Monday, December 22, 2008


We did the 54th annual Sault Ste. Marie Christmas Bird Count on Saturday. I had the route C9, which extends from the Bushplane Museum to Boundary road, and up to Wellington/Trunk. It was my first time on this route, I usually do C8 which covers the waterfront from the Locks to the Bushplane. I had 32 species in the 8 hours I spent cruising the waterfront and the backroads, with a total of 584 individuals. Highlights were a Great Black-backed Gull and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers at the Pine St. Marina, a Black-backed Woodpecker at the Algoma U woodlot(!), a Northern Shrike at Bellevue Park, and a mixed flock of waxwings in the east end. I ended up with the highest species count of any route, which isn't really a surprise as the route is one of the better ones. For the weather, it started out at -23C (-11F) with a -32C (-25F) windchill, and warmed up to a toasty -13C (8F) by the afternoon. Clear, sunny skies were the bonus of the cold weather, and it has gone back to being cloudy and snowy already... The complete list is below the pics.

Northern Shrike at Bellevue Park
Black-backed Woodpecker at Algoma University

Canada Goose - 1
American Black Duck - 1
Mallard - 62
Common Goldeneye - 32
Hooded Merganser - 2
Common Merganser - 43
Red-breasted Merganser - 5
Bald Eagle - 4
Herring Gull - 6
Great Black-backed Gull - 1
Rock Pigeon - 31
Mourning Dove - 2
Downy Woodpecker - 2
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
Black-backed Woodpecker - 1
Pileated Woodpecker - 1
Northern Shrike - 1
Blue Jay - 1
American Crow - 6
Common Raven - 11
Black-capped Chickadee - 70
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 4
White-breasted Nuthatch - 4
Brown Creeper - 1
European Starling - 28
Bohemian Waxwing - 5
Cedar Waxwing - 15
Dark-eyed Junco - 2
White-winged Crossbill - 22
Common Redpoll - 38
Pine Siskin - 64
American Goldfinch - 117
Number of Species: 32
Number of Individuals - 584

Monday, December 15, 2008


As you can probably tell, I haven't been out lately and am getting quite bored of it. I was pretty busy this weekend though, trying to get a ton of homework done before this week and trying to avoid shovelling the massive quantities of snow. Today is our third day in a row of major winter storm warnings! Hooray... Of course, it isn't even winter yet, although we have had 5 days of storm warnings and about 7 days with snowfall above 15cm (6 inches). No snow days though, us Northern Ontario people are hardy. Also the board of education sucks.... Wind chill tonight is expected to be around -30ºC, with winds up to 60 km/h and snowfall around 10cm. Maybe tomorrow will be a snow day? Probably not. On a happier note, Searchmont will likely be opening all lifts this weekend! Earliest opening that I've ever seen, although with over 200cm of snow so far it is to be expected. So, Wake-a-thon (stay awake all night) on Thursday, CBC on Saturday, and Searchmont Sunday!!!! Then off to Sudbury for Christmas. I'll post our CBC results, probably just for my block (I'm leading one of the riverfront ones), but if I get the total results I'll post those too!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Birding yesterday

As you can probably tell, the birding around here in winter is fairly slow... We were under a winter storm warning and snow squall warning for yesterday, but I decided I'd rather go out in the snow than in the cold. It was -4ºC (25ºF) yesterday afternoon, and is -26ºC (-15ºF) with the wind chill right now! Our first day of real cold, it was -20ºC (-4ºF) without the wind this morning! Anyway, the real reason I went out was to look for some Hawk Owls that had been reported. I had no luck with either of them, but then again the other people that were out looking had no luck either. Since most of my time was spent looking for these, I didn't concentrate too hard on looking for other species, but I did do a cruise down the waterfront, and found (among many Mallards): 8 Gadwall, 2 American Wigeon, 2 Black Ducks (unusually low #), a Red-necked Grebe, and all 3 Mergansers, along with some Goldeneyes. Down at the Locks I also had 5 first-winter Glaucous Gulls all in one binoc view! From one vantage point on the river, I counted 6 Bald Eagles flying past when a coast guard airboat cruised past, scaring up all the waterfowl and every other bird on the river. Not much else around...a few redpolls and siskins, along with the usual common birds - only 25 species for the afternoon.

On the snow front, we are up to somewhere between 160 and 175 cm (63-69 inches) of snow for the season! Searchmont is due to open next weekend, and the instructors are already skiing!