Tuesday 29 October 2019

South Meets North Meets West - Summer Tanager in Thunder Bay

I am on the road doing an epic work road trip from Waterloo to Caribou Falls (north of Kenora).  We just arrived in Kenora after a snowy drive today from Wawa.

We stopped this morning in Thunder Bay to try to find a reported Summer Tanager coming to someones side yard feeder.  We had great luck when upon speaking with the homeowner this beautiful male appeared as if by magic right in front of us!  I certainly didn't think my first Summer Tanager of the year would be in Thunder Bay at the end of October! This is a species much more common in the southern US and should be on its way to wintering grounds in the tropics!

I also had the pleasure of seeing some western birds (Black-billed Magpies) and northern species (Black-backed Woodpecker) on our way to Kenora today.  An eclectic collection of birds indeed!  Tomorrow he head north again, to Caribou Falls.

Monday 14 October 2019

It's Thanksgiving 2019! Kayaking, Peregrines, Shorebirding, Lake Watches and Marcy's Woods!

This weekend I was down in Niagara (Stevensville) for another wonderful Thanksgiving.  While I was there, I took the time to do a little bird watching and hiking. 

On Saturday, there were really strong west/southwest winds on Lake Erie, which in theory could have resulted in some rare birds.  It didn't really pan out, but I still had fun seeing what I could turn up over a few hours.  I did have a few Surf Scoters, Bald Eagles, lots of Bonaparte's Gulls to keep things interesting.

The behemoth: Great Black-backed Gull.

Bald Eagle
We also got out again to Marcy's Woods for another great hike!  This is a really awesome spot, and we are grateful that access was granted to walk the beautiful forests and sand dunes of this area.  This spot certainly has one of the nicest beaches that I have seen!

On Sunday morning I also got out to do a little more bird watching before church.  I walked one of my favourite trails in the area: Centralia Park near Crystal Beach.  I didn't have anything really interesting but I did see a young Peregrine Falcon dive bombing on a bunch of soaring Turkey Vultures, pretty entertaining:

The weekend before Thanksgiving I was able to get out to do some kayak birdwatching on Belwood Lake to look for shorebirds.  I didn't find anything crazy, but had a good time!

One nice thing about kayaking is that the shorebirds let you get much closer when in the kayak than when walking.  These are the best shots of Greater Yellowlegs that I have ever got!

Some early Bufflehead

Friday 4 October 2019

Random Fall Birds

I have been out to various locations throughout southern Ontario for bird surveys lately.  I really enjoy early October birding, you never know what you might turn up!

Amherst Island


Blue-headed Vireo

Field Sparrow

Black-throated Green Warbler

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Killarney Backcountry Canoe Trip

This past weekend I was on a 5 day canoe trip in Killarney with my dad and brother.  Surprisingly, this was my first trip to Killarney Provincial Park.  We started at Bell Lake and stayed 1 night on David Lake, 2 nights on Great Mountain Lake and a final night back on David Lake before coming out on Monday.  Below are some of the highlights from this great trip!

Eastern Milksnake

Redbacked Salamander
 Paul and I built this fire pit at the edge of our tarp on the afternoon that it rained!

The highlight of the trip for all of us was a short day trip to Little Mountain Lake.  As you can see in the photos below, the lake has a beautiful clear, turquoise colour!

The 'Great Mountain' on Great Mountain Lake.  Paul and I climbed up this while dad stayed in the canoe below.  You can see him far below in the canoe!

The most challenging part of the trip was a nearly 3km long portage to Great Mountain Lake.  It was much easier on the way back since it was mostly downhill.