Saturday, 29 November 2014

Eurasian Tree Sparrow and King Eider, also Photo Quiz Results

This morning I decided to get up good and early in Fergus and jet down to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see if I could spot the rare bird that has been making an appearance at someones front yard feeder.  So what is this rare bird you ask?  A Eurasian Tree Sparrow!  This species is not native to North America, and was introduced into the St. Louis area in 1870.  Unlike the pesky and invasive sister species, the House Sparrow, the Eurasian Tree Sparrow never really took off, and today it has populations mostly in Illinois.  From what I understand from talking to other birders, there are 8 records in Ontario, 4 of them from this year alone.  I arrived a little before 8am and got a prime watching spot in front of the house where the bird was seen.  Long story short, the bird appeared in the top of a nearby tree away from the feeders and I got a good look at it for 5-10 seconds before it vanished.  I was able to see clearly the black spots on the whitish cheeks which separate this species from House Sparrows.  Most other people seemed to have missed it and/or were too busy chatting! Unfortunately I didn't get a shot of it.  So overall a success, but I would have liked to see the bird for more than a few seconds after waiting for 2.5hrs!

The scene along Niagara Pkwy as birders wait to see the Eurasian Tree Sparrow
On the way home I checked Queen's Royal Park and also Port Weller marina where a King Eider had been spotted yesterday.  I found it as soon as I walked down to the shore and was thrilled to get great views of the bird as it swam towards me with a group of Common Mergansers.  I have seen females and young males before but never an adult male, so it was a real treat to see one so close!

One of the most beautiful ducks around, Adult Male King Eider!

Here are the bird photo quiz results from last week:
Bird #1: Wilson's Phalarope- Amherst Island
Bird #2- Golden Eagle- near Arthur
Bird#3- Bohemian Waxwing- Guelph Arboretum
Bird#4- Solitary Sandpiper- Strathroy sewage lagoons
Bird#5-Bald Eagle- Harrow
Bird#6- Canada Warbler- Waterloo

Congratulations to Benjamin Oldfield for getting 5(and a half) out of 6!

Thanks for playing and please play again!

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