Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Blackbird Bonanza 2.0

This past Saturday I happened across a blackbird roost in north London with literally thousands of blackbirds of multiple species, including Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

I captured a video, but since I had the telephoto lens I was only able to capture a small fraction of the spectacle. It was quite the sight! Please excuse my shakiness ;-)

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Some Aylmer Things

Today I went to the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area and Aylmer Sewage Lagoons with my local nature club, Nature London. We saw quite the variety, including Eastern Bluebirds, Snow Geese, Tundra Swans, Cackling Geese, and Greater White-fronted Geese.

Snow Goose (blue morph)

Tundra Swans

Canada Goose

Cackling Geese

Eastern Bluebird (male)

Eastern Bluebird (female)

Greater White-fronted Geese

Cackling Geese

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Wild Goose Chase

Quite literally...

Some of you may be aware of the recent sightings of a Barnacle Goose in Schomberg, in York county. Barnacle Geese hail from Europe, and are rare vagrants to Ontario. Since Barnacle Geese are popular aviary birds, it was long thought that many of the birds were escapees, and many record committees had the mentality of "escapee until proven otherwise." It wasn't until recently, within the last couple years, that people started to realize that many of the records could actually be legitimate vagrants. If you want to read more in depth, I would definitely recommend checking out this article.

Since Barnacle Geese are so rare, I couldn't let this bird get away, especially since it was relatively close (usually Ottawa gets all the rare geese!) So yesterday afternoon, my mom, my aunt, and I made the two and a half hour drive to the Schomberg sewage lagoons.

When first arrived we were met with unhappy looking birders...uh oh...

Sure enough, the Barnacle Goose was nowhere in sight.

I figured that the geese would probably come to spend the night at the lagoons, so I decided to wait and see if any showed up. It wasn't long until a huge flock, perhaps 400, Canada Geese showed up.

With them....the Barnacle Goose!

We watched the goose for the next 40 minutes or so. Certainly worth the drive!

March Break has been awesome so far!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Country Road Birding

This afternoon my grandfather and I went for a little drive in the country looking for some countryside birds.

Plenty of Horned Larks were around.

Snow Buntings could be found as well.

The best birds of the day were a small group of Lapland Longspurs. I estimated about 15.

This Merlin was eyeing some Horned Larks.

The snow seems to be sticking around, and with it, some Snowy Owls. We came across four on our travels.

Pretty good little outing!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Weekend Wrap-up

This past weekend was quite eventful. On Saturday I birded Komoka Provincial Park. It was relativity quiet, but I was able to find a sizable group of robins, some Golden-crowned Kinglets, White-tailed Deer, and my first Pileated Woodpecker of the year.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Afterwards I went to Kilally Meadows, because I had a hunch that there'd be some American Woodcocks. It wasn't long until I found four displaying males, my 100th species for the year.

Yesterday we were in the Hamilton region, so we spent a couple hours birding in the area.

We first checked out LaSalle park in Burlington, where were saw dozens of Trumpeter Swans and Mute Swans.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Mute Swan

A couple other ducks were around as well.

American Black Duck

Greater Scaup

Wood Duck

I also managed to find my first Horned Grebe and Red-necked Grebe of the year in the bay.

Afterwards we made a quick stop to check out the huge group of Ring-billed Gulls.

I stopped into Windermere Basin to see what was around. It was fairly quiet (or maybe I just didn't look hard because it was cold and windy)

Lesser Scaup

Ruddy Duck

Our last stop was to look for Short-eared Owls near Stoney Creek. Although we didn't find the owls, we did mange to find a Snowy Owl, an American Woodcock, and duetting Great Horned Owls. Great way to end the day!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Gaggles of Geese and a Bevy of Swans

Yesterday afternoon I went to Aylmer Wildlife Management Area with my mom and aunt.

Tundra Swans are always the main attraction in Aylmer in March, as thousands stop in to fuel up before continuing on their migration to the tundra to breed.

Large numbers of geese also congregate here each spring, mostly Canada Geese.

Often these large flocks of Canada Geese will be joined by more uncommon geese. That was the case yesterday, as there were four Snow Geese to be seen. I was quite happy, as I got to see my first ever "blue morphs"

Another treat was a single Greater White-fronted Goose. One could say I've been "spoiled" this year when it comes to Greater White-fronts ;-)

Not too many ducks were around, but we were able to find a few American Wigeons and Northern Pintails.

Northern Pintail

It seemed that the swans took a liking to a field right outside the wildlife management area, as there seemed to be more in that field than the pond!


Fast forward to today. When I was out this morning, birding my neighborhood, I came across a Coyote! Definitely an unexpected find in broad daylight in a subdivision! 

"Record shot" :-)