Actually 2011 started (and at the time of writing continues) gloomily.  The weather should be clear, bright cold and snowy but this year the snow is thin, the temperature today is above freezing and it’s foggy and grey.  Pretty depressing in fact but at least it means things can only get better.

We were, however, cheered by a huge flock of Goldfinch at the feeders, accompanied by three Pine Siskins, a winter species that has been in short supply recently – but we are still awaiting the Redpolls.  Our records show that these chaps, who used to be regular winter visitors were not seen once in the garden during 2010.  The weather and the subsequent effect on bird appearances is very peculiar and something untoward is clearly going on.

Anyway – the past year saw 47 species of birds in the garden and my Arboretum Big Year (ArBY) produced 97 species (I’ll put the list at then end of this posting for those who like that sort of thing) – it could have been better if I had been able to spend more time working on it as I know that Chris who works there full time as the naturalist managed several more than I did.  There were some goodies on the list, however, including the “it shouldn’t really be here” Red bellied Woodpecker for the third year running, two species of owls and 19 species of warbler.

I’m not planning on setting myself any birding challenges year.  In May I take over the helm as President of Bird Protection Quebec for two years and I suspect that that will eat into the time available for actually getting out and looking at birds – which is fine, as my birding these days is as much about conservation politics as actually listing, fun as that continues to be.

One thing that will be accomplished this year – in fact has already started – is the revision of the birding site information on my www.sparroworks.ca website and a greater attention being paid to actually posting things in this on-line journal – mostly for my benefit, but also for that of those few chums who tell me that they like to read it and so keep in touch.  Thank you all for your thoughts and for not wandering off muttering about me, or at least not within my hearing.

The other task I shall complete during 2011 is to cross the Ts and dots the Is on the family history that I have been working at off and on for some years.  I have my ancestry traced back to a Charles G who was born in the village of Longford, Derbyshire in 1667 and know that two more recent relatives were transported for life to Tasmania for some very petty crimes … no murderers or anything interesting like that however.

Tomorrow is the Hudson Christmas Bird Count again – the first time the alarm clock will have been needed for ten days … And then it’s back to work via a visit to the dentist – and so the world goes on.  Happy New Year everyone.

Now for some photographs from the Christmas just past and a couple from today and we’ll follow that with a list of the 97 ArBY bird species.  Enjoy.

2010 Arboretum Bird List
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Gadwall
Mallard
Common Merganser
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Merlin
Killdeer
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Great horned Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Veery
Swainson’s Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Bohemian Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Ovenbird
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson’s Warbler
Canada Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow