Wednesday, 13 December 2017

                                 What Bird Wednesday!!

           this bird was found in the middle of may at Point Pelee national park this year,   
                                               last weeks bird was an olive side flycatcher

                                                   drop you guesses in the comments!!!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

What Bird....Thursday

This week's bird photo was taken in London, Ontario on September 1st. Good luck!

Last week's bird was a female White-winged Scoter (We will have a post on scoter ID soon!)

Monday, 4 December 2017

OFO Gull Weekend

On December 3rd I went down to Niagara Falls to join the OFO Gull trip in the hopes of seeing the long-staying Black-legged Kittiwake. I had been the previous day but failed to see the Kittiwake so I definitely wasn't leaving without that bird!

The first stop of the trip was the Sir Adam Beck generating station, unfortunately, the google maps directions I had printed off were no good and it took us a good hour to find the parkway. We were finally able to locate the group at the falls. On the short walk to the falls, I got brief views of Tufted Titmouse and Red-bellied Woodpecker. As we got to the falls I heard a birder call out that they had a Black-legged Kittiwake. Unfortunately, he lost the bird immediately after. After what felt like an hour of searching I finally saw it. It immediately stood out from the Ring-billeds and Bonapartes because of it's contrasting back.

Black-legged Kittiwake (Jack Farley)
The Kittiwake put on quite the show and I was able to watch it for quite some time as it flew around the falls.

Black-legged Kittiwake (Jack Farley)

Black-legged Kittiwake (Jack Farley)

 Just as everybody was getting ready to leave the Kittiwake a Peregrine Falcon flew across carrying a Bonaparte's Gull in its' talons.
Peregrine Falcon carrying a Bonaparte's Gull (Jack Farley)
Other good birds along the river included Iceland Gull (both Kumlien's and Thayer's), Great Black-backed Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and even a Snowy Owl!
"Kumlien's" Iceland Gull (Ethan Gosnell)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Ethan Gosnell)

Friday, 1 December 2017

What Bird...Friday!

It's the winter time, which here in Ontario means ducks!

While this may not be your average photo quiz, a nice clear photo, I think it is a good one to test those who may be just starting out with winter waterfowl, and even those with a few winters under their belt.

Taken in Burlington, Ontario on November 25th, 2017.

Photo: Quinten Wiegersma

Good luck!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

A day at Colonel Sam Smith Park

Posted by Dennis Dirigal

Its not everyday that you have a PA day and get a day off of school to do whatever you want. Unlike "normal teens" I didn't go to the mall with friends but instead went for a what turned out to be pretty good day of birding at Colonel Sam Smith park in Toronto Ontario

As soon as my mom dropped me off at the parking lot at around 11:10 AM, the birding began with a mass swarm of American tree sparrows all around the gravel trails giving there little sweet call. From that point on the day kept getting better and better!! as soon as I reached the lake there was a group of around 200 Greater Scaup's as well as around 30 Redheads lurking between them. Although the ground was cold, I set up on the beach only a couple inches from the water and waited for the ducks to get close enough for some quality pictures, and lucky for me, my patience payed off with a pretty good shot of the Male Scaup.

Male Greater Scaup (Dennis Dirigal)

American Tree Sparrow (Dennis Dirigal)

From there on I decided to go to whimbrel point where I spent a good 45 minutes of the day watching any fly by or swimming birds. Some of the birds included Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser (which are not as commonly seen as the Red Breasted) and a Juvenile Great black backed gull flying east wards. But the main highlight I saw at the point were two Snow Buntings that were hopping along the rocks and calling every now and then, they took up most of my time there while I was trying to photograph them. it was a big challenge to get a shot of them in a good pose and capture the shot because of there size, how they were moving and the fact that I had to walk and lay down on uneven rocks along the water. In the end I was lucky enough to say that my last picture I took was my best picture. Right after I took my final pictures, I watched a group of around 10 more Snow Buntings fly right over me, soon enough the other two I was photographing decided to fly off with them. I will for sure never forget the struggles I went through for this picture (but it was worth it)!!!

Snow Buntings ( Dennis Dirigal)

After the point I walked along the trail that goes along the outside of the harbor that had a good variation of trees and bush that made for good sparrows and other song birds. For the days list I picked up 2 more birds, American gold finch and fox sparrow. Unfortunately they were in front of the sun and did not make for any good pictures at all.

On my way back while retracing my steps I saw a lot of unusual, rare and mind blowing birds. Back at the big group of Scaup and Redhead, a common tern that should of been well gone down south  flew right over me while calling its distinct call. Right behind it came 4 Killdeer calling there way over the lake. After that, I spotted a yellow warbler in the trees close to the parking lot hopping around with juncos. the yellow warblers are usually all gone by late September but there are always those special single warblers that stay along up north a little more or decide to go from the eastern side of the Continent to the western.

yellow warbler (Dennis Dirigal)

Now the whole 4 and a half hours of birding at the park was a blast, but the last 30 minutes were very intense. I decided I'd walk around looking for any owls and suddenly when I noticed at the very last second there was a Long eared owl sitting right in front of me staring at me straight in the eye. With all the excitement built up I instantly went to reach for my camera but it immediately decided to fly away. I followed where it flew off to and soon noticed that a red tailed hawk had started chasing it. Luckily the owl managed to escape an not be seen by the hawk. I had the biggest sense of relief when I afterwards saw the hawk fly back over me without the owl in its talons. Unfortunately I wasn't able to re-find the owl but either way, That will always be a memory i will never forget. As the day came to an end and my mom was ready to pick me back up, I got lucky and picked up white crowned sparrow as the last bird for the days list

White Crowned Sparrow (Dennis Dirigal)

Over all the day turned out to be great with 37 species (4 of them being rare for the time of year) and good day talking with other birders and people.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

What Bird Wednesday

Posted by Ethan Denton

This photo was taken in March in Canmore, Alberta.

                       Last week's bird was a female Anna's Hummingbird taken by Owen Ridgen

                                                  See Bird Boy's What Bird Wednesday here.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Rondeau Roundabout

Posted by Owen Ridgen and Quinten Wiegersma

Today, we travelled to Rondeau park in search of its recent visitor, a Townsend's Warbler. We arrived at about 8:40 AM. The first on the scene, we inspected the original location the bird was found in, at 2nd and centre street, but had no luck. We tried 3rd street, and my dad briefly got on the bird, but it disappeared. A Fox Sparrow and a couple Yellow-Rumped Warblers were hanging out there, and a Carolina Wren was calling. 

Fox Sparrow (Owen Ridgen)

Soon many more birders showed up, including Josh Vandermeulen. We took a quick break to check out the bay, and we spotted several Horned Grebes, Bonaparte's Gulls, and Tundra Swans. Among the waterfowl were Redheads, a couple Canvasbacks, a Ruddy Duck, a Ring-Necked Duck, and large numbers of American Wigeon. I attempted to see if there was a Eurasian Wigeon among the crowd, but I didn't get a very good look before they were all spooked by something and took off towards Erieau. We travelled to the south beach afterwards, having been told by my friend Quinten that a continuing Ross's Goose could be there. I dashed ahead and set up the tripod. In the hazy distance, I spotted a white blob among a group of Canada Geese that was not a Gull. It was the Goose, but I had about two seconds to look at it before my dad started shouting for me. They had seen the Townsend's Warbler! I ran as fast as I could back to them, losing my phone in the process (I later found it face-down in the sand on the beach). We (and a large group of others) followed the flitting forms of passerines down the lakeshore to a small clump of cedars. We had brief glimpses of the Warbler, but that was it. In the junipers, we found the continuing Blackpoll Warbler, but lost the Townsend's. 

Blackpoll Warbler (Owen Ridgen)

Blackpoll Warbler (Owen Ridgen)

As the birders dispersed, I followed Josh onto the beach, where we saw two Snow Geese, and got a better look at the Ross's Goose. 

Snow Geese (Owen Ridgen)

Ross's Goose (Owen Ridgen)

We then headed back to 2nd street. We hadn't been standing around long, though, when we noticed a small bird flew overhead, making an odd chip call. Josh got a look at it and quickly IDed it as the Warbler, which we followed, but couldn't relocate. We did find this specimen of what appeared to be Turkey-Tail fungus, which was cool, and a pair of Tufted Titmice visiting a feeder, also nice. 

Turkey-tail Fungus (Owen Ridgen)

Once again returning to 2nd and centre, we were discussing leaving when my dad once again spotted the Warbler. It flew into a dense cluster of Junipers and we lost it again. I briefly got on it again, quite high up, before we lost it again. Pictureless but happy, we decided to leave. Another awesome day of birding! 


When Owen texted me saying that he had found the Townsend's Warbler, I knew that I had to find a way to get down to Rondeau. I had already made a failed attempt at the bird on Tuesday, so I was determined that today was going to be the day!

Early on I found two flyover Snow Geese. No photos as it all happened so quick!

When the chickadees and the kinglets started making a commotion, we knew that if the Townsend's Warbler was going to show up, it would be with this group. After 10 minutes of searching, I saw a small songbird fly into a Juniper Tree...imagine my surprise when I saw the Townsend's!

The bird was very fast, and my camera wasn't cooperating, so this is my best (and only) picture...

Townsend's Warbler (Quinten Wiegersma)

Despite the fact I didn't get any decent photographs, I was very happy to have seen this rarity.

Just before we left, I checked out the bay. There were hundreds of ducks, mostly Redhead and American Wigeon, but there were a few other species in there as well.

Assorted Ducks (Quinten Wiegersma)

It was truly an awesome day!

For the full story and more photos, check out my blog