Sunday, January 8, 2012

They Come in Threes

My last horrah of my Christmas vacation took place last Friday with a trip out to Point Pelee in search of White Winged Crossbills. Where are they??? :-)  I did see a three pack of Owls (Great Grey, Snowy and Screech) along with a three-pack of Falcons (Merlin, American Kestrel and the resident Bridge Peregrines) in my futile search for the Crossbills.

It was 50 degrees (F) out (Jan 6th) and sunny. Not much was seen at Point Pelee bird wise with the exception of some Red Breasted Mergansers at the tip. The tip of Point Pelee is really eroded!!! Its really up to the PPNP staff to figure this out, but I think foot-traffic along the 3'-4' erosion wall near the tip is a bad idea. As people approach this ledge, the wall seems to crumble due to the predominate sand content in the soil there.

I reluctantly stopped for 5 minutes at the GGOW site on the way to PPNP and got a chance to see Rick, my birding friend from Leamington. Check out this photo below of the GGOW. It crossed the road on McCain side road at one point, just 1'-2'  above the roadway. The GGOW has evolved its senses to hear lemmings under snow, but not to deal with a Chevy barreling down the road at 60km. Lets hope he makes it!

I met some birders today looking for Short-eared Owls out in the county. These guys from Virginia knew about birding hotspots in the county that took me almost three years to find out about. They told me that Northern Shrikes were seen yesterday in a location not far from the GGOW. My search for them today netted some Eastern Bluebirds and an obliging Merlin. American Kestrels were seen in a few places, but this one near the Onion Fields was not as shy as the others. The Snowy Owl above was also seen in the Onion Fields near Rd 19 and Rd D. Point Pelee was very quiet... a few Red Breasted Mergansers near the tip, a few Horned Larks in the onion fields but not much else was seen.

Merlin is really the star of this posting. I rarely see them. Kestrels are easy enough to find out in the county, although they can be very camera shy. I got home thinking it would be cool to see a Peregrine Falcon to make a "Falcon Hat-trick" (for the day) but I was thinking that the few people who read this blog would not really care if I did or not. Then it dawned on me that I needed to go to Canadian Tire (near the bridge) to pick something up anyway... So there you go... Falcon Three-Pack.

Good Birding,


  1. Looks like you had a good day.
    Merlin sightings seem to be increasing in winter. They used to be rarely seen.
    I guess you have to be in the right place at the right time for a flyover White-winged Crossbill. That's when your ears come in handy!
    Have a good week!

  2. I am happy you reached your goal of three packs! Thanks for sharing your pics and adventures.

    How did the visitors know about the good spots? EBird?

    Dianne C.

  3. Canadian Kestrel. lol. I wonder if they are staying further north this winter?

  4. Sounds like a great day :). Is there still the circus around the Great Gray? I haven't been out there since Januart 2nd and it was still crazy!

  5. I care if you have a hat-trick! :)
    It looks like you had a fantastic day.

    I agree with you about the Tip.
    Is the bench still there? 1/4 of it was without a foundation when last I looked.

  6. Thanks for the comments guys,
    Blake, I'm not at the point that I recognize their call as they fly over. I've never seen them or heard them! :-)
    Dianne, I didn't ask them how they found out about it. I think the local state/province listserve probably spread that information out.
    Tiffanie, Yes, its still a circus. But, maybe the people on the road will slow down any cars that would be driving by.
    Karen, the bench was still there on solid ground... maybe someone moved it back?
    Good birding!



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