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 out....here

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.  


  1. I'm at 110 I think, if I calculated correctly. Not quite as high as you, but maybe one day!

    1. Hey Sean, that's a great start! Before long you'll have surpassed me!

  2. I don't keep a winter list so you have me beat by default. Anyone know the one-winter, winter list record - a "Big Winter"?

  3. Stu set it last winter...somewhere between 165-175.

    My all-time is 164 or something - don't really winter list though and most of your rarities were before I even knew what 'twitching' meant!!! haha.

    1. 164 is pretty good....that's in like 5 years??

      lol, ya I guess I've been 'around' for a few now....

    2. Mostly in the last 2 winters! (130 this winter) A few from years past like GCRF and GYRF...

    3. 130 this winter is pretty dang solid...naice. I missed the Chelmsford GCRF...prlly one of my 5 worst dips lol

  4. Hey Ken, I don't bother to keep a winter list but have seen some good birds such as all the ones you mentioned above (except Smew). The Black-necked Stilt was actually on the Chenal Ecarte (Snye River)if you want to be fussy. It made our CBC--a first for Ontario if not Canada.
    Took me two trips to see the Gray Flycatcher! A nice bird.

  5. Sweet post...I'm pretty jealous of the Heermann's Gull! Wish I was birding back then...

    My all time list is about 190, but I'm missing a lot of easy things too (Spruce Grouse, Wilson's Snipe, Red-headed WP, catbird, etc)

  6. 204 for me. Not missing anything particularly easy, but not a ton of super-rarities either. My best winter birds are probably Brambling (3 different birds!), Pyrrhuloxia, Phainopepla, Smith's Longspur, Gray Flycatcher, Lewis's Woodpecker and Heermann's Gull. Fish Crow would have been a pretty amazing winter bird until recently! Funny how things change.

    1. 3(???) Bramblings! That's pretty insane, if I don't say so myself. Got the Lewis's (the Wooler bird was around the same time as the Smith's).

      Haha, ya I thought the same thing about Fish Crow's too.

  7. One north of Port Hope in 1991, Hungry Hollow (Middlesex) in 1994 and Woodstock in 1993! Probably due for another one in southern Ontario any day now.