Purple Finches near the Bruce Trail: December 2020

While heading out to a wooded section of the Bruce Trail, I stopped to have a look at a bird on a wire:

Mourning Dove

My attention was immediately captured by hundreds of small birds in a corn field where the field meets the woods. Out I walked (probably should have done up my coat and put on my hat) to see what they were.

On the ground were many distant Juncos:

Dark-eyed Juncos

But in the trees were dozens of little birds that were showing some red colour. Redpolls? Each time that I got close, they flew further away but I was able to get these photos of Purple Finches.

Purple Finches
Purple Finches
Purple Finches
Purple Finches
Purple Finches

Like Redpolls, Purple Finches vary considerably in numbers from year to year and from place to place.

Purple Finches
Purple Finches
Purple Finch

Adult males look a bit like House Sparrows dipped in raspberry sauce.

Purple Finches

In many years of feeding birds in the backyard, I have had ONE Purple Finch so it was a thrill to see so many today.

Purple Finch
Purple Finch

The section of the Bruce Trail which I hiked meant a lot to this gentleman:

Some botany:

Zigzag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)
Hop-hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Marginal Fern
Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia)
Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis)
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
Black Oak leaf ((l) and White Oak leaf (r)
Hop-hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
Basswood (Tilia americana)
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana)


There was a new frail yellow moon to-night —
I wish you could have had it for a cup
With stars like dew to fill it to the brim.     – Sara Teasdale (1884–1933)

Miles Hearn

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