Posted | filed under Weekly Reports.

I am writing my article tonight while I am out owl banding. Not going to lie, I am kind of hoping that I will provoke Murphy’s Law by assuming that it will be slow enough for me to get this done on time, thus making it crazy busy. Over the past two weeks it has been super ‘mooney’, super windy or both and I have banded less than five owls. Aside from the dullness of not catching anything, I am keenly aware that with every passing night of poor conditions I am one more night closer to the end of the monitoring season. Saw-whet owls will be done passing through the area in just over a week (with the exception of maybe a few very late stragglers) and it would be nice if I could have a real shot at catching some of them before it is too late. After October 31 I really don’t care what the weather does – it can snow-nado and it will have my blessing.

Well I just caught two owls… Does this mean my plan is working? Sure, two isn’t crazy busy, but it is a start. I am also open to the possibility that it isn’t my provocation of Murphy that is responsible for the catching of said owls – but rather the perfect weather outside. It is dark and calm tonight. Wonderful conditions for owling. On the subject of Murphy and his Law: I am not the only birder who firmly believes in various superstitions regarding birding – I have, in-fact, never met a serious birder who wasn’t superstitious about some aspect of bird-watching/catching. As a group I think birders may be worse than baseball players…

With songbird migration over and owls being generally slow, Richard and I were forced to take a little road trip this week to get our birding fix. We drove up to McLennan to visit the Kimiwan bird walk and also walked to the viewpoints on Winagami Lake. We didn’t see a huge diversity of birds up there, but we did see hundreds of American coots, mallards, common goldeneye, bufflehead and even a single tundra swan, western grebe and eared grebe. Sometimes people think that one lake or lakeshore is like every other lake/lakeshore, but that couldn’t be less true. Lesser Slave Lake is definitely home to lots of waterfowl and the forests along its edges support a huge variety of songbirds – but in our immediate area it lacks in rich flood plains, reedy backwaters and wetland shores. Both Kimiwan Lake and Winagami are smaller, shallower bodies of water that have extensive associated wetlands making them absolutely spectacular places for waterfowl – far better than our lake I’m sorry to say. I know I am often guilty of being a lazy birder – I live in an area of great birding so I don’t make the effort to go find places of phenomenal birding. I encourage any birder who is caught in the rut of birding around home to go out and discover a nearby treasures and explore a different habitat.