Early December in Oakville, Ontario is not typically a time of year when one expects to see either Tennessee Warbler or Orange-crowned Warbler. Yet on December 10, I had the good fortune to not only observe these two species; I was able to capture several uncluttered photos of each. It can be difficult to get unobstructed views of these birds past early spring; however, once the leaves fall chances of getting good views increase substantially. The location was the same as for the Northern Parula that I wrote about in a previous blog post.
Although I have seen and photographed harlequin ducks on occasion previously, never have I had such up-close views of one as what took place earlier this week along the Chateauguay River in Quebec, and that includes harlequin ducks I observed in Seward, Alaska as well as St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs, Alaska back in June.
Wood Warblers (family Parulidae) are a colorful group of birds that I truly enjoy getting out to see and photograph. About half of all Wood Warblers can be found in North America. By this time of year (late fall/early winter) the vast majority of warblers have migrated south from my province of Ontario. However, on occasion one can stumble upon the odd warbler here and there and recently there have been a half dozen or so species that have been reported in a small park in Oakville, Ontario, not far from my home.
For the past several days an adult Eurasian Tree Sparrow has graced birders and bird photographers in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area with fleeting glimpses as it lands infrequently on a bird feeder to snatch some mixed seed. According to the 2014 Avibase Ontario Bird Checklist, the Eurasian Tree Sparrow is rare/accidental in the province of Ontario. Not surprisingly, many bird watchers and photographers have staked out the bird feeder in the hope of catching a glimpse of this bird, myself included.
When I think about Halloween, which is still fresh in my mind, spooky sounds come to mind. If you are out and about at night wherever trees are, you might hear a spooky sound emanating from an owl.
If you want to learn how to identify hawks in flight, then I highly recommend going to one of the many hawk watch sites found in North America. One of the best fall migration hawk watch sites in Canada is Hawkcliff, which is located along Lake Erie near Port Stanley, Ontario.
Earlier yesterday while attending another well run OFO (Ontario Field Ornithologists) field trip in the Hamilton and Burlington area led by stand-up comedian Len Manning, word spread that an Eastern Whip-poor-will (EWPW) was reported by Andrew Keaveney at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, Ontario. Once the OFO field trip ended, many attendees hopped in their vehicles and made the 45-minute drive to Colonel Sam Smith Park.
Yesterday I headed out to Bronte Harbour in Oakville, Ontario after receiving an initial Ontbird alert that a Laughing Gull was present on the west pier. By the time I reached the harbour, a correction in the identification of the gull had been made. In fact it was a Franklin’s Gull, which is very similar in appearance to a Laughing Gull. Franklin’s Gull is not a frequent visitor to this area. I looked up records of Franklin’s Gull in the Hamilton area on eBird and the most recent sighting prior to July 26, 2014 was back on October 6, 2007.
Nottawasaga Island is a small treed island located at the southern end of Georgian Bay near Collingwood, Ontario. According to IBA Canada, this is one of only four large Great Egret colonies in Canada. Recently I made a trip to the island during breeding season.
For those interested in learning more about Great Egrets, Chip Weseloh, together with Dave Moore and Tina Knezevic, wrote an informative article that appeared in Ontario Birds (April 2014) on the wintering locations of Ontario-banded Great Egrets.