Saturday, February 18, 2017

Places I'd love to check this June...

If only there were more than 24hrs. in a day you'd likely find me at one or two of these locations:

Bickford Oak Woods
Back in 2007 I did two rounds of breeding bird surveys in Bickford Oak Woods, consisting of a total of 7 days was buggy, the American Prickly-Ash was pretty damn annoying in certain spots, and wet...but it was also really interesting and one location I hope to get back to in the near future in June. Over the course of our fieldwork, we found the Swamp Cottonwood grove, a singing male Acadian Flycatcher, 3 male Cerulean Warblers, Red-headed Woodpecker and Brewster's Warbler.  Not too mention that there's a large swamp (I vividly remember wading chest deep for >100m) that screams Prothonotary Warbler (Larry Cornelis had a singing male PROW here in 2001 or 2003). 

Moraviantown FN
I've only birded Moraviantown FN once (June 24, 2015), but was impressed with the quality and numbers, as well as several Species at Risk and Species of Conservation Concern present in only 45 minutes of driving, including White-eyed Vireo and several Hooded Warblers. I'd love to go back for a morning, and would expect Cerulean Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher as high candidates.

Chippewa's of the Thames FN
For the first time last year, I checked out the Chippewa's of the Thames First Nations, on June 13th and 21st and wasn't disappointed....a total of 3 Cerulean's, a Prothonotary, and several Hooded Warblers made it a great morning. Other things like Yellow-throated Vireo and Blue-winged Warblers were also plentiful (~10 of each species). 

Wainfleet Bog
I haven't ever checked out Wainfleet in the summer, but recently toured the area and was really impressed with some of the habitats along the road, particularly in the western area of the natural area. Species like Prothonotary Warbler and King Rail really stand out as having suitable habitat here...hopefully I'll be able to check it out this June! If there are any Niagara birders who read this...I'd definitely check it out!

Hopefully this spur some birders to check these areas out (or other hotspots)!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Eastern Ontario fieldwork this week

This past week, I headed out to Morrisburg, with my colleague, James Barber, Thursday through Saturday, for some field work, north of the St. Lawrence.  Having said this, it wasn't all 'work' and we managed a good haul of eastern Ontario birds too.

I left Waterloo early on Thursday (Feb. 9th) to pick up James in Kingston. On my way I saw a dead Barred Owl, 3km east of the Port Hope Onroute.  I had heard rumblings of owls throughout the Ottawa area and this was certainly an indication of more to come.

Picking up James in Kingston, we were soon bound for Morrsiburg.  Just before getting off the Hwy. we picked out a nice adult Red-shouldered Hawk, again, just east of the Morrsiburg Onroute, as well as a single Northern Shrike -- a species I've had a really hard time getting west of Toronto over the last 2-3 winters.

James and I did a few hours of field work until 4:30 or so, and were heading back when we picked out an eagle just over the 401.  Coming to a stop revealed it to be an adult Golden Eagle! Here's a pic. James managed:
Friday, we were out for the whole day bush-whacking in the cold (-17 C!!), doing some ELC; our best bird during the day was a female Red-bellied Woodpecker near Finch.  As we were finishing and coming back to Morrisburg, we wandered some of the roads north of the 401 and found this beauty, just before dusk (also photographed by James)!

I hadn't seen a Great Gray Owl in quite some time (last was 2013) --- it is always a treat to see one of these and hopefully I'll see a few more this winter!

Saturday, we were only in the field until 10:30am or so, and then started making our way home.  On our way though we had 2 more Northern Shrikes, the Red-shouldered Hawk near Napannee and another Barred Owl -- this time alive (I had managed to make a detour to visit Mike and his family near Peterborough).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

LP + Haldimand

I had grand ideas of heading down to the north shore of Erie to see some sparrows, driving along the lake in Haldimand County, then heading to the Niagara River, however, things were not to be.

Getting up this am, I realized we had gotten 10-15cm of snow overnight and there was serious lake effect (Lake Huron) snow still coming down at 6:30am. Anyways, I made my way down to Simcoe and realized there was pretty strong lake effect occurring even in Haldimand, so I made a detour to Long Point and checked out a few spots before heading east.

First up, I picked up the long-staying Smith's Longspur - so long, in fact that it is no longer a flagged species in eBird for Norfolk...!

Continuing, I checked Front Road in Port Royal, as the bridge area would likely be sheltered from the strong NW winds. Managed a few WTSP, and my year Sandhill Cranes and Brown Creeper. After this I headed to Old Cut, to check the feeders, and managed to get Tufted Titmouse, Red-winged Blackbird, a few Cowbirds, and more WTSPs, but missed the good stuff (Northern Goshawk, Fox Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Gray Catbird) seen later by Adam and Taylor -- oh well!

After this I started heading back east, as the lake effect snow was now dissipating on the radar. Best highlights were a single Double-crested Cormorant near Selkirk and a Pied-billed Grebe below the dam in Dunnville (a great winter spot). I also checked out the conifer plantations at Selkirk hoping for some owls...but no dice. It was interesting to see the left-over banding operations from John Miles. 

With the wind being pretty persistent, and few birds, I decided to head straight to Vineland, where I had to drop some things off at an acquaintance and headed home. I always like checking out Haldimand County, especially in winter -- John Miles was on to something with his banding at Selkirk. All in all, managed to up my year list to 76, but who's counting.

On a different, tomorrow I'm off to the Cornwall for work and am really hoping for some Gray Partridge. That got me onto thinking...has anyone checked out the Brantford airport in recent years for them? I checked eBird and they were last there in January 2013 (15!) ....I don't see why they wouldn't be around -- who's going to check???

Way back in '04...I've seen GRPA as recently as 2011, which was also the last time I checked for the species.