Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011 Feeder activity continues to grow.

With cold temperatures overnight, -23c, the bird activity at my feeders was great this morning. At sunrise a small flock of American Goldfinch were at the Niger Feeder followed by a couple of Black-capped Chickadee and White-breasted Nuthatch at the sunflower feeder and both Hairy and Downy Woodpecker at the suet. As the morning warmer up a bit a flock of 50+ Common Redpoll with one well marked Hoary Redpoll visited the feeder along with 3 Pine Siskin. All these species are erratic during winter months and it was nice to have them all at once.

Common Redpolls enjoying Niger Seed.

It was interesting to watch the birds learn to feed at this feeder that I got in Arizona. The sack is filled with niger seed and the finches pull the seed out one by one. When I first put it up in August it took a couple of weeks before it had a following. The Black-capped chickadee was the first to figure out it was a source of food.

American Goldfinch in their winter colours along with 3 Pine Siskin share the Niger Feeder.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 25 & 26, 2011 Local Birding

The number and location of Bohemian Waxwings are changing day to day. With most berry crops depleted now, this known wanderer is on the move in search of the remaining few areas. Today I located one group feeding on what berries were left on few Buckthorn. As the group of waxwings fed others perched high in a nearby tree waiting for their turn to feed and on high alert for predators. Each winter this erratic visitor to eastern Ontario varies greatly in numbers. We can get flocks of 100's and occasionally 1000's during the winter. Recent areas that I have observed Bohemian Waxwings include Rifle Road off Carling Ave., March Valley Road, and Old Carp Road near 2nd Line Rd.

Below is a series of Bohemian Waxwing photos shown feeding and resting.

It's been a great winter for the two male Red-bellied Woodpeckers, west of Ottawa. This species has expanded into eastern Ontario and now is a regular in Presqu'ile, Prince Edward County and the Kingston area. This winter, there has been substantial evidence of the Hairy Woodpecker activity especially on American White Elm- many trees have virtually been stripped of their bark. The last time I saw this amount of woodpecker work was back in the early to mid 70's by both Back-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers!

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker at Constance Bay.

Hairy Woodpeckers have been striping elms of their bark.

Woodpecker work on Am. White Elm.

Hairy Woodpeckers are regular at suet feeders during the winter months.

A male Hairy Woodpecker waiting its turn at a suet feeder.

A male Pileated Woodpecker visiting a suet feeder.

The male Pileated Woodpecker is easy to recognize by its red crest and red malar stripe.

White-breasted Nuthatch inhabit many of the outlying deciduous forest and enjoying feeding on sunflower seeds and suet.

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 19,2011 Kingston area birding

The birding continues to change week by week in the Kingston area. On Amherst Island we birded the Owl Woods first and after a couple of hours searching we managed to find 3 Northern Saw-whet Owl and 9 Long-eared Owl. Unfortunately no luck with either Boreal but one was present the day before. The KFN property had 1 Snowy Owl visible from the road and 1 Northern Shrike flew over towards the spruce and pine plantation oppisite the KFN property. Overall, hawk numbers were low with 8 Rough-legged Hawk, 2 Red-tailed Hawk, 1 Northern Harrier and 1 American Kestrel. A couple of small flocks of Snow Bunting were noted along Southshore Road and the east point area. You could still drive to the Owl Woods but there is drifting across the road and another snow fall make close it down. Also, very little parking at the entrance to the woods. There was lots of ice and with the weekend forecast most remaining open water will likely freeze. Remember there is NO FUEL on the island.

Northern Saw-whet Owl quietly sits with a Meadow Vole in its talons.

Another Saw-whet with a White-footed Mouse.

The Long-eared Owls are normally very wary but if you are quiet they will sit still.

Remember to watch how close you approach the owls. Always give them enough room and if you are taking photos use your zoom.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 18, 2011 Birding in the Ottawa area.

The birding continues to be interesting but we are definitely now into winter birding. Not much changing in the bird life except some of the late lingering species are disappearing likely due to the colder temperatures. No recent reports of the Pine Warbler near Manotick which was attempting to overwinter but the Brown Thrasher near Dunrobin is still doing well. The birding east of Ottawa in the Casselman-Ste. Rose area was good this morning with a nice mixture of horned Lark, Snow Bunting and Lapland Longspur feeding along the roadsides. There is still a large flock of Lapland Longspur 125+ feeding near house # 3267 along the south side of CR 3. Look for the small group of cattle. Again no luck with Snowy owls but there were 3 rough-legged and 1 Red-tailed Hawk in the area. Check along the Rideau River at Manotick and had 400+ Mallards and a small number of American Black Duck, Common Goldeneye and Common Merganser feeding below the bridge. Along Eagleson Road near Rushmore Road had a flock of 27 Lapland Longspur feeding along the roadside. It's been one of the best winters in years for longspurs in eastern Ontario. There are still flocks of Bohemian Waxwing wandering around the region in search of berries. Observed a flock of 50+ along Huntmar Road near the hill. The Hilda Road area is still a good location to find them.

Directions: Take Hwy 417 east of Casselman and exit at #58 and go north. Take the first right turn ,Con. 20 and follow to Ste. Rose Road and turn left. Follow to Cty. Rd 3 and turn right. Continue east to Renaud Road and watch on south side of road. Please remember all the land is private property.

A Horned Lark searching for seeds along the roadside.

The Lapland Longspurs are easy to overlook feeding in the field or on a structure.

The bridge at Manotick is a great location to see overwintering waterfowl.

Lapland Longspur feeding along Eagleson Road.

Up to 7 Canada Geese and a number of Mallards are overwintering at a storm sewer outlet in Kanata south.

Friday, January 14, 2011

January 14, 2011 The day after. More birding on the Avalon.

After yesterdays record snowfall of 37.8 cm in eastern Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula birdfeeders were very active today. Lots of Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee, some Evening Grosbeak, and a one feeder a couple of Northern Flicker. Today we birded various areas on the Avalon including Trepassey, Portugal Cove, Renews, Fermeuse, Ferryland, and Cape Broyle. An amazing change since January 12th when the area was snow free and green instead of white since the snow storm. To our surprise the Northern Lapwing was still alive and feeding in a field with a couple of Killdeers at Renews. We saw at least one Killdeer successfully pickup a small worm off the snow and eat it. We counted a total of 9 Killdeer between Trepassey and Cape Broyle down from 25+ on January 12th. Other birds of interest included Snow Bunting, Red-throated Loon, Belted Kingfisher, White-winged Crossbill, Purple sandpiper and Black-bellied Plover. Looks like milder weather is on the way.

A flock of Evening Grosbeaks at Conception Harbour was a delight to watch while they fed at a feeder.

A Northern Flicker made a brief appearance at the feeder too.

A male Evening Grosbeak dominants the feeder.

The Dark-eyed junco was the most common land bird we encountered both at feeders and along roads.

The Northern Lapwing at Renews searching for food.

With milder weather on the way hopefully the lapwing will survive.

The Killdeer is also having problems finding food with the new snow on the ground.

Some areas are open now and Killdeers are finding food.

Common Loons have no problem finding food in the open water.

The Purple Sandpiper regularly winter in small number along the Newfoundland coast.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 13, 2011 Snow Day in Newfoundland

After a couple of great days birding the weather caught up to us. It started slow, light snow but gradually built up during the day to heavy snow and blowing snow. The birding along the coast was challenging but still fun! No rarities were found but we looked hard for anything. It's amazing the change in weather from a sunny beautiful day yesterday with green grass to a snow covered world today. Tomorrow is another day!

What a difference a day makes! Birding yesterday in the Avalon.

An ocean view from Bear Cove.

Today's wintry conditions at Grates Cove.

Bay de Verde

Harbour Grace

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 11 & 12, 2011 Birding Newfoundland

After a number of delays I finally arrived at St. john's about 6 hours late! In Ottawa we sat on the tarmack for 1 hour while a flight instrument was changed. Then in Halifax our direct flight was canceled and we were put on a later flight and arrived in St. John's at 7:00p.m.
Anyway regardless of the slow start the following days were wonderful for birding. On January 11th we started birding at Lake Quidi Vikki and saw the BLACK-TAILED GULL, a second record for NF which had been around for a few weeks. This was a LIFER for me and the group! The Black-tailed Gull is a vagrant in North American from Asia. We had fantastic views as it sat and preened along the edge of the lake. See photos below. Later during the day we
had a variety of great birds including Eurasian Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Eurasian Teal, Yellow-legged Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, and a Yellow Warbler! The warbler has been around in the city for the past month or so feeding along a creek and appears to be doing well so far.

On January 12th we headed out to the south shore area and at Renews we were fortunate to see the Northern Lapwing which had been found earlier in the month. It was resting along the shorleine with a Black-bellied Plover and a group of Killdeers. This vagrant from Europe was a new Northern American species for all of us. Later on we saw a male Baltimore Oriole coming to a suet feeder and 25+ Killdeer at various locations. Since there is no snow it looks more like April in Ottawa then the mid of January! Our last stop at Point La Hayes yielded 8 Ruddy Turnstone and 24 Purple Sandpiper. Not bad for 2 days birding!

A number of views of a Black-tailed Gull preening at Quidi Vidi Lake, St. John's Newfoundland.

A flock of Eurasian Wigeon with 2 female American Wigeon.

Close-up of a male Eurasian Wigeon in St. John's.

A Yellow Warbler in January in NF is an amazing record.

The Northern Lapwing at Renews, Newfoundland.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 9, 2011 More birding in the Kingston area.

The birding on Amherst Island was again good today. We spent a bit of time in the “Owl Woods” and were successful in seeing 1 Boreal Owl, 4 Northern Saw-whet Owl and 6 Long-eared Owls. The feeder were active with lots of Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch, Hairy Woodpecker and a couple of Northern Cardinals. Along the Southshore Road the immature male Harlequin Duck was still feeding in a small group of Bufflehead. We walked out on the KFN property and had great views of two Snowy owls, one heavily barred individual and a slighter barred one which now bring the total to 3 on the KFN property over the past week. A surprise was a Short-eared Owl along the shoreline which flew up and began harassing a Rough-legged Hawk over the water for a few mintues. We later watched the same Short-eared Owl chasing a Herring Gull over the gravel point! Over last stop in the Kingston area was at the DuPont plant/Elevator Bay which had a large concentration of Redhead, Greater Scaup and Common Merganser totalling over 4000+ ducks. Other species of noted including Gadwall, Ring-necked duck, Hooded Merganser and Tundra Swans.

The road to the Owl Woods is still open but remember to park off the road. The parking is limited and if there is a snow fall with blowing snow the road we be closed due to drifting.

Please following the rules while birding in the woods. They are listed on the kiosk at the entrance.

One of the Boreal Owls sitting with a Meadow Vole in its talons.

Access to the KFN property is restricted to club members or those accompanied by a member.

Dave Milson and group watching a Snowy Owl.