Feb 072015
 

Yesterday, we saw our first White-tailed Deer, six healthy looking animals checking out the bird feeders as they crossed our property, heading for the river. In the eight years we have been here, we have regularly seen groups of deer throughout the winter months, often with higher numbers, but this winter, until yesterday, we had only seen the tracks of a lone deer, with what looked like a Coyote’s track following the same route. Since we haven’t had heavy snowfalls, possibly the deer have been staying within the wooded areas of Warsaw Caves rather than touring their regular deer yard. However, last winter was a hard one for the deer, so I am wondering whether their numbers might be down. I think I have read that a female can re-absorb the fetus if she is malnourished due to a difficult winter. Then there is the possibility of an increased population of Coyotes taking their toll on the deer. Have any of your correspondence noted any decline in the local deer population? (NOTE: No, I have not heard of any decline. D.M.)

Back in December, I wrote to you with news that we had 21 Common Redpolls on or below our niger seed feeders. Since then, the numbers have climbed somewhat, varying between 25 and 45, but today, February 6, we counted at least 60. Some of the birds have also shown an interest in our large turning circle after it was gritted, possibly eating some of the gritting mixture, though I don’t know what part of the mix is attracting them.

Some winters we’ve had high numbers of goldfinches, other years the Pine Siskins, but this year, for us, is definitely the winter of the redpolls.

Stephenie Armstrong

Common Redpoll - male - Tim Dyson

Common Redpoll – male – Tim Dyson

White-tailed Deer -Karl Egressy

White-tailed Deer -Karl Egressy

Dec 102014
 

On December 7, we had 21 Common Redpolls on or below the niger seed feeder, along with one lone American Goldfinch. Recently, we’ve only seen a few goldfinches and Pine Siskins, so possibly this will be the winter of the redpolls, as was suggested in the Examiner.

Stephenie and Peter Armstrong, Warsaw

Common Redpoll - male - Tim Dyson

Common Redpoll – male – Tim Dyson

Oct 132014
 

Yesterday, (the 12th of October), while walking a road north of Belmont Lake, a small flock of eight Common Redpolls flew overhead. I pished them down onto a fencerow, where they stayed for a short time before flying off again. I checked Ron Pittaway`s 2014 Winter Finch Forecast on the Ontario Field Ornithologists site, and yes, he says we should expect to see them this year. So, I guess it has begun.

There have been many White-crowned Sparrows around for more than a week now, with a smaller number of White-throated Sparrows. I can`t remember seeing so many White-crowneds before, and in such large groups either – 30 to 40 together in some cases.

After a dry spell of about a week, I just saw my 211th Monarch (see photo below) of 2014 a few days ago.
After seeing only 32 during all of 2013, I am happy to see that for now at least, their numbers seem to be way up from last year`s dismal showing.

I have not kept as busy of late, watching the autumn raptor migration as I was back in September, but will soon report the few highlights since my last raptor posting.

Tim Dyson
Cordova Mines

(Notes:  Fred Ford of Oshawa also reports Common Redpolls. They have been coming to his feeder since October 8. A few small flocks of another winter finch, the Pine Siskin, have also been seen locally in the past week. Like Tim Dyson, I also had a late Monarch butterfly. I saw mine on Oct. 11. – D. Monkman)

Common Redpoll - male - Tim Dyson

Common Redpoll – male – Tim Dyson

Monarch # 211 - 2014 - Tim Dyson

Monarch # 211 – 2014 – Tim Dyson