Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Amherst owling #114

So.....I'd been looking forward to this for soooo long...owl season at owl woods on AI. What a great way to end off the birding year!

Saw a few more gadwalls off the south shore...Isn't it always like that? Spot your first one after so long and then see them everywhere!

Bonnie joined me, Matt and Mary over on the island.  It was Mary's birthday so it was a nice way for Matt to spend the day with his mom. We ran into someone else in there who hadn't seen anything, and I thought, here we go again! We didn't see anything other than chickadees and doves at the feeders, and nothing in the first part of the trail. Then we got into the cedars and were scouting around for a while until I thought I saw something that could be an owl....tried a few more angles and...yep!! Bonnie came over, decided it looked like a saw-whet, but thought it was a little big. We consulted with a few other birders who thought it was a boreal, but we weren't too sure. when we got back to the car, it was pretty obvious that it was a that's how we roll: we go for the rarer ones first and then go for the easy ones.

#114: Boreal Owl; Amherst Island; December 28, 2010

It was actually the only owl we saw that day, but I've got a hunger for more and will probably head back in the near future. As we were leaving people seemed to be coming in and drives and were definitely NOT heeding the signs everywhere that say to be QUIET. It's no wonder the owners are having so many problems...seriously people, let's not be idiots and be respectful so that we (and the owls especially!!!) can continue to enjoy this very special place! I missed the AI Christmas bird count by a few days...have to keep it in mind for next year.

I'm thinking this is going to be the last post of I want to wish you a happy new year, and here's to a great birding year in 2011! You can bet I'll be out that first weekend in January for more!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas birding! #113

Matt and I quickly took a bit of time to scan the lakeshore along Bath before Christmas festivities began...and saw one new one! We also saw 15-20 more tundra swans. Since the water is almost all open here there are still lots of waterbirds around!

#113: Gadwall; December 24, 2010; Millhaven/Bath

Immature Goldeneye

Buffleheads...not how I've normally seen them! immature or female?

Looking forward to heading to the Island in a few days to hopefully see some owls!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

wicked weekend! #110-112

Oh boy, where to start!

In the paper!
Ok, let's start with the exciting bit. I just found out that one of heron pics from a few weeks ago was used as the cover photo for the Ottawa Citizen's World of Birds column! Here's the link to the article and a screenshot...
Perfect weather this weekend ...

On Saturday Matt and I did a loop of the farmfields to the south of Kanata with not much luck (just saw a few hawks). After that we took a trail that is part of the greenbelt near Shirley's Bay. It was relatively quiet, but we did see chickadees, a robin, deer, a raven and crows, and some woodpeckers.
Here's a hairy woodpecker...Hairy indeed, as she had a feather sticking up on the top of her head...looked pretty funny!

This was the hawk (merlin?) we saw...After seeing mostly red-tailed and rough-legged hawks lately, it was really nice to see this one! It didn't seem to mind us at all. There was a woodpecker in the same tree completely oblivious to the hawk. Once it finally realized it had company, it was squawking and flying off...that's when the hawk turned his head as if to ask, "what the heck is going on, you nut?"

whatchu lookin at??

what u doinggggg???

Since we were in the area, we also checked out the Hilda Road feeders. Busy as usual but nothing out of the ordinary. Did see some other wildlife...

Sunday I went out with Sandy and it was hugely successful! I'd been trying forever to hunt down some buntings so he finally showed me where some were....three flocks of them in fact!

#110: Snow Bunting; December 19, 2010

DOF a little short on this one... 

So here came the big surprise of the day---and one I certainly wasn't expecting to see. We both noticed this bird that seemed really big...dark but too big to be a crow and even a raven. So we followed it and it turned out to be a bald eagle! holy jeez!

#111: Bald Eagle; December 19, 2010
Ok, so it doesn't stop there. Then we were totally creeping on some person's feeders that had so many birds...including common redpolls and evening grosbeaks (firsts for me). Don't think I'll post the pics...but I'll be loooking for them again.

Finally, on the way back to my place, saw a Northern Shrike on March Valley. This is a terrible shot but I FINALLY saw one!! I'll try to find another one to get a better picture.

#112: Northern Shrike; December 19, 2010; March Valley Road.

So, all in all....a great birding weekend!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

a good day for hunting!

No newbies to report, but did see some interesting action today!
First was a Great Blue Heron on March Valley Road (there were actually two of them there). It seemed to me kind of late for them to be around, but I'm no expert on that. Anyways, the one sticks its head into the grass and pulls out what looked like a clump of mud. He gives it a shake, dunks it in the water, lifts his head, gives it another shake (it's squirming), dunks it again, and swallows it whole. So what was it? A mouse! I didn't realize they don't just eat it turns out, they will eat small animals and are even known to choke on prey that is too big! I was kind of shocked to witness this!

 Some of us like to dunk our cookies in milk. Some of us like to dunk our mice in the stream...
wet rat.
Here's a close-up! Poor guy!
 Not long after, this red-tailed hawk swoops down onto a golf course. Looks like it got a tasty treat too!
As always, lots of hawks out and about. I'm thinking this one is a rough-legged hawk.
The quest continues for bohemian waxwings, snow buntings and northern shrikes....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More big white birds. #109

I came down to Kingston last night for my grandma's 96th (!!!!) birthday. The weather is so much milder here and there are tons of ducks on the lake all along Bath Road, and there was a huge flock of ducks in Collins Bay. Unfortunately it was getting pretty dark by the time I got around to them and at that point they were a little out of reach (wish I'd still had S.M.'s scope!) so I might try and get back there tomorrow to see what was in there because it seemed to be a huge mix and I'm sure some I haven't counted among them. I also noticed some big white birds on the far side of the bay and remembered there were reports of tundra swans in Kingston so we went over to check it out...and success! There were five there, including one juvenile. Pretty cool...could see the yellow spots on their bills and they were "talking."
Also tried Parrot's luck in the woods. Some stuff in the bay, but too far away.

#109: Tundra Swan; Collins Bay from Lemoine's Point (Kingston); December 4, 2010