Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Winter" birding in Guelph

Reuven and I decided to cruise around Guelph this morning once the downpours stopped, since it was another warm day (13C) and there were winter birds to be found! Our first stop was at Riverside Park (where the Greater White-fronted Goose pic below was taken), where there were no geese in sight. We did hear and then see one of the wintering Tufted Titmice though. It'd be cool if they stuck around to breed! Then it was off to the Lafarge site, where we quickly heard the Orange-crowned Warbler that had been refound the day before. It chipped constantly for about a minute, but when we got close enough to possibly spot it, it stopped calling and we never heard it again. There has also been a Saw-whet Owl hanging out on the property somewhere, and after about 40 minutes of searching I eventually found it.

It didn't look very happy (soaking wet, as you can tell), so I just snapped a quick shot and once Reuven had seen it we left it alone. While we were searching we had a Bohemian Waxwing and 2 Red Crossbills fly over. I also spotted what was probably a Green Frog jumping into the creek - crazy for January!! Afterwards we met up with Jesse to scour the Arboretum (unsuccessfully) for the Barred Owl and Brown Thrasher, only managing to find 2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers.

After lunch I went up northeast of Guelph to look for some previously reported birds for my Wellington winter list, and managed to turn up Carolina Wren, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Pine Grosbeak and an American Kestrel. I am still hoping for one or two more warm-weather birds out of this crazy warm spell!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

It's January, right?

Brett, Erika, Jesse, Reuven and I headed out of Guelph this morning around 630 with one main goal - Townsend's Solitaire. We arrived on site near Kendal at 820, and promptly waited an hour and a bit in the extremely thick fog along with a crowd of other birders. Eventually the bird showed up and everyone had decent looks, although the light left something to be desired! Luckily we had some Evening Grosbeaks and a multitude of strange noises (including a calling Saw-whet Owl?!?!) to keep us entertained while we waited.

Some record shots:
A very cropped shot through the fog

 Digiscoped with my lens at 70mm through Mark Field's scope!

Since it was still fairly early in the morning, we planned a few stops on the way back to Guelph! Some highlights:

Whitby - continuing Eurasian Wigeon, a pair of Harlequin Ducks, Common Loon, Great Horned and Short-eared Owls and I found the remains of a Long-eared Owl (likely a meal of the Great Horned).

Pickering - well, just north of - no highlights really as we missed the apparently reliable Red-headed Woodpecker.

Oakville - Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers - the other ones (Cape May, Bay-breasted, Nashville) may have succumbed to the cold temps leading up to today or may have moved to a different territory now that all the snow is gone!

 There were up to 3 Orange-crowned Warblers here in late December

Burlington part 1 - 2 Barn Swallows at Beachway Park along with 2 more Yellow-rumped Warblers!

Burlington part 2 - a stop at LaSalle marina beefed up our waterfowl list for the day with most of the regulars and a Double-crested Cormorant.

Overall it was a pretty productive (and long) day, birding sunrise to sunset and picking up 62 species! Not everyday that you get warblers, Barn Swallows and Common Redpolls within hours of one another! Oh, and it got up to a high of 15C - what is with this weather? Not that I'm complaining, maybe some birds will think it's spring and lend themselves to my winter list!

Friday, January 11, 2013


I haven't really gone on a real birding adventure yet this year, but I have gotten out around Guelph a couple mornings since I've been back, mainly to look for some interesting birds! There was a pair of Tufted Titmice, a bird I hadn't yet seen in Wellington County, at Riverside Park, along with a Greater White-fronted Goose. On round 1 I saw one of the titmice, round 2 I heard both and saw the Goose! Up close and personal too, although not quite as close as the tame one in California back in 2011.

There were also a fair number of Canada Geese sleeping in the morning mist

Tomorrow I search for a Townsend's Solitaire - since I didn't go for the one in Hamilton last fall due to schoolwork, this will be a new one for Ontario for me...if it's still there of course.