MFNC Outing – Birding Arnprior and Environs February 17, 2024

On a cold but bright day, seven club members headed out by vehicle to discover and explore some of local birding areas.  Members were provided with a map showing sites ranging from in-town (Arnprior) to fields and forest edges in Packenham.

As the temperature had dropped significantly the night before some of the waterways which had been open and attracting birds the day before, were unfortunately frozen over at the start of our outing.  Much later in the day, some of those had warmed up enough to open up.  So, the lesson here is to swing back to areas in the afternoon which may have warmed up.

Feeders are an unlikely stop on most of our club outings but for birding, they can be very productive (especially when the homeowner is known and invites you to her prime viewing area).  Many of our regular winter birds were seen there:  American Goldfinch in great numbers; Dark-eyed Juncos, American Tree Sparrow, Blue Jays, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers to name a few.  We also had the thrill of seeing a Northern Shrike fly into a tree, flush the many Goldfinches and force the poor little Downy Woodpecker to glue itself to the tree until it felt that the Shrike was safely away.

Snow Buntings were spotted in their known areas and a pair of Red-tailed Hawks were spotted together.  They will be Atlassed for the current Ontario Breeding Bird Survey.  Seventeen species were recorded over our 3.5 hour 54 Kilometer route.  Three more Red-tailed Hawks were seen elsewhere but no other raptors were seen.  The Peregrine Falcon that hangs out on the steeple of St John Church and the Bald Eagles at the marina and further up the Madawaska were not seen.

Thanks again to Betty for all her hard work on developing the route for this outing.  While we did not see everything that we hoped for, now that those spots are known, we will get out and do more exploring.

A full list of our sightings can be seen on the ebird checklist:  https://ebird.org/checklist/S161896595

Hope to see you out soon.  If you have any suggestions for field trips or leaders, don’t hesitate to let me know via the field trip email: mfncfieldtrips@gmail.ca