Saturday, November 29, 2014

Late November Birding - Snowy Owl in Essex!

I've managed to get a little birding in over the last month and figured I would publish some highlights. Two or three weeks ago, I had gone out to Colasanties in Leamington with the family but then tried my luck with a quick visit to the Hillman Marsh Area. A Long-eared owl was an excellent find... but admittingly... predictable. I tried to see if I could find this beautiful bird today but no dice. I did see Blake who mentioned a SNOWY OWL that he found in the Point Pelee Onion fields and amazingly, I ended up catching up with it!

I had read this week that there are several Fox Sparrows at Ojibway Park - near the bird feeders. My visit was successful! As I was photographing the Sparrow, several Black Capped Chickadees, Nuthatches and even a Tufted Titmouse landed at point-blank range --- perhaps expecting a handout?

Earlier this week, I had read that a Varied Thrush was seen near Kingsville, as well as Little Gulls at Kingsville Marina, so I figured I would try my luck with those birds. A few Northern Harriers were seen as well as American Kestels on the way.

Ring billed Gull in a contemplative pose. Perhaps he is considering how he can differentiate himself from the masses?

Black underwings make this an easy bird to identify. Always a pleasure to see this bird.
I caught up with the Snowy Owl Blake had mentioned earlier. A beautiful bird easily found in the Onion Fields near Point Pelee.  Pine Siskins were another exciting first-of-season bird at the Pelee Wings feeders. A female Purple Finch was in the mix as well.
FOS -Snowy Owl - Heavily Cropped

Can you identify three finch species in this photo?

Seeing a Little Gull was pretty exciting because today's sighting is only the second time I've seen one. I haven't been able to chase some of the mega-rarities in the province right now but I'm pretty happy that I was able to catch up with some of the great birds in this posting.

Good birding!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Early November Hawkwatching

Orange Crowned Warbler - Going back a little to the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend in October

Its been a while since my last posting! I'm taking an Accounting course in my night school efforts thats just sucking all my spare time.  I did get a chance to get out a little though. I stopped by Holiday Beach for two hours on Saturday Nov 1st and was blown away... Literally, there were perfect 40km NW winds... Perfect for Hawkwatching. Highlights included the expected early November Raptors... And lots of them! Golden Eagle, Rough legged Hawk, Red shouldered hawks were easily seen all morning.

Golden Eagle - A little underexposed

Amazingly, in the afternoon, (after I had left) the HBMO hawk banding station caught a Northern Goshawk...In my opinion, the holy grail of north american hawkwatching. Kory Renaud took some great photos of the bird and has some on his excellent blog

I'm yet to see this bird in its mature plumage, but I was told by a great local birder that any time in the first half of November is a great time to see them at Holiday Beach. He mentioned seeing 20 on Nov 11 a few years back.

Should have stayed ...Could have seen this... Photo from Wikipedia Commons
A great chart showing the raptors that migrate through Lake Erie Metropark between Sept - Nov.

On Nov 2nd, I went back to Holiday Beach. It was a lot quieter but I did rustle up this little lepidopteric jem. Not a bad sighting for Nov 2nd No?


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