Olympic Woods – Rusty Blackbirds, Tufted Titmouse

January 2, 2016

Olympic Woods (behind Olympic Park Rink) – Dundas, Ontario

On yet again another overcast day our trip to Olympic Woods started with a hearty pancake breakfast at Denningers (Burlington).

Target species: Pileated Woodpecker, Rusty Blackbird, Tufted Titmice

As this was our first trip to the Olympic Woods, it was wise to tote along the following instructions, culled from a report to the Hamilton Naturalist Club,

To find that feeder area walk from parking lot behind arena to trail on east side of fenced garden (you’re on the right path if you have to step over a log right after leaving the dirt road). Just past the start of the woodlot a path on your left goes into woodlot, follow that until you reach area with large bushes & tangles on both sides (path twists & turns) Feeder area is under bushes on the left side (there’s a coconut hanging from tree, find that & you’re definitely in right place).

Le coconut

Le coconut

If you’re coming from the east side / creek area. Enter woodlot along trail & look for rusty barrel on ground & follow path that goes past it westward toward community garden. 2/3 of the way up feeder bush will be on your right.”

Once we linked with some very helpful birders, we had no difficulty locating one of the two Tufted Titmice, rarities for this area.

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse with peanut

Tufted Titmouse with peanut

The park is bird-rich. Lots of American Tree Sparrows.

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

A good number of Red-bellied Woodpeckers.

Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)

Four photographers/birders were steadfastly tracking a White-crowned Sparrow and a Fox Sparrow, both skulking in a thicket. As I honestly didn’t feel like working for a photograph I stood off to the side taking in the surroundings/daydreaming. Almost 10 minutes later the Fox Sparrow popped out of the underbrush, landing on a nearby branch for a bit of a rest.  That’s how it goes sometimes.

Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

Ultimately, we moved along the path to the wood lot near the hydro pond. Shortly thereafter five Rusty Blackbirds appeared.  Wishing we had a wee bit of sun to show their true beauty.

Five Rusty Blackbirds

Five Rusty Blackbirds

Foraging Rusty Blackbird

Foraging Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird on the ground

Rusty Blackbird on the ground

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird

Mountsberg Conservation Area Reservoir

Target Species: Northern Pintail

Mining e-bird I discovered we could view waterfowl at Mountsberg’s reservoir without the need of entering the park.  There are two lookouts, one on Leslie Road West and the other at the end of Concession Road 14E.

We spent some time at the Concession Road lookout.  Given the ice formation the waterfowl were some distance from the shore.

Ice formation

Mountsberg Reservoir from Concession Road 14E

Gadwall in flight

Gadwall in flight

Distant photograph of Gadwalls, Hooded Merganser and Canada Geese

Distant photograph of Gadwalls, Hooded Merganser and Canada Geese

As we were leaving we were met with this playful dog, Pitchu, and his owners.  He played fetch with all but me. I abstained.  Not a fan of canine goober.

Pitchu is a Shih Tzu and Pitbull mix.

Pitchu playing fetch

Pitchu playing fetch

Recalling a Jug is a Jack Russell and Pug mix, I asked the name of his breed. We were not prepared for the answer!

Bull-Schi------ (extra dashes for decency)

Bull-Shi——

*Sigh*  And that’s how it goes sometimes!  LOL!!

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