Monday, January 23, 2012

Easternish Ontario this past weekend

This past weekend I spent my time at my sister-in-law's family cottage at Charleston Lake, just north of Gananoque. It's a nice place, not too far from Kingston, but feels nice and isolated. Mike and I did some good 'ole fashioned birding to to Amherst and Wolfe Island's on Saturday in search of owls and other raptors, and weren't disappointed.

In the morning (on Saturday) we hit up Wolfe Island, touring the island for about 2 hours. We had 8 Snowies, 3 N. Harriers and a few Red-tail's and Rough-legged's (though not as many north of Waterloo! Just sayin'). We were able to get some good looks at a few of the Snowies, including the one below.

I also was able to use my driving AND birding prowess by taking another vid of this Snowy.....

After Wolfe, Mike and I headed to Amherst to finish up the day. We had another Snowy, 8 Short-eared's, and best of all a Eastern Meadowlark! It was nice to see a bird that had other colours than browns/black's/gray/s.

All in all a nice day out!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Its a numbers game....

Well the saying goes abit like this, 'you know things are slow when' start talking about previous trips or upcoming ones.

As some may know I'm doing my master's at the University of Waterloo, studying 'reverse migration' and the effects of weather during the spring. I've spent the last two springs on the island, both 2009 and 2010, staying from April 25-May 20. What started out as a fun idea, turned eventually into my undergrad topic, and now has morphed into my master's thesis. Basically what I've done the past 2 springs is ID what species are and how many are 'reverse migrating' aka flying south in a 'reorientation flight' in the first few hours of light.

I've seen some pretty cool things, and the numbers don't lie. Over 52 days of coverage I've tallied the following species and numbers. See anything interesting???? Based on my calculations, it takes about 1,100-1,500 birds to get something 'good'....though it depends on what you think is good. That might seem like alot, but it averages out to a good bird per day.

Species Total
Mourning Dove 16
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 96
Red-headed Woodpecker 28
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 3
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
Eastern Phoebe 2
Least Flycatcher 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 4
Eastern Kingbird 263
Yellow-throated Vireo 6
Blue-headed Vireo 8
Warbling Vireo 41
Philadelphia Vireo 9
Red-eyed Vireo 18
Blue Jay 569
American Crow 2
Horned Lark 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 39
Eastern Bluebird 3
American Robin 298
European Starling 864
American Pipit 94
Cedar Waxwing 149
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Tennessee Warbler 12
Orange-crowned Warbler 2
Nashville Warbler 684
Northern Parula 28
Yellow Warbler 282
Chestnut-sided Warbler 138
Magnolia Warbler 286
Cape May Warbler 14
Black-throated Blue Warbler 33
Yellow-rumped Warbler 640
Black-throated Green Warbler 55
Blackburnian Warbler 71
Pine Warbler 1
Kirtland's Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 279
Blackpoll Warbler 8
Bay-breasted Warbler 32
Black-and-white Warbler 25
American Redstart 53
Prothonotary Warbler 2
Ovenbird 2
Hooded Warbler 1
Wilson's Warbler 7
Canada Warbler 6
Summer Tanager 3
Scarlet Tanager 111
Chipping Sparrow 43
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Field Sparrow 3
Savannah Sparrow 5
Lark Sparrow 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 25
Indigo Bunting 443
Dickcissel 5
Bobolink 168
Red-winged Blackbird 5051
Eastern Meadowlark 2
Rusty Blackbird 5
Common Grackle 2349
Brown-headed Cowbird 1219
Orchard Oriole 82
Baltimore Oriole 1648
Purple Finch 1
House Finch 12
Pine Siskin 21
American Goldfinch 630
House Sparrow 4

Flycatcher sp. 2
Vireo sp. 50
Warbler sp. 4425
Sparrow sp. 59
Blackbird sp. 16271
Small Bird Sp. 668

Total 38497

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Recent happening's

Not too much happening here, alittle under the weather, but nonetheless stuff is happening. 

A young male Indigo Bunting was found on Sunday at Riverside Park, in Cambridge!!! Pretty crazy
To see pictures click on the link below:

Directions: heading west on Hwy. 401, exit at exit # 278B - King Street/Shantz Hill Road. 
Go south on Shantz Hill Road (this is also technically Hwy. 8). At the bottom of the road turn left
 onto Fountain Street, almost immediately this road curves right (south), just after the bend is 
the entrance to Riverside Park (on the left). As far as specific direction to where the bird was 
I'm not entirely sure, though there is a boardwalk which in the past is good for sparrows, so
 I'd start looking there. 
In other news, the female Mountain Bluebird is still around. I was able to head down on Saturday
with a friend and we were lucky to see it!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Strathroy Golden

I had some work in the Strathroy area today. While working, I had a number of interesting sightings. Most exciting was a Golden Eagle which appeared to be hunting, near the intersection of Sylvan and Elm Tree Road's. It was observed heading west, not too high up. Here's a pretty awful pic of the bird below.
I know this is a pretty poor pic, but considering it was a point and shout camera I wasn't that surprised. If only I would've brought my camera.......oh well.

Other interesting sightings in this area included:
Red-shouldered Hawk - 1 bird perched along Hwy. 402 at km marker 78
Bald Eagle - 1 adult

We saw this Baldy only a few minutes after the Golden! Not too bad to get both eagles in the winter in such close proximity (both time and distance wise).

Northern Harrier - 1
American Kestrel - 3
Red-tailed Hawk - 12
Rough-legged Hawk - 11 (all light morph's)
Ring-necked Pheasant - 1
Great Black-backed Gull - 1 adult in field at Hwy. 402 and Kerwood Road
Brown-headed Cowbird - flock of ~50
Northern Shrike - 4

I'm going to be heading back to this area for the next two months for work, so I'm pretty excited that I'll see some other things. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Merlin on count day

Here's a pic of the Merlin we saw in Glen Allan. Photo taken by my Dad, Jim Burrell. This was the first record for the count (and one of the most overdue).
This may be a seemingly dumb question, but what are your thoughts on the sex? Female? Young bird?

I was talking to Mike Cadman after the Linwood count and he mentioned seeing a Merlin in Hawkesville about a week ago, so perhaps this is the same bird? Birds that we see in the Linwood area tend to only be seen once/twice, and then disappear. Who knows, just a thought. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Linwood CBC

The sixth Linwood CBC was held today, January 2.  Weather throughout the day was quite challenging with near whiteout conditions for a majority of the day, however 35 hardy observers gave the circle perhaps the best coverage yet and as a result many species were recorded in record highs (17(!) record highs vs. 3 record lows). 53 species were found today (not quite beating the 54 in 2008).

2 new species for the count were found: Barred Owl (1 bird near the town of Crosshill), and Merlin (1 bird seen in Glen Allan) bringing the six-year total to 79.

Other unusual species included: Ring-necked Pheasant, Red-shouldered Hawk (present for its ninth winter), Great Black-backed Gull (5, HC), Common Raven (2, HC), White-throated Sparrow, and White-winged Crossbill (4).

Raptors are always one of the highlights of the Linwood CBC and this year was no exception:
Bald Eagle - 6 (HC)
Northern Harrier - 6 (HC)
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3
Cooper's Hawk - 6
Rough-legged Hawk - 75 (low)
Red-tailed Hawk - 51 (low)
American Kestrel - 6 (lowish)
Merlin - 1 (new)

Other species of interest:
Snow Bunting - 13,932 !!! (this smashes our previous high of 3,187)
Common Redpoll - 1
Pine Siskin - 176 (HC)

Total Individual Birds - 19,830 (HC, previous high - 10,104)