Sunday, January 03, 2010

January Deep Freeze

Frost on our back door

Much of North America is experiencing a blast of Arctic air and we are not exempt here in south-western Ontario. Temperatures are in the minus double digits and strong north winds have created wind chills in the minus twenties. I opened the door early yesterday morning and was greeted by a lovely canvas of frosty designs on the window of the storm door. I remember an attic bedroom I once shared with my brothers. The windows were thick with feathery frost designs for much of the winter. I liked the idea of Jack Frost doing his work while I slept and his visits were far more welcome than the other monsters who occupied dark corners of the large room.

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.

Hooded Merganser and Canada Goose

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.

15 comments:

  1. Why am I complaining about the snow and cold. I have nothing compared to you. I just cannot imagine temperatures that low.

    I normally do the RSPB bird count at the end of January....it is always enjoyable.....

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  2. Oh my, that picture of the frost is gorgeous!

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  3. Good luck on the Bird count.The frost is so exquisite.I love the unexpected designs created by the cold.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  4. Hi Ruth,
    I remember frosty windows like that from my childhood days too.
    I'm glad to hear you're getting out and trying to enjoy some winter birding too. Your goose and merganser photo is really nice.

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  5. The weather is definitely frightful. Odd for us here in Charlotte to have two weeks of lows in the teens!

    I like your description of frosty glass. That's a GORGEOUS photo, Ruth! When I was a child we had single paned windows that formed crystals like that. I had forgotten those windows in my bedroom until now.

    Happy New Year!
    Mary

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  6. That is a very unique picture that Jack Frost left for you!
    I was at Riverside Sat morn and there hardly any birds out. A few chickadees and Amer. Tree Sparrows and one cardinal...it's was cold for them too. Good Luck with your counts. You are almost 1/2 way to your goal and it's only the 3rd.

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  7. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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  8. Ruth, good for you! I am so glad you joined! I've added you to my list of participants which will post tomorrow! Good luck!

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  9. Oh, I LOVE the photo of the frost Ruth! That is just so unique!

    Here's hoping you get your 45!

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  10. I thought it was really cold when I took the dogs out in 10 degree weather. That seems balmy compared to your deep freeze. Nice photographs.

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  11. Ruth,

    It was another bitter cold day here today. I love the photo of the frost on your door. I remember waking in the morning and there being frost on the inside of the windows. The etchings were always beautiful.

    Happy New Year to you and yours and good luck on your bird count.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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  12. I wanted to wish you a very Happy and Healthy New Year Ruth....Michelle... from cold and snowy western NY...

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  13. The frost in the first p hoto is beautiful. Hope you reach your counting goal in January.

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  14. Hi Ruth, what section of the Grand are these photos from? I'm trying to bulk up on my winter birding trail plans. Very cool designs courtesy of Jack Frost.

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  15. This is in Homer Watson Park across from the Pioneer Tower. The nearby water treatment plant keeps the river open in the winter and the birding here is excellent. (I have heard of Pileated WP sightings here too) If the river is high this section of trail is often under water and large ice chunks get thrown up here, so be careful. I park by the Homer Watson Gallery and walk in from that end of the trail.

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