Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 14, 2012 birding Abaco

The Bahama Warbler, another endemic  is found on Abaco 

Bahama Warbler

Bahama Yellowthroat 

Todd, Dave and Don after a successful morning in Abaco National Park. 

Hairy Woodpecker

Rose-throated Parrots

February 12-13, 2012 birding in the Bahamas

Spent a few days birding in the Bahamas in search of 5 endemics. On Providence Island, Nassau we were able to find the Bahama Woodstar and a few Carribean specialties. 

Spotted Sandpiper overwintering in the Bahamas

A  Greater Antillean Grackle in Nassau. 

One of the 5 endemic species in the Bahamas, a Bahama Woodstar. We were able to get great views of a few in the Botanic Gardens. 

The White-crowned Pigeon is a Carribean specialty. 

A Limpkin feeding in the gardens. 

The Eurasian Collared Dove  is very common on the Bahamas. 

Wintering North American warblers were a common sight including this Ovenbird. 

The Carribean Dove was easiest to find at the Retreat. 

Common Ground Dove

Sora Rail 

Western Palm Warblers were very common on the islands.

A female Bahama Woodstar feeding.

The White-cheeked Pintail is another Carribean specialty.

Friday, February 10, 2012

February 10, 2012 Gray Partridge in Kanata

Hi Ontbirders
This afternoon around 2:00 p.m. I observed 9 Gray Partridge near the corner Terry Fox Drive and Campeau Drive. The partridge were feeding beside the Staples store where there is exposed grass along the buildings foundation on the west side. I also observed a couple of flocks of Bohemian Waxwing 50 and 30 along Kanata Ave near Campeau Drive. There was 1 Northern Shrike near the corner of Richardson Side Road and Huntmar Drive. This is the 10th shrike I've observed in the past week in eastern Ontario.

Directions: This area is north of the Maple Grove Road GRPA site and bordered by Huntmar Road,, Richardson Side Road, Terry Fox Drive and Hwy. 417.

I had just finishing shopping at Staples and as I drove out of the parking lot I noticed a flock of Gray Partridge. They were feeding along the exposed grass on the west side of the store. I didn't have my camera with me but managed a photo with my iPhone.   

February 9, 2012 Northern Shrikes on the move north?

The Northern Shrike is a regular winter visitor to eastern Ontario. The first individuals are usually observed in late October and early November. Over the course of the winter there numbers can vary as birds continue to move south in search of food. Over the past week I've observed 10+ Northern Shrikes in areas that I haven't seen them during the winter so far. I one case the shrike was singing. That was one of the few times I've heard Northern Shrike vocalize south of their breeding grounds. Are these birds on the move south or north already. Maybe just in search of food.

Northern Shrikes appear to be on the move.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February 7, 2012 More Wolfe and Amherst Island birding

A male Snowy Owl sits on the only available patch of ice in the area.  

It was interesting watching this individual from the roadside.  It sat for a while and then began to waddle across the ice.  

Over 40 + years of birding this was the first time i'd observed a Snowy Owl actually walking. Most times you encounter them on fence posts, Telephone poles, barns, hay bails, but always just sitting and looking. 

As we watched it waddling it reminded my more of a penguin than an owl.  

The owl finally took flight but only flew a short distance and landed.  It stayed there for another hour . 

On Amherst Island we located 2 Snowy Owls at the east end of the island.

This juvenile  female Snowy Owl was well marked. 

A Snowy Owl on ice! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February 5, 2012 Birding Wolfe Island and the Kingston area

The birding on Wolfe island was very good today with a total of 9 Snowy Owls. Again it was amazing  to see no snow cover, felt like spring time!  The hawk numbers were low but we saw 1 Cooper's Hawk, 1 Merlin, 1 American Kestrel, 8 Rough-legged Hawk, 6 Red-tailed Hawk, 8 Northern Harrier and 3 Bald Eagle. With the lake being wide open, water birds were not concentrated. Highlights included 1 Common Loon off the south shore of Wolfe Island. Back on the mainland at Elevator Bay there was a good concentration of ducks including Redhead, Canvasback, both Lesser and Great Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, and Hooded Merganser. Also in the area were 350+ Gadwall, 9 American Wigeon, 9 American Coot and 1 Belted Kingfisher.  

With no snow cover its hard to hide.  

Snowy Owl in flight. 

A Snowy Owl, living in harmony? 

Bald Eagles continue to increase across eastern Ontario. 

The Northern Shrike is a regular winter visitor to eastern Ontario.

The Merlin is a rare winter resident in eastern Ontario. 

In the Kingston area the Gadwall can sometimes be one of the most common puddle ducks during the winter months.

A male Common Merganser  in flight.

February 4, 2012 Eastern Ontario birding: Ste.Rose-Cornwall-Amherst Island

Had a great day birding various areas in eastern Ontario. The first stop was near Ste. Rose where we observed 3 Snowy owls, 2 being very tame. Also in the area was a flock of 70+ Horned Lark feeding along the roadside. The biggest surprise was the concentration of gulls at the Lafleche Rd landfill.  The gulls were loafing in a field on the north side of the road. There were 2,450+ gulls, 1500 Herring , 900 Great Black-backed, 38 Glaucous, 26 Iceland and 1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. This is now the best landfill site for gulls in eastern Ontario. Historically, The Trail Road Landfill Site, formerly Nepean Dump was the best area for gull watching. Our next stop was along the St.Lawrence at Cornwall where few birds were seen and the river was wide open. Along the Long Sault Parkway at Moulinette Island, a Barred Owl was observed sunning itself at noon..  
 Along Hwy 401, 2 Northern Shrike and 8 Red-tailed Hawks were counted.
The final stop of the day was at Amherst Island where I was amazed at the lack of snow and no ice on the lake. It looked more like a spring day in early April. In the Owl Woods there was 1 Northern Saw-whet Owl and 1 Long-eared Owl. Many of the trails are ice covered and very slippery.  On the KFN property, 1 Snowy Owl was sitting on the most eastern Osprey platform while another was observed along South Shore Road. With calm conditions on Lake Ontario and excellent visibility we counted 7 Common Loon and 3 Horned Grebe which are rare during the winter months. Few hawks were noted as we drove the island roads and counted 1 Northern Harrier, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, and our fifth owl species of the day, Short-eared Owl. 

Directions: Lafleche Rd landfill is located at the dead end of Lafleche Road. From the 417 take road 138 south, turning right on Lafleche road which is the first road south of the 417. The dump is at the end of the dead end road, however, the gulls are best seen loafing in the snow covered field north of the the road. Do not enter the landfill site.

Directions: Amherst Island: Located 18 km. west of Kingston. Exit off Hwy. 401 at exit 593 (County Rd. 4, Camden East) and drive south to the very end (Millhaven). Turn right on Hwy. 33 and drive 100 metres until you see the sign for the Amherst Island ferry. The ferry (20 minute trip) leaves the mainland on the half hour and leaves the island on the hour. Cost is $9.00 Canadian round trip. There are no gas stations on the island. There are restrooms on the ferry, and at the island ferry dock. The East End K.F.N. property is at the easternmost part of the island on the east side of the Lower Forty Foot Road. 

Because of liability issues, visitors to the Kingston Field Naturalists' property at the east end of Amherst Island MUST be accompanied by a KFN member. For KFN contact information or how to become a member, please visit ."

A very tame Snowy owl.

Horned Larks are on the move. 

Gull  loafing in a nearby field  at the Lefleche Landfill Site.

The Barred Owl is easily recognized by its dark eyes and streaked breast. 

The Barred Owl frequents backyard feeder in search of  rodents.

 One of the few Northern Saw-whet Owls wintering on Amherst island. 

With no snow cover it felt like a late March day. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

February 3, 2012 Bohemian Waxwings on the move.

Bohemian Waxwings continue to move into the Ottawa area in numbers. Today, Feb. 3, I observed my largest flock of the year, 750+ near the corner of Carling Ave. and March Road. The waxwings were feeding along the west side of the intersection back towards Beaverbrook area in Kanata. On Feb.2, a couple of flocks were observed in Bells Corners, 50+ and 40+. On Feb.1st 150+ were observed along March Road near Shirleys Brook and finally on January 30, I observed 350+ in the Dunrobin area. There are still lots of Buckthorn berries in patches around the city and these irregular winter visitors may just be beginning to increase as they search for their favorite berries.