Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Alrighty, so its super official, Brandon Holden, Barb Charlton, my brother Mike and I are rockin`our way up to Netitishi Point, near Moosonee. Were taking the Thursday train from Cochrane to Moosonee and then chartering a helicopter Friday at 1pm. Were spending 13 days(!!!) on the coast, watching for waterbirds and whatever else flies by!

Should be pretty epic! I`ve been wanting to do this trip, for literally 10 years, but finally was able to finagle stuff around, so I could go.

There are several species which I am hoping to see, last year Brandon Holden went for a similar time, and saw 5 species which would be new Ontario birds for me:
Sooty or Short-tailed Shearwater
Pacific Loon
Black Guiellemot

It should hopefully be a pretty good year for Gyr`s so here`s to hoping for something nice! Other sweet birds, that have been seen on the 3-4 other trips done at this time of year, include:
Northern Fulmar
large Murre sp. - most likely Thick-billed
Northern Gannet
Northern Wheatear

Anyways, whatever we see should be sweet, wish us luck!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

15 to go.....

So I thought I'd update  this. Back in the summer I had made some predictions on A) whether or not I could see 300 species in Ontario in this calendar year, and B) what those next 30 species would be. I'm currently sitting at 285 species for this years list....lets take a look at my predictions and see where I've gotten them right/wrong!

My predictions
1. Trumpeter Swan - got it La Salle
2. White-rumped Sandpiper - got it several spots
3. Red-throated Loon
4. Red-necked Grebe
5. Snowy Owl
6. Golden Eagle - got it! Seacliffe
7. Brant
8. Long-billed Dowitcher - got it Tilbury
9. Barred Owl
10. Short-eared Owl
11. Pine Grosbeak
12. King Eider
13. Whimbrel - got it Van Wagners
14. Hudsonian Godwit - got Port Stanley
15. Black-legged Kittiwake
16. Sabine's Gull - got Van Wagners
17. Pomarine Jaeger - got it! Van Wagners
18. Long-tailed Jaeger - got it Van Wagners
19. Ross's Goose
20. Harlequin Duck

21. Gyrfalcon
22. Red Knot - got it Casselman sewage lagoons
23. Purple Sandpiper
24. Buff-breasted Sandpiper - got it near Ottawa
25. Northern Hawk-Owl
26. Great Gray Owl
27. American Three-toed Woodpecker

28. Black Guillemot
29. Sharp-tailed Grouse

30. Northern Fulmar

Sooo, summing up I've seen 11/30 of my predictions...the other 4 species not on my list are;
Snowy Egret - Ontario bird!
Purple Gallinule - lifer!
Red Crossbill
Nelson's Sparrow

So with 2 months and 20 days left will I see 300 species? You never know, but I think I can do it! There are lots of possibilities, especially with Netitishi Point in 2 weeks! God-damn I'm excited to go! Its gonna be great to get away from everything and see some neat stuff up north! Sorry for the rant! lol

Monday, October 10, 2011

Purple haze!

Well not exactly...but a Purple Gallinule instead! Dan Salisbury and John Black found this guy in a pretty neat spot, in St. Catherines at the Port Wellar Pier. I booked down this morning (which likely wasn't the best idea....getting a speeding ticket in the process!), and managed to find the spot. After about 20 minutes of looking I found the PUGA foraging out in the open.

I was able to get some pretty wicked looks and even manged to snap a few shots too!

The pier is a really cool spot, I think it would be a good spot to really do any birding, be it landbird or lakewatching! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Playin' hookey

Well, yup I did. I decided I'd much rather spend some time birding today along Lake Erie, than sitting in rather boringish class....this morning I got up around 6am and motored down to Port Burwell.

For a few hours I just hung out and went for a really nice walk in the park and on the beach. It was a really nice morning to be out, it was calm, not too cool and there was no one in the park except for the park warden! With that being said, there was also some nice birds around too!

The Little Gull's continue to be one of the main stars here. Today I counted between 22 and 28 Little Gull's!!! That's the highest count I've ever had. Anywhere! It was cool to see all different plumages and to even hear them calling. I managed to get some poor images of 2 birds flying away from me.

Little Gull's - Port Burwell - October 5, 2011

Other interesting birds included;
2 Surf Scoters
1 Horned Grebe
lots of the expected songbirds at this time of year; Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (4), E. Towhee (1), Hermit Thrush (4), E. Phoebe (8), E. Wood-Pewee (1), Yellow-rumped (40), Black-throated Green (1), and Blackpoll Warblers (2).
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Port Burwell P.P. - October 5, 2011

After scouring Port Burwell I headed west towards Hawk Cliff. I settled down a few km east of the Cliff....
"A" is where I did a hawk watch for 1.5 hours - October 5, 2011
There was a fairly good flight. From about 11-12:30pm I had the following birds;

Turkey Vulture - 344
Bald Eagle - 5
Northern Harrier - 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 113
Cooper's Hawk - 2
Broad-winged Hawk - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 13
American Kestrel - 41

Blue Jay - 1,940
American Pipit - 200

Around 12:30 though it was getting pretty hot, and many of the birds were flying too high to id or even see, so I decided to pack it up.

It will be interesting to see what Hawk Cliff recorded today! Hopefully nothing too good.... :)

Monday, October 3, 2011


Well its been alittle while since I last updated....sorry about that! Things have been uber busy lately. School and work and personal stuff have all sorta gotten in the way of blogging and going birding!!!

Yesterday Brandon Holden and I decided to give our luck a shot, and head down to Seacliffe, just outside of Leamington, near Point Pelee. We ended up picking a pretty sweet day! We had an awesome flight of raptors throughout the entire time we were down there and had closish to 7,000 raptors! Here's a breakdown of what we saw:

Golden Eagle - 1 juv. seen to the north at 12:20pm
Red-shouldered Hawk - 2 adults, seen separately in the afternoon.

Turkey Vulture - 5,079
Turkey Vultures!!!! All those specs are vultures! I blew this pic up and counted 112 Vultures and what looks like an Eagle!

Bald Eagle - 10
Bald Eagle - October 2, 2011  - actively given'er
 Northern Harrier - 19
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 741
Cooper's Hawk - 30
Broad-winged Hawk - 432
Red-tailed Hawk - 45
American Kestrel - 199
Red-tailed Hawk - migrating  October 2nd 2011

Other interesting birds seen migrating;
Common Nighthawk - 5
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 3
Chimney Swift - 17

Definitely one of the better hawk migrations that I've seen! On our way home, we stopped at Wheatley Harbour. A fair number of gulls were on the beach, including 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull's (first-year and an adult). Far offshore a distant Jaeger sp. was seen briefly.