Thursday, October 28, 2010

Robins? this late?

I've been trying to catch robins for the past month or so. I'd not seen many of them migrating, in fact I'd not seen any of late. But, I have heard the occasional chirp. Yesterday walking the dogs late in the afternoon, a whole flock - at least a couple of dozen robins flew past me along a hedgerow and landed in the farmer's reaped soybean field.

The ground was soft and wet where they were grouped, obviously perfect for worm and bug-eating birds. But try as I might I couldn't get close enough for a photo. This time it wasn't the dogs that startled them and had them flitting into the deep bush that bounds the field. The dogs were behind me and waiting quietly (that was a surprise, maybe training is paying off afterall!) It seemed the slightest movement or the sound of my camera turning on had them in the air. Whatever, they were properly skittish... rightly so, since this is dangerous territory with tons of predators - including feathered ones - around.

You can imagine my delight when two of about 10 robins hung about in the tree and allowed me to get close enough to get a shot of sorts.

Now I don't have a ton of lenses nor do I have the flexibility in my little Nikon digital camera, not like my old Pentax with my zoom lenses and the ability to get quite close - (Hmmm maybe I should get that camera fixed if I'm serious about photography) - But at least you can tell these are robins.

Each year for the past eight or so, I go on the Christmas bird count with my 90 + year old birding friend. When we gather at the end of the day usually there are at least a couple of robins and bluebirds included in the count, so I know they hang about. But I've not seen this many. I thought this gang was headed south, but they flew back north and into deeper woods when I walked along the edge of another field. Maybe they are getting lots of berries and other foods and don't have to go south yet? Maybe we're not going to have a truly severe winter this year? Maybe they are just enjoying the Indian summer that is blessing this area at the moment. In any case, I'm going to use them as "bell-weather" birds, to let me know what's coming. When I don't wee them or hear them any more I'll know they've either left the area or gone into the deep copses and valleys where they'll winter more easily.

A follow-up to my blog of yesterday about ducks... when I wrote it I hadn't heard the dreadful news out of Fort McMurray about the hundreds of ducks and geese drowning or having to be euthanized because of landing on one of Syncrude's tailings ponds. On CBC this morning Synecrude claims there is no need for alarm, the pond is fine.
Shame on big oil!!! These tailings ponds are a disgrace! I'm not going to go on a rant - though I feel like it. Suffice it to say that I endorse the actions of all environmentally conscious organizations and individuals who are trying to make real change in the way this world functions - to protect EVERYTHING in this world - not just profits.


  1. That is a surprise to see Robbins so far north so late in the season. Glad you were able to capture their photo. Thanks for dropping by my blog and I hope to see you back regularly.

  2. Hey Scott - a neighbour told me she'd seen many robins as well - so while we're in the "near north" I'm hoping that they are telling us we'll have a mild winter... love the snow, don't like the blowing cold...I know you have that in Utah as well. Love your blog.