Willow Ptarmigan (and a magpie and owl note)
We've seen ptarmigan passing through our yard almost every day since my
last post - the exception was March 2. Yesterday at about 5 pm there
were 20 feeding in our yard - the largest flock we'd ever seen. Mind
you, they didn't all arrive at the same time, or from the same
direction. In February the flocks usually consisted of about 6 - 10
birds. Prior to that we'd only see a few at a time - sometimes only a
single bird. This morning one was doing that bizarre run-in-a-circle
routine while another watched.
I read Bob's NA Bird Report - great report! (I realized then I neglected
to mention the BB magpie we saw the day after the GBBC ended.) Anyhow,
it was the matter of range I found so interesting. We hadn't seen a
magpie up in this area till two years ago. We now see magpies on a
regular basis in town.
People living at Big Island and Bakers Narrows (not far from here on the
Manitoba side) have been telling Harvey that the owls have been hooting
for a couple weeks now. They don't know which owls, but say they're owls
nonetheless. We still haven't braved the wind to check it out (I know
it's windier down there, but at night our curvy roads with their puny
shoulders are crawling with gravel, ore and logging trucks, and it's
best to be able to hear them coming.) My brother who lives in the hills
just north of Luck Lake says the Great Horned Owls are calling.
Harvey & Brenda Schmidt