Still the depths of winter, but already the days are getting longer.
Temperatures may be cold, and there’s still a lot of rain, but many of our resident birds begin to sing. They are already hopeful for spring.
While Cackling Geese seem to land less often in the park than in November and December, they are often still flying around. Greater White-fronted Geese, and even occasional Snow Geese are possible, as are swans. Other waterbirds are also around, including Common Loons, as many as four species of grebe, Double-crested Cormorants, and American Coots.
This month is the best month for spotting Dunlin, a small shorebird, flying in their synchronized flocks, overhead or over the lake. As they bank and turn, the flock will alternately appear dark, and then flash to white.
There are seven species of sparrow commonly seen in the winter –Fox, Song, Lincoln’s, White-crowned, and Golden-crowned Sparrows, as well as Dark-eyed Junco and Spotted Towhee. White-throated Sparrows may turn up among flocks of Golden-crowned Sparrows. Even more uncommonly, Savannah Sparrows, American Tree Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows may be present.
Rare birds for January have included Tundra Swans, Eurasian Wigeon, Long-eared Owl, Swamp Sparrow, and Common Redpoll.
Long-eared Owl, 2011-01-20
American Tree Sparrow, 2009-01-29. Photo by Ryan Merrill.
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