Monday, January 21, 2013

Any help with this wigeon???

My Dad and I were touring Haldimand County yesterday.  Despite the crazy winds, it was still a lot of fun just to get out, especially in an area I don't go to very often and in an area that has great potential for birds at any season.

Anyways, one of the highlights was this female-type wigeon. If there are some things to say about it.
1. the bird was much brighter reddish/brown/buff in person -> the pic. doesn't do it justice
2. there were 3 drake AMWI's present and this bird didn't associate with them at all
3. that's about it.

Below is the original:
Bird is top right-ish

Below is a cropped shot:

What do people think? Is it just a 'normal' American? Eurasian? Hybrid?

We didn't have too much in the way of unusual species, though we came across a nice flock of Redpoll's. We estimate about 230 birds. With scope views we had 3 definite Hoaries -> not a bad Haldimand tick.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What's your all-time Ontario winter list???

Was alittle bored, and since I keep seeing stuff for the Ontario winter list I was thinking what my all time Ontario winter list is at. Mind you, I'm not too 'up' on the winter list, so there are LOTS of stuff that I haven't seen during the official winter listing period (December 1st-February 28/29) that with some determination and persistence I could have.

Anyways I tallied my list up, and I'm at 198 all time...with quite a few easy ones to go. Honestly I don't know if this is pathetic, good or amazing....though I think somewhere between the first two?

I've listed the 'top' 5 species I've seen during the winter, totally based on what I think are crazy rare birds to see during the 'winter'....

5. Smith's Longspur - February 5, 2002 Hagersville
Photograph - Harold Stiver
4. Smew - last December (2011) Whitby
Everyone 'should' be familiar with this thing....
3. Black-necked Stilt - December 2001 (I saw it the 28th) St. Clair River, near Wallaceburg
I think this was the 1st winter record for Ontario, also my lifer.

2. Heermann's Gull - 2000/2001 Toronto
Pretty insane, anyway you look at it (sorry Brando...)


1. Gray Flycatcher - December 2003 - Hagersville area
This has got to be my all time best winter bird that I've seen in Ontario, hands down. Jeff Skevington and company found this in some random wet area, just outside of Hagersville. And luckily enough it stuck around for about a week, allowing most of the active Ontario birding population to twitch. Check out Brandon 'the hulk' Holden's pic

Now, it wouldn't be complete if I didn't include some of my more memorable/favourite finds in the winter, but honestly there aren't too many!!! lol

But anyways, below are two of my favourite finds during the winter listing period:

Yellow-headed Blackbird - December 21, 2007 - Hahn Marsh (Long Point)

I believe this was Long Point's 3rd (?) winter record of YHBL. Definitely something pretty unexpected, and still my only true 'self-found' YHBL in Ontario....

Red-shouldered Hawk - 2003 Hawkesville

I think 'red' is probably my most favourite find in the winter. While its not the 'rarest' thing I've found, its definitely the most interesting. This bird has wintered consecutively in the SAME spot every winter since 2003, making it at least 12 years old (it was a beautiful adult when I first found it). Like the article on ebird about the oldest Northern Shrike on record, my family has become accustomed to it, hoping its doing well and waiting for it every November/December when it has faithfully come back.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

King Eider....what up!

Hey Birders,

Alvan Buckley and I decided to bird a different area than normal today, travelling the Lake Huron shoreline from Kettle Point north to roughly Goderich and back to Waterloo. Our best bird by far was an immaculate adult male King Eider we found at the mouth of the Maitland River in Goderich, on the north side of the harbour. Quite a surprise. Alvan got some pretty decent shots of it, which he'll be posting on his blog ( later.

We watched the bird from about 1-2pm. The bird was easily seen the entire time we watched it, never being more than 200-300m offshore.

Other birds of note include:
Black-crowned Night-Heron -1 juv. in the harbour at Goderich, seemed very out of place, standing with the gulls out on the ice!
Hoary Redpoll -1 bird in a large flock of Common Redpoll's, just south Goderich by the 'youth centre' on Hwy. 21

We saw a number of other good birds, including 4 Glaucous Gulls, Tufted Titmouse etc.

Directions to Goderich Harbour (for the Eider): take Hwy 8 west from Stratford. Once in Goderich, take Hwy. 21 north out of town. Just after the river/bridge, turn left on Champlain Boulevard. Follow the signs for the marina. There is a gate to the entrance of the marina. Park your car, walk down the hill towards the lake (~400m), the bird was on the north side of the mouth of river, where it empties into the lake.