Maplewood: March 14th 2010

With the forecast calling for rain I wasn’t expecting much in the way of activity but luckily the worst of the weather was just a couple of brief showers and the birds were out and about as usual.

After watching a mixed flock of Bushtits, Black-capped Chickadees, and a single Ruby-crowned Kinglet near the entrance, I made my way over to the mudflats. The waterline and, consequently, most of the birds were too far out for me to confidently identify everything with my binoculars so I decided to check out the rest of Maplewood before finishing up at the mudflats. One bird of note, however, flew high above the area in an easterly direction; a Red-tailed Hawk.

In the trees on the western bank of the Old Barge Channel I found my best bird(s) of the day. A flock of eight Red Crossbills were perched at the top of two trees not far from the footbridge. This species feeds on conifer seeds; not something in abundance at Maplewood as there aren’t many trees of this type on the property when compared to the surrounding area (1). The nomadic nature of the species, a result of fluctuations in the seed crop, also contributes to the irregularity of birds at this location (1). As such, the Wild Bird Trust’s checklist describes Red Crossbill as rare throughout the year.

Elsewhere on the west side a group of five American Goldfinches were feeding on the seeds of a tree near the West Pond and at one point this large group of gulls circled overhead before heading west…

Back at the mudflats the usual ducks, gulls, and Northwestern Crows were feeding, preening and resting much closer to the viewing area than when I had first checked in. After twenty minutes or so of observation a lone Herring Gull buzzed past and I decided to call it a day.

Reference:

  1. Adkisson, Curtis S. 1996. Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/bna/species/256doi:10.2173/bna.256
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