Gyrfalcon – Well Worth the Effort to See

I never expected to come across a Gyrfalcon, the largest falcon, but upon reading reports of one hanging around a landfill site in eastern Ontario recently, I decided to make a slight detour while driving to visit my dad in the Montreal, Quebec area. Hoping to catch a glimpse of a Gyrfalcon I stopped at a landfill site in Moose Creek, Ontario. The temperature was very cold, around -15C (5F), and with the wind chill, it felt like  minus 30C (-22F) or worse.

Rough-legged Hawk

While birding the Long Point, Ontario area yesterday, I came across a few rough-legged hawks in the area. I have had limited success on the few occasions I have attempted to photograph this species; either the hawk was too far away, even for a super telephoto lens, or the moment I tried to exit my SUV, the hawk would be well beyond camera range before I could set up my camera and tripod. Knowing that I was likely to meet with similar failure, I decided to try a different tactic.

King Eider at Mouth of River

I thought it would be a good idea to test out my new Canon EOS 7D Mark II (cropped sensor) near the mouth of the Humber River where it meets Lake Ontario and where an immature male King Eider had been hanging out. I figured the 60% increase in effective focal length due to the cropped sensor camera in combination with my prime lens would come in handy as I expected the King Eider could be quite a distance from shore, assuming he was still around.

Barred Owl at Last!

Prior to yesterday, I had never had the pleasure of seeing, never mind photographing a Barred Owl. The day began well when I was out birding with my friend, Andrew, and we quickly located an immature male King Eider that has been hanging out near the mouth of the Humber River in Toronto, often very close to shore. Sure enough, the King Eider was relaxing casually just a few feet away from where we stood and we were presented with the closest views either of us had ever had of a King Eider.

An Early Christmas Present!

Seeing a Painted Bunting in Ontario is quite unusual, especially in December. This species may be found at this time of the year in south Florida, Mexico and Central America, but one most definitely would not expect to see a Painted Bunting within a 15-minute drive from my home in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.  However, that’s exactly what happened when a Painted Bunting in nearby Oakville was first reported on eBird on December 17. Upon seeing the eBird report, I scurried over to the location and I was excited to observe the bird the following day.

Palm Warbler migrating through Hamilton County in December

On December 10, Chris Cheatle located a Palm Warbler at Bayfront Park in Hamilton County, Ontario. I checked eBird for Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and this was the only December record of a Palm Warbler I could find. On December 13, I joined Len Manning and Lisa Marie in an attempt to re-find the Palm Warbler. It didn't take long as Len heard a chip and quickly located it.

Tis the Season - Winter Wren

With winter faster approaching, I thought it would be fitting to share with you my first Winter Wren photos. This uncommon very small, round and dark wren measures just four inches and can be differentiated from House Wren by its smaller size significantly stubbier tail. It typically spends much of its time in dense, shaded woodland underbrush; as such, obtaining clean unobstructed views of Winter Wren is not the easiest task I can think of. The white in the background is snow, not gray skies (which were also present but not in the photo).