Field Journal #3 - M. Joyall

This week I headed for Shelburne Bay Park on Sunday (3/7) and walked along the Ti-Haul trail which heads south/southwest from the Shelburne Bay Parking lot. I started at 2:45pm and was out until about 4:50pm. The skies were clear, temperature was 28 F, and there was a wind of 7pmh out of the NNW. The trail there is an out and back so I retraced my steps on my way back to the car. The habitat switches between areas of mixed coniferous / deciduous forest and open marshy areas - the marsh areas have limited vegetation, mostly tall grasses.

As we set off down the trail, we immediately heard and then saw an American Crow take off from a tree and fly over a field to our right, quickly moving out of sight. Shortly after we set out my birding partner, Emma, spied a hawk zoom over our heads. He perched high up in a conifer about 40 yards down the trail form us. We were not sure what species it was, but jotted down a few observations (noted in the species list). He kept tabs on us as he scanned the ground below, presumably for a meal. About 10 minutes down the trail we heard a Black-capped Chickadee. We found it in a Red Pine about 40 feet of the trail. It was hopping from branch to branch and appeared to be picking at the remaining cones left of the tree. I imagine try to score a meal before another cold night. From what I observed, there were limited food sources in the area. While berries and nuts are plentiful in other seasons, pinecones were one of the only currently available food sources that I noticed.

A real treat lay in store. As we were observing the Chickadee, we heard a woodpecker in the distance. After following its calls to the other side of the trial we found a Hairy Woodpecker drumming high up in a deciduous tree! While watching the Hairy drum a considerable amount of biomass out of the tree - chips and barking flying around the place - we spotted a Downy Woodpecker drumming in a Musclewood tree about 20 yards from the tree that the Hairy was in. This was my first time observing a Downy up close and I did not realize how tiny their drill holes are. We watched these two hard at work for food for the better part of half an hour. I was playing with my phone and binoculars trying to get a decent photo by placing the phone camera lens against the binocular eye hole. On our hike out we could heard Black-capped Chickadees in the distance.

SNAG Patrol! While keeping snags in mind along the walk, I noticed many along the way. I suspect this in part due to the marshland areas advancing upon the forest near the trail. The snags that stuck out most to me were a few that we found near the woodpeckers. One was a very small conifer with a small hole that looked like a decent home for a Downy and another larger deciduous tree with a large hole that could house a larger woodpecker or other bird. I thoroughly enjoyed rapping on a few deadwoods with a stick, but I did not have luck rousing any possible inhabitants. Snags provide an important place to roost and also provide protection from predators on the ground. Considering all of the snags I noted along the walk, there must be some owls in the area, all of the snags would provide them a great habitat!

Great walk and better birding. An awesome afternoon of Ornotherapy to kick off the week.

Species List:
American Crow
Hawk --> not sure what species (yellow claws, black 'goggles', brown spotted plummage, yellow beak)
Black-capped Chickadee
Hairy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

Posted by youngtormund youngtormund, March 07, 2021 23:55


Photos / Sounds



Downy Woodpecker Dryobates pubescens




March 7, 2021 03:45 PM EST


Observed drumming in a Musclewood tree on south side of Ti-Haul trail just past the midpoint of the trail if you set out from the Shelburne Bay parking lot.


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