Birding at the Riverlands

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After getting out of the house, just before the butt-crack of noon, we drove to downtown Clayton and had brunch at First Watch.  Afterwards we drove up to West Alton and the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary.  We expected to see Trumpeter Swans, which we did, but not anywhere near their seasonal high numbers (~500).  We also hoped to see the first of the Bald Eagles, but were disappointed.  Maybe we’ll see them in a few more weeks or maybe even sooner, if this cold snap continues.  We did see a Peregrine Falcon and would have gotten a much better picture of it, if I hadn’t rolled-down the car window and spooked it first.  None of the pictures with this post are as good as would wish them to be, but hey, it is only the beginning of the winter birding season.  The following list is our bird count for the day:

  • Great Blue Heron (2)
  • Trumpeter Swans (10)
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Canvasback (male)
  • Goldeneye (many)
  • Canada Geese (many)
  • Mallards (many)

Speaking of birds, on Saturday, Anne put up her collection of bird feeders in the backyard.  We haven’t noticed any customers yet, but it usually takes them a few days to find the feeders every year.  This year I have an idea for getting up-close and personal photographs of the little birds, when they come to feed.  A friend at work has told me about a wiki called Canon Hacker (CHDK).  No, it has nothing to do with Julian Assange or Wiki-Leaks.  What Canon Hacker offers is help in reprogramming your Canon point-and-shoot camera.  The instructions don’t seem too complicated and look totally safe.  All that it involves is placing files on your camera’s SD-card, so it is totally reversible by just removing the files.  One of the features that Canon Hacker offers to add to your camera is motion detection.  With this feature, I should be able to mount the camera on the feeder and then just sit back and wait for the birds to arrive.  Stay tuned for the results of this experiment.

3 thoughts on “Birding at the Riverlands

  1. The creek in our subdivision for years had a “mated” pair of ducks (one was obviously domestic stock – all-white; its mate, as best I could guess, was a hybrid domestic-mallard mix) that never had ducklings. It finally reached a point where they were getting so aggressive at pedestrians Summer 2009, that they were apparently “disappeared”. A few wild mallards have been seen recently, but haven’t taken up permanent residence …. yet. Otherwise, our little water habitat is surprisingly un-fowled.

    Interested in hearing about your Canon-hacking experiment!

  2. Karen, since your waterways are un-fowled, I guess then that they are potable too?

    Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. 😉

    We use to have quite a problem with aggressive Canada geese both at work and in the Park. In the Park they hired goose wranglers and in the summertime, when they were fledging, they would round them up. They were found a “good home” and their meat was donated to a food bank.

    At work, they paved over the “ponds” that had been attracting the geese. These waters were hardly potable, whether or not they were fowled. They once caught on fire, but that never stopped the geese. Paving the ponds and issuing the ground crews men directives to use their leaf blowers has pretty much mitigated the geese problem at work too. Besides the airport has a natural aversion to fowling.

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