Monday, December 24, 2012

Lakeshore CBC and Season's Greetings

This past Saturday, I joined two excellent birders, Kory Renaud and Jeremey Bensette to assist in counting birds for the Lakeshore CBC.  Our group did the South end of the circle (yellow bottom in the picture above). One area of the circle we were happy to bird was the Maidstone Conservation Area. It turns out, the twenty hectare site was a little bit of a dud, but was still interesting to walk. We saw common seasonal species such as Chickadees, Red bellied woodpecker, Morning Doves and Downy Woodpeckers. The site boasts an old Indian Signal Tree (see below).

Indian Signal Tree
Some highlights of our counting was an adult Bald Eagle, and two or three run-ins with major flocks of Snow Buntings. One or two of the fields we stopped by had 120+ Horned Larks. At our post-CBC luncheon, we learned that one of our star birders, Tom Hince found some major rarities near Peche Island, including a Black legged Kittiwake and a Northern Waterthrush. Our final species count for the CBC was 69.

Amazing photo of Snow Buntings and a few Horned Larks
I was hoping to find a Lapland Longspur in this flock, but no dice. Last January, I found a flock of Snow Buntings, Horned Larks and Lapland Longspur while viewing the Mountain Bluebird in Shetland Ontario. Here was a flashback video from that morning:

Last night, I drove out to an area which is reputed for Short Eared Owls, and saw them. Of course, they start to fly at dusk so photographing them is difficult and might require better staging techniques than I am privy to. I noticed a dog-like creature which may have been a Coyote walking through this field as I was observing the Owls. Some photos below have horrible white-balance settings taken as dusk:

Short Eared Owl... Amazing winter specialty. 
I hope to put together a good summary for 2012. I also want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy and Birdy New Year to everyone! December 21st of course was the Winter Solstice which marks the shortest amount of daylight in the year. So Happy Winter Solstice as well!

Good birding!

Bonus Photo: Eastern Bluebirds... Just for Karen :-)


  1. Merry Christmas to you Dwayne! Looks like a great CBC!

  2. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Dwayne!
    Is the SE Owl area close to where the Great Grey was last year?
    We were walking the Tall Grass Prairie yesterday and spotted 2 Eastern Bluebirds. Is that normal for this time of year?

  3. That does look like a coyote what with the thick chest and big head compared to the small hips/flanks. Happy solstice to you, too! I'm so glad to have the light returning to this part of the globe.

  4. Season's Greetings!
    Interesting tree. An old elm tree outside of Wallaceburg was completely bent over (even took root at the other end) to mark an Indian trail. It succumbed to Dutch Elm disease in the 1960's.

  5. Karen, yes, Essex County is the farthest peak of the Eastern Bluebirds wintering range. I've seen Bluebirds in the coldest depths of Winter, (the first week of Feb) near Kingsville. Indeed, I had my lifer for Bluebirds on Jan 7th, 2010 (after reading about them in a CBC report)! It was the subject of my fourth blog posting...back in my sub-100 species days.

  6. Hey! That's awesome, Dwayne! Thanks! :)



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