Garth Riley lead a smaller than usual group of hardy participants on a cold & wet walk at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, on March 25th. It was cold with a light rain falling most of the time: not great weather to be out, and many of the birds seemed to agree. Despite the early (false) start to Spring last month, we didn’t find many of the early spring migrants often present by this date. We did see a few though, including a Tree Swallow, and a Double Crested Cormorant - both flyovers. We also saw the first winter male King Eider who has spent much of the winter here. The compensation for not getting close-up views of him, was that we actually got to see him fly: not something he does often.
The park is known as a great place to see grebes in the early spring. The numbers are just starting to build, and we found 3 species. Normally they would all be migrants, but in recent years, some of the Red-necked Grebes have stayed in the park to breed. Most however, will carry on to the prairies before they stop to nest. Both courting and territorial behavior can be seen and heard in the park at this time of year.
By the end of the walk we managed to find 31 species of birds. Here’s the list: