Monday 3 January 2022

Algonquin Christmas Bird Count

Today was the Algonquin Christmas Bird Count, the first time I have ever participated in this count. I'll keep this post short and sweet, much like our species list. Quite the contrast to the 124 species CBC at Rondeau just two weeks ago...

It was quite cold this morning when I woke up, with my car reading -29 Celsius. Speaking of my car, I was a bit worried it wouldn't start, although after it made a sound I think no vehicle should ever make, to my relief, it did.

My day started at 8am at the Spruce Bog Boardwalk, where I was to meet my group (first count, and already the pressure is on as an area leader!) We spent the majority of the first hour looking for Spruce Grouse to no avail. Our search was cut short however when I went over to investigate a beaver lodge and then fell through the ice. It was only up to my knee on one leg, but enough to be a bit worrisome with the -25 temperatures out. The luxury of only living 10 minutes away is that I was able to go back home and put on some dry clothes. I will assure you, however, that I was not the only one to make this mistake today.

After that little mishap, we were back at it! Another unsuccessful search for Spruce Grouse, before completing the rest of the trail, as well as another bog slog in a different part of the wetland. 

By the end of our time at Spruce Bog, we has 12 species, with highlights being Red Crossbill, Canada Jay, Pileated Woodpecker, and the best bird of the day: Purple Finch (my first in Algonquin this winter).

After a lunch break in the Visitor Centre, we went up to the Sunday Lake Road and walked along there for a few kilometers. I had only ever been on this road once before, and only up a little ways, so it was a nice little walk. Nothing really of note other than five Downy Woodpeckers, Ruffed Grouse, and good numbers of finches. 

At the end of it all, we had 15 species. I saw an additional species (Pine Grosbeak) while driving outside of our area. I spent the last hour of light walking around with Jeff and Angela Skevington, who were also done their area. It was a gorgeous day to be outside. Results from this count are just starting to come in, but it will be interesting to see the totals. I know that at least one pair of Boreal Chickadees was found, which is not a species I was really expecting to be recorded this year. 

The first of many Algonquin CBCs, I'm sure. 

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