I have decided to step up to Larry's annual challenge and do a January bird count this month. Last year I was off work recovering from surgery and spent many wonderful hours birding. I counted 61 species and would be very surprised if I achieved that this year with my busier schedule. On January 1st we visited my brother and his family at their new home in Barrie Ontario. They have feeders set up and back onto a conservation area. Bird watching through their kitchen windows was warm and easy. I added the first eleven birds to my count.
January along the river
Yesterday I bundled up for -23C temperatures and went for a walk along the river near a water treatment plant. The warmer discharged water keeps the river open in this stretch and many water birds over winter here. High bluffs protect the river side trail from north winds so it was relatively comfortable to walk for an hour or so in the sunshine. I added some expected birds to the count and then amongst the many Canada Geese and Mallard Ducks, spotted one male Hooded Merganser. I have not seen these birds on the river here before. My count went up to 22.
Today the wind has really picked up and the sun is gone. I have filled the feeders here but it is too cold for the trails. I will set my goal at 45 birds for the month and it may take a trip to the shores of Lake Ontario to get that number.