On Saturday I visited the Long Point, Ontario area located on the north shore of Lake Erie. We came across hundreds of Tundra Swans flying over nearby fields, many of them landing to feed in the area. A combination of fog, cloudy skies and distance hampered any attempt to capture strong images of the Tundra Swans. Early in the afternoon we came across two adult Bald Eagles sitting on a nest. Although the skies had cleared up somewhat by then, distance to subject meant that I had to be satisfied with excellent looks through my spotting scope while my camera gear took a rest.
Seeing my first Gyrfalcon, a juvenile, last year near Castlemann, Ontario was very exciting and I was thrilled to capture precious few record ID images at the time, in spite of braving extremely cold temperatures of -26C and trudging through snow that was almost waist high at times while carrying my camera gear. Yesterday in Lambton Shores, Ontario, under much more comfortable temperatures and gray skies I got a second opportunity to see this powerful and formidable species, only this time the temperature was a little above freezing, which made it much more pleasant.
Upon leaving the harbour in Port Ryerse, Ontario on Saturday, my friend Andrew and I quickly stumbled across a flock of Cedar Waxwings landing in some nearby berry trees. They are one of my favourite species to observe; however, I haven't had many opportunities previously to photograph them in good light. I quickly got out of the SUV and I smiled upon realization that lighting conditions were close to optimal and so I proceeded to make several images, a few of which I've shown here.
I've had precious few opportunities to see, nevermind photograph a Northern Shrike. It is an uncommon to rare winter resident across southern Canada and the northern United States (Dunne 2006). On February 6, I spotted a winter resident of Bronte Provincial Park in Oakville, Ontario perched at the top of a bare tree close to an open field. I managed to click several frames, a few of which I've included here.
I’ve been fortunate to have the pleasure of photographing many Snowy Owls in Ontario and Quebec. Each encounter is unique in its own way, especially when it comes to photographing these magnificent creatures. Individual personalities vary greatly; some are skittish and do not tolerate approach within two telephone poles or more along a side road while others appear tame and do not seem bothered by humans approaching with care.
One of the fall migration stopovers for many Tundra Swans is the Niagara River IBA. Fall migration begins in September and lasts until mid-December, peaking in October and November (Dunne 2006). On November 30 I saw hundreds of these swans at different locations along the Niagara River between Niagara Falls and Fort Erie. One group chose to hang out close to the Canadian shoreline providing a great opportunity to capture some photos in good light.
The Niagara River, which is known for its breath taking waterfalls, is an international waterway that is also important for its annual gathering of birds. Four species congregate here in significant numbers (i.e., more than 1% of world population): Bonaparte’s Gull, Herring Gull, Canvasback and Common Merganser. Additionally more than 1% of the Canadian national population of Ring-billed Gulls is present here as well.
On November 30 I drove from Niagara Falls, Ontario where I had spent the weekend looking at gulls and other bird species along the Niagara River to Whitby, Ontario where a Mountain Bluebird had been reported the previous day as well as early yesterday morning. I was thrilled to see and photograph the beautiful female Mountain Bluebird, a lifer for me, as it spent much of the day making its way back and forth along a pathway in search of bugs and insects.
For the past week or so a few Cave Swallows have been seen in the Oakville, Ontario area. My first observation of this species occurred on November 14. At the time, sunset was minutes away and lighting conditions were extremely poor. I managed to snap a handful of photos but the quality was poor both in terms of sharpness (or lack thereof) and high noise levels.
Earlier this week I went on a walk through parts of The Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga, Ontario. At this time of the year, most leaves have fallen off trees and birds can be spotted more easily. With my bins and camera by my side I set off to see what photo opportunities were about. Many of the birds I came across are locally common; however, I was pleased to get several clean views and photos of birds that I have added to my website photo gallery collection.