Birds for beginners

by Bev McBride

Editor's note: In the interests of full disclosure, this Red-winged Blackbird was not photographed during this excursion, nor was it photographed at Mud Lake. However, Bev says this species was "emblematic" of the morning's very successful field trip. Photo by Gillian Mastromatteo

Editor’s note: In the interests of full disclosure, this Red-winged Blackbird was not photographed during this excursion, nor was it photographed at Mud Lake. However, Bev says this species was “emblematic” of the morning’s very successful field trip. Photo by Gillian Mastromatteo

About 20 people came out for this morning’s bird trip to the Britannia Conservation Area / Mud Lake. The most obliging weather meant birds were singing and moving about, making them easy to find.

Numbers of male Red-winged Blackbirds are building up, accounting for most of the cacophony. Ring-billed Gulls are doing their bit too, with many now congregating at the colony across the river. A cooperative flock of Cedar Waxwings landed low in the woods for us, so we were able to get a very good look at these. A disgusted-looking (or so we imagined) Great Blue Heron hunkered in a tree alongside the still frozen Mud Lake. Song Sparrows were singing, as were American Goldfinches and, of course, Northern Cardinals and American Robins.

Thanks to everyone who came out! Here is our modest list of species encountered:

1. Canada Goose
2. American Black Duck
3. Mallard
4. Scaup sp. (You say Greater, I say Lesser … you know the tune…)
5. Common Goldeneye
6. Double-crested Cormorant
7. Great Blue Heron
8. Turkey Vulture
9. Ring-billed Gull
10. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
11. Downy Woodpecker
12. Hairy Woodpecker
13. American Crow
14. Common Raven
15. (Tree Swallow? I think I heard them.)
16. Black-capped Chickadee
17. White-breasted Nuthatch
18. Brown Creeper
19. American Robin
20. European Starling
21. Cedar Waxwing
22. Song Sparrow
23. Dark-eyed Junco
24. Northern Cardinal
25. Red-winged Blackbird
26. Common Grackle
27. American Goldfinch

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