I have been fairly busy with school, but have managed to get out birding most weekends since my last post from Long Point! It's been fairly slow in terms of rarities but good nonetheless.
October 19 Josh and I headed over to Van Wagner's Beach to pick up some birds on the strong NE winds. We had some luck with all 3 species of jaegers giving fairly good views, Pomarine was a new addition to my Ontario list! Another nice bonus for the day was an adult Little Gull in with a flock of Bonaparte's, fairly rare in the Hamilton area as far as I know.
October 22/23 I went down to Cambridge to do some banding with Brett, and had a good time as usual. As soon as we got there Brett said to me, "I have a present for you! Careful when you stick your hand in there." Oh man it's going to be something good! Sure enough, I pulled out a Northern Saw-whet Owl, definitely the highlight of the weekend. Other than that we had a fairly successful weekend with 10 species of sparrows (including Clay-colored) out of around 22 species total banded.
October 28 Emily and I went over to Hamilton, unfortunately in very nice weather, to see what was around. Not a whole lot, it turned out, but we did get some great views of Black Scoters from Gray's Rd and another addition to my Ontario list - Northern Gannet.
Yesterday, Josh Vandermeulen and I met up with Mark Dorriesfield, Reuven Martin and Matt Strimas to head to Hamilton for the Fall Bird Count. Our route included LaSalle marina up the bay to the Skyway and Windermere Basin. There weren't many highlights in our area other than a lot of ducks! After we finished the route we did some extra birding, picking up a Brant at Spencer Smith, a flock of 9 Red-throated Loons close to shore at Van Wagner's and a cooperative Northern Saw-whet Owl at Fifty Point (unfortunately my camera was in the car, so only photos were phone-scoped...next time!). While we sat and quietly watched the Saw-whet, it coughed up a pellet! Cool to see, but we were unable to find the pellet so we could see what it had eaten. On the way back to Guelph after this rather long day we stopped at Mountsberg Conservation Area, where a bit of scoping turned up a massive flock of coots along with several duck species and some late Greater Yellowlegs. Our duck total for the day came to 23 species (out of a possible 24 regulars - missed Blue-winged Teal) - add in 2 geese, 2 swans, 3 grebes and 2 loons and it was a waterbird-filled day! Our total species list was somewhere around 75, not bad for a sunny November day.
Anyway, that's all for now, I'll post some pictures in the next couple days!