17713Matador Area Birds
- Oct 1, 2009Harvest is finally done, although we barely beat the rain.
There are a few birds out there that don't seem to like the wind and cold - House Sparrows, native sparrows, warblers and blackbirds - but some seem to enjoy it.
There are 34 Tundra Swans on the South Dam, along with several hundred Canadas, White-fronts and a handful of Snow Geese that seem quite content. Very few ducks - a pair of Redheads and a few teal were all I saw just before noon.
We normally have very few Sandhill Cranes here - they are generally closer to Galloway Bay to the west - but this year there are several hundred hanging around. I thought they would congregate on the combined fields,but they have tended to hang out on the hay fields.
I think the Swainson's Hawks may all be gone from here. There was one immature erythristic bird still around on Tuesday, but I haven't seen it since.
This marks the first year since I started netting that I didn't catch a Northern Saw-whet Owl in September. But, the juncos are here in big numbers today, so, if Stoffel's theory is correct, the saw-whets won't be far behind. Since I first started calling for saw-whets in 2003, others have started trapping in better locations - Marten at Saskatoon, Mike at Langham, Ross at Last Mountain Lake, Jared at Edenwold, and the current champion, Harold, east of P.A. However, it still amazes me that I've been able to catch over 500 saw-whets in a part of the province where the "experts" didn't expect me to catch any. And, we only catch a fraction of the migration - the timid ones and most of the males generally don't come close enough to get caught.
I had been seeing at least one Prairie Falcon every day, but I didn't see one yesterday and I haven't seen one so far today. There is a Merlin that I see most days - it really likes to zip downwind on these windy days - and there were still a couple of kestrels around earlier this week.
There aren't as many Red-tails roosting overnight in the yard as in the past few years- yesterday there were just two.
While I watched the swans and geese at the South Dam, there was a harrier over the field shelterbelts, living up to its slow flight reputation by hanging almost motionless in the wind, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew by checking out the willows on the water's edge, where some White-throated Sparrows looked miserable.
After seeing very few magpies and catching none since June, there has been a flurry of activity in the last week, with half a dozen juveniles tripping the hawk trap. None of them were banded.
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