Monday, February 18, 2013

Winter wonders

I decided I wanted to have a look around the west end this weekend to see what I could see. After last week's misfortunes I'm much more careful about what's laying around on the back seat of the car, so everything gets brought in and taken back out every time. The plan was to ski first and then do some birding. We got to the trailhead and I looked at Matt--you grabbed the camera right? And he gives me this blank stare.....sigh. So there we are with this huge lens that comes in its own bag which we now have to lug around *with no body* while skiiing so it doesn't get stolen. Luckily the camera was not needed on the trails and there it was strangely quiet--only saw an Eastern Cottontail and few birds. However it was a great ski and we got to head out onto the river for part of it--wanted to check out the ice shacks but didn't quite get that far--and I just had my skis waxed so I was good and fast...wheeeeeee!

The geocaching has started up again so we headed to a nearby spot on Grandview to grab one, where I noticed 200+ bohemian waxwings and pine grosbeaks in a tree in someone's front yard. So back to the house it was to get the camera body--luckily it wasn't terribly far away. I'm glad since I've had such a hard time getting close to a pine grosbeak for a decent shot. I didn't get any shots of the huge flock of waxwings unfortunately--it's a really incredible feeling when so many of them swoop around over your head and do the murmuration thing. Does anybody know what that fruit is? I'm still working on my plant identification...

Waxwings kinda make me think of Rupaul. They got the serious eyeliner wings goin' on. Rupaul aside, they are so awesome.
Afterwards we stopped at Hilda on the way home where there were two snowshoe hares. We also stopped at March Valley to see if the owls were around.  There was a large convoy of cars with plates from Maryland, Vermont and New York. They'd come up and struck out at both Green's Creek and in the West End. I can't imagine coming that far and missing a bird that's been here so reliably, but of course it happens  and that's the risk you run! Hopefully they stayed over and had better luck the next day...

Sunday involved an unsuccessful attempt to locate evening grosbeaks and white-winged crossbills. However it did end in inadvertently finding Maple Hill Urban Farm, very close to home with fresh eggs, and the farmer, Don, was so friendly and invited us in to see all the awesome animals--chickens, ducks, a cow, a couple horses, a pony, a donkey, two goats, two dogs and three hilarious barn cats (including two KITTENS!), and then we got DQ to top it all off (open on Family Day...yessssss!), so all's well that ends well.


Clawedfrog said...

Great photos! I'm an Ottawa birder, and I love your blog!

dwaynejava said...

Great postings! I'm so jealous of the last three birds you've seen (BBW, BW, and Pine Grosebeak). Amazing photos as well. It sucks that your car got broken into btw... Wish I could get up to Ottawa for some winter birding!