a fast walk, but decided to wing it as I got closer. I rarely see these turkeys and they made my journey a success from a birding standpoint.
Turkeys safely across the road
Samuel and I went birding on Saturday, another very cold day. I was concentrating on walking and did not take pictures. Check Sam's blog, read his account of the day and see the photos he took. It is a pleasure to take him out. We will find those winter birds sometime!
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