[Ontbirds] OFO Holland Marsh Trip

RON FLEMING flemingron at rogers.com
Sat Jan 11 16:54:48 EST 2014

After our province-wide deep freeze, the sudden spike in local temps created perfect conditions today - not for birding, unfortunately, but for a thick, binocular-stifling fog that fell like a wool blanket over the fields of the often bird-friendly Holland Marsh. 

Species like Snowy Owl, Northern Shrike, and Snow Bunting that have been relatively easy to find over the last few days were impossible to locate until the latter species made a much-appreciated appearance at our very last stop along Ravenshoe Road.

At times the veil of grey kept our group of 25 from seeing any further than 40 metres! If birds were not at the roadside they were rendered virtually invisible. The three Snowies I saw yesterday afternoon in those same fields may well have been short distances from our cars but we had no way of discovering that.

We got lucky at some local feeders, finding a White-crowned Sparrow, American Tree Sparrows, and a Hairy Woodpecker, but all in all it was an almost laughably unproductive day. 

If I'm not mistaken, our grand total of 15 species may have set a new record for least-birds-seen on an OFO outing. If this is the case, it is a dubious distinction that I beg someone to "better" ASAP!

Still, I met some very nice people whom I have not crossed paths with before and I had a surprisingly fun day inside a van full of  local birders whose company l always enjoy. It was, to be philosophical, a character builder!

Thanks to all who came out. Your patience and good attitude kept me from throwing things. 

Ron Fleming, Newmarket

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