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!