Rusty Blackbird – A Species in Severe Population Decline

Over the past 18 months or so, whenever I visit family in the Montreal area, I try to arrange a bird outing with my friend and expert birder, Mark Dennis. Recently, we got together once more for what may have been our last bird outing together in Quebec as Mark and his wife, Sandra, have sold their home and bought a new home in Nova Scotia. Mark is not only a great birder, but he is a friendly chap with a good sense of humour and has taught me a lot about birding.

Glossy Ibis Glistens at Pond

Yesterday, while driving home from Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec following a brief family visit, I stopped at an OnRoute rest area to grab some lunch and check my email. I was surprised to read a report on Ontbirds that a Glossy Ibis was spotted at Sobeys Pond in Whitby, Ontario. Although several hours away from where I was at the time, it was essentially on my way home so I checked out the ponds during late afternoon and sure enough the Glossy Ibis was still present and providing nice views.

Red-necked Grebe Carrying Nesting Material

The Red-necked Grebe is a mid-sized grebe that I can enjoy observing and photographing at this time of year as it can be seen along several areas of Lake Ontario near my home. Many of the Red-necked Grebes have paired up and nest building appears well under way in some cases. In today’s post, I highlight a number of photos I made of one pair that didn’t seem to mind my presence as they swam back and forth slowly just offshore from where I was sitting on some rocks.

Eastern Bluebirds - A Welcome Sight in Spring

While hanging out at the Beamer CA Hawkwatch in Grimsby, Ontario yesterday on a sunny and warm spring day, a pair of Eastern Bluebirds flew into a tree close to the tower. I managed to get a few clicks of the pair before returning to photograph the hawks.  Eastern Bluebird is one of my favorite thrushes and I was pleased with the images I made, especially the portrait of the female Eastern Bluebird, which is included among the photos in today’s blog post.

Fireworks from Golden-crowned Kinglets

Recently I visited the Long Point area of Ontario, which is an excellent provincial birding hot spot. The day proved fruitful for early spring migration as I saw about 80 species and the trails at Old Cut banding station were teeming with migrants. Upon arrival, warmer weather combined with heavy fog proved a blessing in disguise as migrant birds like golden-crowned kinglets were observed frequently along the snow-covered ground or foraging low in shrubs.

Neotropic Cormorant Sighting in Ontario

On March 31, a Neotropic Cormorant sighting initially was reported by Brandon Holden as well as others later that day. For Ontario, Canada this is big news as a check on eBird data references only a handful of Neotropic Cormorant sightings in the province, the first going back to 2005 in Wheatley Harbour, Ontario. However, it seems that brief Neotropic Cormorant sightings in Ontario have occurred each year since 2011. This was only the second sighting for the Hamilton, Ontario area on record.

Tundra Swans Migrating

Sometime during March and early April the Long Point, Ontario area becomes one of the staging stopovers in the Great Basin for Tundra Swans (sometimes several thousand). They can often can be seen flying overhead or foraging in large groups in the cornfields. The exact timing of their arrival is not dependable, but what is dependable upon their arrival is the spectacular show they put on for birders and photographers alike.

Spring Hawk Migration

Spring hawk migration is underway at Beamer Conservation Area in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada, albeit the temperature is still below normal for this time of year in this part of the country. I usually keep an eye on the weather and recent hawk reports and predictions and when conditions seem appropriate, I’ll head out to the hawk watch looking for photo opportunities.