Sunday, 20 November 2016

The King of Eiders

This weekend I was at my parents in Kingston with Caitlyn and had the pleasure of doing a quick bird outing to Millhaven with my Dad to try and find a previously reported King Eider.

This is a species that I have had a lot of success with "twitching".  This species doesn't seem to move around all that much and will often stay in the same area for several days or weeks.  We found this bird quite quickly upon arriving, and on the way back also picked out a Cackling Goose among a larger flock of Canada Geese! This particular eider stayed well out from the shoreline and although we had fantastic scope views of the bird as it floated and occasionally dove, I only managed a couple identifiable photos.

King Eider is a species of Arctic breeding duck that typically winters in the coastal waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean but also shows up regularly in the Great Lakes during migration.

Female King Eider - Millhaven Nov.19/16

The photo below is of a male I saw two years ago in November in St. Catherines.  No wonder it is called the "King Eider!"
Male King Eider - St. Catherines Nov. 29/14

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Chatham Hawk Watching

I decided to take Friday off of work and go bird watching with Ken at Zion Road near Wheatley.  We were hoping to see large numbers of migrating raptors and we had a decent selection of species including a couple of surprises.  Our best birds of the day were a Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk and a big surprise of a super late Broad-winged Hawk!  Unfortunately most of the hawks were really high, and the largely blue sky made it difficult to spot them.

The lookout from the end of Zion Road
Red-shouldered Hawk

A small "kettle" of Turkey Vultures
 I also made a quick stop at Blenheim Sewage Lagoons to see the continuing Cattle Egrets, which seem to be showing up everywhere this fall!

Cattle Egret pair - minus the cattle
Cattle Egret are not a native species in North America, but actually spread to the Americas by flying over from Africa!  A neat example of colonization without human facilitation apparently.  Below is a map I pulled off wikipedia showing the spread of this interesting little egret species.