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.

Falling into Place?

Owls are one of my favorite bird photo subjects. Successfully photographing owls requires several things to go right, not the least of which is you have to locate them first. Fortunately, Short-eared Owls are fairly common and widespread (although decliningand are easier to see than most owls. This past weekend, our birding group spotted five individuals at one location during the late afternoon on a cold winter day. This group of owls did not appear to be skittish at least not when compared with my typical owl experience.

Red-tailed Hawk Perched in a Roadside Tree

Red-tailed Hawk is common across much of North America, but that doesn’t mean that it is an easy subject to photograph. The individual shown in the photographs below was perched in a roadside tree. Red-tailed Hawk is typically shy and usually can be counted on to flush if approached, even if you remain in a parked vehicle for a period of time and almost certainly upon opening your vehicle door. Since there were no other vehicles in sight, I pulled over to the side of the road, less than thirty meters from where the Red-tailed Hawk was perched.

American Tree Sparrow – Richly Patterned

During the long winters in southern Ontario, I find the American Tree Sparrow brightens up my day; not just on days with sunny and clear blue skies, but also on days with dull grey skies and moderate snowfall. The rufous-capped sparrow seen in the photos below was hanging around some thickets near the roadside in Whitby, Ontario; fortunately I was able to capture some clean photos of it when it occasionally landed on a thick but unobstructed branch.

Winter Sparrows – Subtle Beauty

I find sparrow identification can be tricky at the best of times, but fall/winter identification of sparrows adds an additional degree of difficulty; throw in first winter birds and the ID challenge further increases. During the winter, I am thankful whenever I get an opportunity to photograph winter sparrows at close range, as I enjoy studying image details on my computer screen and noting the sometimes subtle, yet important differences among many sparrow species.