Friday, 1 January 2021

January 1, 2021: A New Beginning and a,(smaller), Big Year.

 I did not keep up with my blog in 2020, sticking mostly to Instagram.  I ended 2019 and began 2020 in bad shape with a cracked vertebrae in my spine and finally had surgery on January 22 of 2020.  It was a slow recovery and then there was Covid, so it wasn’t a normal year, even for birding.  Then both Sue and I found ourselves out of work and it was time to pick up and move from Toronto.  We have landed in Brantford, Ontario, an hour west of Toronto in a new home, town and country.  Brant County, that is.

I know pretty much nothing about Brant County and in order to get up to speed on the best places to go birding in my new, local patch, which also includes Long Point, Selkirk and Turkey Point Provincial Parks, I figured, since travel outside Ontario, at this time, is not a thing, why not do a Tri-County Big Year.  This will include Haldimand to the southwest and Norfolk Counties to the southeast, along the shores of Lake Erie.

So, once again, I’m just here for the bird.  First up was an Evening Grosbeak, at the crack of dawn this morning.  I had visited the feeders at a home in Glen Morris last week, shortly after we moved here, and seen a few females, and figured it was a great bird to start 2021 with, as Evening Grosbeaks are not regular visitors to this locale and I didn’t want to miss a change to get them on my 2021 Brant County List.

And I wasn’t disappointed.  Just as I arrived, I could see 3 or 4 males at the feeders and then, a whole bunch more flew in, roughly 21 to the best of my counting ability.  It was early, and cloudy and the light wasn’t great, but I did get a few photos.

Next, it was off to Mohawk Lake, where, earlier in December my timing was off and I missed the Mew Gull.  I am hoping it makes another appearance this year, but in the meantime I counted five gull species for my morning trip: Herring, Great Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, the most species of gull I’ve seen to begin a year.

My back yard feeders are beginning to attract a few birds now too, including a regularly visiting Red-bellied Woodpecker, to go along with the basic cardinals, chickadees and juncos.  

I will stick close to these three counties for most of the year, but I will still be chasing Lifers whenever I get the chance, and will get to  Rondeau Provincial Parks and and perhaps Point Pelee NP in the spring.  Maybe by fall we will be able to take trips outside of Ontario.  Now wouldn’t that be nice.  But in the meantime, Ontario and Brant County in particular, are mine do discover.

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