Thursday, 22 February 2018

36 Speckle Bellies

The past couple of days I have been down in the wonderful Niagara area for work with my colleague Dan Riley.  We went to look for the Greater White-fronted Geese (also called speckle bellies for obvious reasons) that had been reported near Welland and were surprised to find 36 hidden among the corn and a larger flock of Canada Geese.  A nice treat, as I only get to see a few in any given year, and never in such great abundance!

Greater White-fronted Geese

Thursday, 8 February 2018

February Nature Sightings

I have been out and about recently at various spots, mostly in the KW area as well as Hamilton/Niagara for field work.  Below are a few photos, the highlight was certainly a Short-eared Owl that I came across the other day down in Niagara.

Short-eared Owl

I watched it forage for a few minutes.  I enjoy seeing Short-eared Owls in flight, they remind me of a giant butterfly, their wing beats are so animated!

The Harlequin Duck has remained near the Burlington Ship Canal over the past few weeks.  I still have not caught up with that Tufted Duck is becoming something of a nemesis bird.


Northern Shoveler

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Rare Waterfowl Roundup

Saturday was a perfect day.  I decided to head back down to the Hamilton area to try to clean up some of the waterfowl rarities that I had missed my last time down.  I was happy to be able to track down all 3 of my main targets.

First up was the female Harlequin Duck that has been hanging out on the Burlington side of the shipping canal.

I found it almost immediately towards the end of the pier.

Female Harlequin Duck
 A male Bufflehead seemed to be taking a shine to the Harlequin Duck and was following her around displaying.  She didn't seem very impressed.
Female Bufflehead, Male Bufflehead, Female Harlequin Duck, young White-winged Scoter
Next up were King Eiders.  I eventually saw two at Green Road, both were fairly far out.  A female and a nice young male bird as well.  Unfortunately they were too far for good photos.

After this I headed down to the Grimsby area to see the pair of Ross's Geese.  Quite a rarity in the Niagara Region!  I saw them out in the field with a flock of Canada Geese, and also bumped into some other familiar faces including Josh, Barb and Dave Pryor among others.  We enjoyed watching them circle around the farm fields before settling back into the flock.  The homeowners at this spot were very welcoming, allowing people to even walk onto their land to get better views!

Ross's Geese

After having a successful morning birding I decided to zip over to the Silverdale Gun Club to do some target practice with my relatively new 30-30 Lever Action Rifle.  Lets just say I am a better birder (or a luckier one) than I am marksman.

Either the sights are off or my eyes are crooked.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Bald Eagle Photo Op

I have had the pleasure of monitoring many Bald Eagle nests as a biologist.  Recently I got the chance to take some photos of one nice pair.

I snapped a few shots that I like.

I also snapped a few shots of other birds like this American Tree Sparrow below and a nice male Northern Cardinal.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Ducks and Snowy Owls

With another year upon us, it's time to get out and tick off some of those common birds again! The frigid weather has certainly not made it easy!  On Wednesday I went down to Hamilton to do a duck round up and got many of the expected species.  I was surprised that I wasn't able to turn up a King Eider, but there will be plenty of time to see them this year. The highlight of the day was a Red-throated Loon that popped up at the mouth of the canal.

Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck and White-winged Scoter

Red-breasted Merganser

 I also birded the Metz area north of Fergus and Luther Marsh from the road on Thursday.  It was extremely cold, so my birding was entirely roadside.  Birds were few and far between, but I did find 2 Snowy Owls, including this one that perched nicely on a telephone pole, seemingly oblivious to the polar winds.  I was able to find a few other FOY ("first of year birds) including Common Raven and Ruffed Grouse.  I did not see a single other raptor while out.

Most of the roads were free of snow.

I also found this Porcupine trying to stay warm while out for a walk in the arboretum earlier in the week.  It was rolled up in a ball!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Having been busy with the holiday season, I haven't had much time for blogging.  I did get out to do some birding along the Niagara River over the Christmas break and saw a few birds of interest including Black Vultures, various gulls including a Little Gull at the Whirlpool and a good assortment of ducks and waterfowl.

Above the falls


Little Gull at the Whirlpool
Stevensville Conservation Area

Tundra Swans
Adam Beck was pretty good, with really good numbers of Iceland Gulls and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
Lesser Black-backed Gull

Iceland Gull
Stay warm this holiday season.  Below are a few shots of Caitlyn's mom and uncles houses looking nice in this wintry setting.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Northern Gannet - Burlington

On Friday I was in the Guelph area for an appointment when I heard that the Northern Gannet (record-breaking Northern Gannet) was still being seen in Burlington.  I zipped down to the beach and immediately had the bird fly right by!  This was a first for me in Ontario, as this species is an ocean-going bird.