Tuesday 24 November 2020

The Shrike

 This morning I went on a short walk to Belwood Lake to look for some more winter birds and was rewarded with an obliging Northern Shrike that allowed me to snap a few photos.  I was quite happy with the shots that I got.

My first few shots show that this shrike was feeding on something, possibly another bird.  Shrikes are a predatory songbird that eat rodents, small birds, and insects.  They have always been a favourite winter bird of mine, as they are very active and allows doing something interesting.  The dense scaling on the breast and faint mask show that this is a young (first winter) bird.

After finishing its breakfast, the young shrike flew to a less obstructed perch.

Other birds of note included lots of redpolls, pine siskins, and two more Pine Grosbeak! So far I have only had young and female birds.  I am still waiting on my bright red male grosbeak!

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Winter Finch Round Up!

 This fall we have been blessed with an abundance of winter finches arriving from the boreal forest.  I have never seen these species in such abundance this far south!  In the past couple of weeks I have tallied nearly all of them, with the exception of Red Crossbill, which I am still on the hunt for!  Pine and Evening Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Siskin, Common and Hoary Redpoll have all been located within my 5MR (5 miles from my house)!  It sure makes local birding very exciting.

I have managed to snap a few record shots of these species, although I would like a chance to get better shots of these species in the coming months.

Below are a few of the shots I managed to get.

Pine Siskins

Pine Grosbeak

Evening Grosbeak

I have enjoyed birding from my backyard as well, and have seen large numbers of Common Redpolls almost daily over the past week.  Backyard birding works particularly well with a new baby in the house!

With large numbers of redpolls around, I was on the hunt for a Hoary!  The rarer of the two species.  I was fortunate to find a female exilipes Hoary Redpoll right behind my backyard, and I fired off a few shots with my lens sticking out the door.  Note the paleness of this bird, limited streaking on the rump and undertail coverts as well as the very small beak.

I have also photographed a few other birds in addition to these specialties!

Pileated Woodpecker couple

Rough-legged Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Canada Goose from above

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Herring Gull

Rough-legged Hawk