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Late April in the Bog—Winter Birds, Summer Birds

April 28, 2013 Category: ,

I spent half a day in the Bog on April 26th, a glorious sunny day and over 50 degrees…probably the first time since early November it had been that warm. Snow still covered most of the landscape but the willow flats were about half bare. Deep in the Black Spruce bogs it was “snowshoe-only” conditions with 24-30 inches of snow. Of course, I didn’t bring my snowshoes so at one point off McDavitt Road I was thigh-deep in snow…A real slog. I checked our two “Great Gray Owl” nests but nothing was using them…yet. A few winter birds were still around. A late flock of Redpolls wheeled overhead before flying on. An Arctic-nesting Rough-legged Hawk was still hunting, soaring over Sax Rd. And a Northern Shrike was lingering along Cranberry. All three species will be heading back to Canada soon.

But migrants were everywhere! Robins and juncos littered the roadsides, while in the fields I noted Killdeer, Kestrels and even a couple of Tree Swallows. Some small streams were open while the lakes and rivers were still mostly frozen. I surprised two Wood Duck pairs in a creek along McDavitt. A great day to be in the Sax-Zim Bog!

Willows are in peak glory. Their bark is blazing reds and yellows now.

Golden-crowned Kinglets were singing and actively defending territories already. This guy even threw up his red middle crest.

A Rough-legged Hawk soars over Sax Road…They will be heading back to the Arctic soon.

Is there a prettier duck? Wood Duck male spotted in a small creek along McDavitt.

Love is in the air! Killdeer pair mating in a farmer’s field along CR201 north of Meadowlands.

Fox Sparrows were common at the Owl Avenue feeders. Though we quit filling the feeders a month ago, juncos and sparrows were still feeding on seed that is just now melting out of the snow.