Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November Blahs... Birding While Sick

Its been about a week or two since I've really birded or blogged.... I've been sick with an earache for the last few days and before that, I've been fixing a relentless list of things that have broken down in my home. 

Upon the advice of my wife, I went out Saturday to a nearby location, Ojibway Park to get some fresh air. I have been wanting to go to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see the Razorbills or Red throated Loons (10 hour commitment) or even just to Point Pelee to see the Franklin's Gull or American Pipits (four hour commitment) but it was just not in the cards for this last weekend. I'm sick, so the best I could do was take photos of common birds at the local bird feeder!

Ojibway Park has a nice bird feeding area that gives good looks at:
  • Purple Finch (rare in my experience)
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Blue Jay
  • Black capped Chickadee
  • White Breasted Nuthatch
  • Red belllied Woodpecker/ Downy Woodpeckers

Later on Saturday, I stopped by the Ambassador Bridge to see if the Peregrine Falcons were around and yes, I found them with a fresh catch (Rock Pigeon) and watched the female (on the left) de-feather and dismantle its fresh catch. 

I was hoping to reach 100 postings this year on my blog, but I don't know if I have that much to say. And one can only look at so many Tufted Titmouse & Black Capped Chickadee pictures!

Some birds I would love to see by years end are:
  • Northern Shrike -Seen yearly in late Nov at Malden Park.
  • Rough legged Hawks - Typically easy to see at Point Pelee in Dec
  • Red breasted Nuthatch - Winter resident at my moms house for 2 yrs now!
  • Saw Whet Owl (potential lifer)
  • Short eared Owl (potential lifer)
  • Snowy Owl (potential lifer)
  • Purple Sandpiper (potential lifer)
  • Common Eider (potential lifer)
  • Black Scoter (potential lifer)

Soon, huge numbers of waterfowl will congregate near Peche Island where Lake St Clair funnels into the Detroit River. I hope some rarities show up! Common Eider would be nice, as well as Black Scoter, both would be lifers.

Good birding!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cornell University's recent video on the Pale billed Woodpecker

This is a cool video that I recently came across in my emails from Cornell University's Ornithology Department. Woodpeckers are my favorite genre of birds, so I want to keep this handy.

I would almost go as far as to say that I want to make it a life goal to see this woodpecker with my own eyes. I think that would blow my mind!

This video shows some really nice views of this woodpecker especially more towards the end.  Enjoy!

By the way, to see more high-quality and incredible bird related videos, check out Cornell's Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LabofOrnithology

Good birding,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Northern Goshawk & Golden Eagles at Holiday Beach v2

Friday after work, I headed out to Holiday Beach for an hour or so of hawk-watching. For some readers that do not know, Holiday Beach is located in the deepest, Southwestern point of Ontario. Hawks migrating from the northern boreal northward are funnelled between lake erie and lake huron (and lake St Clair) and must cross over to Michigan over this small geographic location, Holiday Beach. Anyway, upon arrival, Sarah from PPNP mentioned that it had been a great day so far with 10 or so Golden Eagles having gone by earlier in the day.

Long story short, the next hour was really good. Coopers Hawks, Northern Harriers, 2 Bald Eagles, 2 Golden Eagles, many TV's and Buteo Jamaicensis (or Red tailed Hawks... if you prefer english to latin names) and a juvenile Northern Goshawk! (Lifer #287). Sarah called out the Goshawk as it travelled at tree level over the beach, about 40m away from the tower. The Goshawk had a huge lump in its gullet, hinting that it may have just eaten something. The photo is poor because it was heavily backlit and well... rushed. This Accipiter looks similar to a Coopers Hawk but Steve & Sarah were confident the ID was correct. I'm not there yet because well, I've never seen a Goshawk with the exception of this brief fly-by. I can tell a Coopers from a Sharp-shinned though. 

Saturday morning, I headed out to Point Pelee in hopes of searching for Saw whet Owls, but no luck. I searched DeLaurier Trail and Sparrow field with no luck. I tried an area near Sanctuary that has been good for Eastern Screech Owls and Great Horned Owls and did find a Screech Owl, although, not a surprise! I continue to be fooled and eluded by the camo of Owls. I recall having a friend show me the location of a Long-eared Owl earlier this year, and even pointing directly at it in a tree, I could not see it... So I imagine the same thing is happening with my search of Saw Whet Owls. I quickly walked out to the tip of Point Pelee while visiting Sparrow Field and noted hundreds (or possibly thousands) of ducks a few hundred meters off the west beach. A scope would have been needed to see them, although, a few Common Mergansers were hanging out just meters off the tip parking lot.

Delaurier trail had the typical mix of birds for right now... Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Caronlina Wren (heard) White throated Sparrows, and Yellow Rumped Warblers. A few Robins (Nova Scotian?) were hanging out as well. Yet another Golden Eagle flew overhead, but headed back north towards the park entrance. Perhaps it thought it head toward Holiday Beach (taking the land route) rather than heading over Lake Erie considering a light southerly wind.

Good birding!

Lifer summary- Northern Goshawk #287

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Flashback...1986 Birds of Canada Monetary Series

From the archives (October 2010)... Would you believe that in this unassuming photo: a yellow bellied sapsucker AND and Red-headed woodpecker in the same tree? That might only happen once in a lifetime! Quiz: What Warbler is in this photo?
Life has been busy lately and birding has been slow. I've made some attempts to see Saw-whet Owls last weekend, but no luck. This posting below is one of the many "Draft" blog postings I have that I've never bothered to publish ... until now. I probably have 10 draft postings that I might 'push out' before years-end.

I was looking through an old photo album recently and noted that I had an old Canadian $5 bill (featuring a Belted Kingfisher on the back).  Then, serendipitously, a recent visit with a nephew had him showing off a mint-condition $2 bill from the same series (featuring an American Robin on the back). My nephew stated that a local coin-collectors store was selling them for $4. Kind reader, would you pay $4 for a $2 bill with a Robin on it?(I've added a poll that you can vote YES or No in the margin to the right). I went out and picked up the bill as a collector's item. Call me crazy!  It would be cool to get the other bills in the series, but I'm sure they would be expensive to obtain at this point. I might print out the specimens in colour and enjoy them in an unofficial sense. 

Do you know each bird on the various bills? The solution to this challenge is found at the bottom of this posting. No cheating!


(Images used with Permission.)

Good Birding!


$2 note: American Robins
$5 note: Belted Kingfisher
$10 note: Osprey
$20 note: Common Loon
$50 note: Snowy Owl
$100 note: Canada Goose
$1000 note: Pine Grosbeaks


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