Saturday 23 February 2019

Another trip to the island

This past week I was down on Amherst Island for a couple of days and had the pleasure of searching the island for birds!

The island is locked in the icy grip of winter and there is no open water present, except within the narrow strip between the island and the mainland traversed by the ferry. 

Unlike my trip in December, I didn't observe a single snowy owl on the island, although I did see one out on the ice while on he ferry.  A far cry from the 35 I saw the last time I was here just a few months ago!  Nonetheless there were other gems to be discovered.

Northern Harriers and other raptors were still present in good abundance, feasting on meadow voles.

Short-eared Owls are present on the island, and are easiest to spot if you wait until dusk!

Northern Saw-whet Owls are also popping up in many locations throughout southern Ontario!

Bald Eagles were also present in high numbers on the island.  I counted at least 20 each day I was there.  Are they eating the voles too?  There is no open water around the island.  I spotted ravens catching and eating voles too!

This Coyote seemed to be enjoying the late afternoon sun.

A meadow vole scrounges for food at the entrance to a snow tunnel. Note how they have stripped the bark off the trees.

White-tailed Deer are always abundant on the island.  Probably part of the reason why there is very little understorey vegetation in many of the small woodlots on the island.

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Speckle Bellies!

Today I was in Niagara for some field work with Dan Riley and stopped by Thorold to see the reported Great White-fronted Geese, affectionately known as "speckle bellies" for the black markings on their underparts.

We managed to track down 3 of the birds, but they were a bit far for good shots.  It was nice to meet Ryan Griffiths while looking for these birds!

They seem to be popping up around Ontario so keep an eye out!

Sunday 3 February 2019

Hamilton Beauties!

I was in Hamilton for work and snapped a few pictures of the local avifauna.  Ducks in particular are quite striking when seen up close!

White-winged Scoter

Hooded Merganser

Long-tailed Duck
 The Peregrine Falcon at the Burlington lift bridge kept a close eye on the ducks from on high.