Looking forward to getting out today and exploring some of the backroads in the area. The recent snow cover should make for interesting viewing.
It turned out to be a nice afternoon. At noon, I headed out towards Melbourne and points south and west. Just a crop tour of sorts, for the most part a slow, leisurely drive, constantly scanning the road, trees, bushes, woodlots and skyline. And the weather was perfect for just such an activity. (Although the roads were wet and slushy and necessitated a car wash upon my arrival back home)
The first interesting bird was a Rough-legged Hawk. It was sitting on the fencepost, methodically tearing apart and consuming what appeared to be a meadow vole. During the course of the afternoon I saw another 7 Roughies. Only one of these was a dark phase bird. The second interesting bird was a Northern Harrier. It was seen, as expected, flying low over the ground searching for food. It was the only Harrier seen today. The third interesting bird was a Red-tailed Hawk. There were only 3 Tails seen today. Next, was an adult Bald Eagle. It was soaring over a wood lot far across a field.
Along the way, through-out the day, there were numerous sightings of Snow Buntings, Horned Larks, a smattering of Lapland Longspurs, a few American Tree Sparrows and some Dark-eyed Juncos.
The drive ended up on the west side and then south of Wardsville. Just past Wardsville, I stopped and turned the car around to have a better look at what appeared to be a big White-tailed Deer standing just off the road. I pulled up and rolled down the window. It sure looked like a big Buck. Huge rack of antlers. But it was standing so still. I watched carefully with my binoculars, looking for some sign movement, a flick of the tail, skin movement, an eye blink, something…….but I saw absolutely NO movement of any kind. I found myself wondering if it was really alive or was it some kind of joke or possibly something a hunter may have set up. But after a good 10 minutes of staring, it suddenly turned and trotted off across the field behind it. Just as I was sure that it wasn’t real. What a sight.
After Wardsville, I headed up thru Glencoe, and came in the back way to the Campbell Conservation Area near Alvinston.
It was just past 3:30 when I pulled into the driveway. What a great afternoon. Actually was good to be driving around in wintry conditions. I’m not going to be seeing too much winter weather this year and I’m going to miss it. So I will made the most of it while I can.