Yesterday we bumped into some local birders who invited us to a gathering at Carol and Fred Hummerstones' property. This is the spring bird count weekend for the Cold Lake naturalists group. We enjoyed some great local hospitality, a fine BBQ, and met some new friends. Many thanks to the local naturalists and particularly the Hummerstones for a wonderful evening!
We also volunteered to help out with the count this weekend. On Saturday morning again we got up early and headed to the west side of Cold Lake. Today the name really did fit! The songbird action was good early in the morning, but soon slowed down as the east winds picked up. The temp never got much over 6 C (about 42 F) for the morning and it was overcast and windy. Fortunately the rain held off until around 3 in the afternoon and the SNOW until about 5:30 pm!!!
Despite the tough conditions, we had some incredible birds. No doubt the highlight of the day for us was scoping Cold Lake along the west side. The cold front grounded some Arctic bound breeders. We estimated no fewer than 200 SABINE'S GULLS, plus 3 JAEGERS (1 definite PARASITIC), and 5 PACIFIC LOONS!!! The birds were too far for binocs but with our scopes we got good views. Fortunately we were able to contact Ted Hindmarch, the count compiler so he could join us and add SABINE'S GULL to his life list.
The best photo opp of the day was provided by a male THREE-TOED WOODPECKER that we watched feeding for about twenty minutes. It was unconcerned by our presence. Below are a single photo and a video clip of the woodpecker.