Tundra Swans Awake Along Niagara River

Last week I travelled to the Niagara River, Ontario area to look for Tundra Swans, as well as other bird species. Arriving fairly early in the morning, my friend, Andrew, and I checked out the river shoreline as we drove along the parkway. We spotted several Tundra Swans, which slept afloat on the river near the shoreline and we pulled over to see if we could get some close views. I’ve always found Tundra Swans to be pretty skittish and they typically will vacate the premises once they spot you approaching.

Common Redpolls Feeding on Cones

A couple of winters back I observed a few Common Redpolls at my backyard birdfeeders on many days. They are an irregular winter visitor to southern Canada and so far this winter a limited number of sightings in and around the Toronto area have been reported. While birding in a nearby park recently, I observed a dozen Common Redpolls feeding on small cones. It appeared to me that all of the common redpolls were “Southern” Common Redpoll (A.f. flammea).

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.