I was leading a field trip (ie: guided morning birding walk) in the arboretum earlier today. A gloriously sunny, but cool, morning. Birding was hard but we managed to find a satisfying dozen-plus-one species altogether which is par for the course at this time of the year unless you are very lucky. The walking was enjoyable – just being out in the forest, with or without birds, on a morning like this is a treat for the soul. Birds were there but reticent about showing themselves – even the station on the Canada 150 trail below Chalet Pruche where Chickadees are usually lining up to take seeds from outstretched hands was without its usual gang of pirates. One American Goldfinch had a nasty case of avian conjunctivitis.

Wayne and I had been encouraging people with the possibility of owls (not seen, no surprise but they could have been which was the point – and have been in the past) and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. The RBWO was added to the checklist – but sadly, only a few minutes after most people had departed at the end of the walk. It was coming from the adjacent bird banding station where it has been reported a couple of times in recent weeks.

A few pictures – not of birds, but simply scenes from the winter forest.