Saturday, February 04, 2012

How We Found Winter and Some Gold Besides!

Photo taken by my DH
Around home, winter shows its nasty side every couple of weeks or so with a dose of freezing rain, sleet or lake effect snow squalls. Then comes a thaw leaving brown and green as our predominant seasonal colours this year. Our search for the real Canadian winter started at 4 AM this morning with a three plus hour drive in the dark toward the Haliburton Highlands of Central Ontario's Canadian Shield. Our first "pit stop" was just north of Orillia and there we crossed a boundary into snow and cold. The temperature dropped as we climbed toward Algonquin Park, from -3 C to -16 C within the park. The sun rose over clear skies and hoar frost on the trees sparkled like silver in the early morning light. A lone wolf climbed from a river's edge into the bush, Ravens flew overhead and flocks of winter Finches and Grosbeaks picked through gravel at the road's edge, flying up as we passed by.

Pine Grosbeak(f), White-winged Crossbill, Purple Finch(f), Blue Jay

Sparkling snow, clear air, no wind, bright sunshine...

Let winter sports begin...

Snowmobilers, cross country skiers, dog sledders, ice fishers, hikers and joggers enjoyed the day in and around the park. (Dog sledding within the park and snowmobiling outside the park)

My sport was birding and my goal was gold. I wasn't disappointed and added a new bird to my list!

Evening Grosbeak

Birds seen in Algonquin Park today: 
Evening Grosbeak (life bird), White-winged Crossbill*, Common Redpoll*, Gray Jay*, Blue Jay, Am Goldfinch, Red-breasted Nuthatch*, Pine Grosbeak*, Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Purple Finch*, Hairy Woodpecker, Pine Siskin*, Pileated Woodpecker
*First of Year


  1. You found gold alright! The Evening Grossbeak is stunning. So happy for you to add it to your list of finds and shared it with us.

  2. Mexico Mom10:32 pm GMT-5

    Was praying your wish would be granted. Appears that Tim saw his wolf as well/
    Hurray for you you deserve it. As usual the pictures are wonderful

  3. That grossbeak is a beauty. But chasing winter to bird is a new one on me. Guess I'd rather chase summer.
    But to see a wolf, I might reconsider.

  4. @Cheryl- thanks, and I was happy to get pictures too
    @Mom- the wolf was on my side of the car and Tim didn't see it. Maybe next time we will see a wolf and a moose
    @Gaelyn- pursuing winter is preferable to being in a "non-season". Unfortunately, summer is not a 3 hour drive away from home. :-(

  5. Nice! Those are all birds that we hope will venture south to ur area each winter. None of them have this year.

  6. There's a definite snow line as you go both north and east from your area. We are on the snow side -- even after mild temps and rain.

  7. Nice photos. Glad you found winter. I've been waiting for it to arrive, too. Lucky you on the Evening Grosbeaks. Looks like your pine siskin is actually a purple finch, though (too heavy of a bill for a siskin and check out those bold eye lines!). Thanks again for sharing your pics!

  8. Thanks Kellie. You are right. I have only seen a female Purple Finch once. That adds another bird to my total for the day :-)

  9. Wonderful photo of the evening grosbeak. I don't believe I have ever seen any grosbeak.

  10. I've never seen one, but your photograph is outstanding.

  11. I like your discovery of "gold". The evening grosbeak is a great find.

  12. Congrats on getting a life bird. The Evening Grosbeak has always been a favourite bird for me.

    WOW. A wolf sighting. Blessed are those that see wolves, for they have glimpsed a part of the natural world that few get to see. I am going to go to "THE Park" in a month or two. I have been many times, and have yet to see a wolf.

  13. What a day rich in wildlife! Congrats on the Lifer! they are such pretty birds! It has been a very long time since i have seen one an Evening grosbeak myself!


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