Birding

Great Canadian Birdathon 2015 Report #2

By Michael McMillan Download the PDF of this article, which contains many beautiful photos. On May 9, at 6:30 a.m. I arrived at George Pond's house in Simcoe to join George, Peggy McArthur, Alan McKeown, and Shelia Smith to begin my Birdathon. A couple of minutes after leaving George's we made our first stop at a grassy field on Luscombe Drive just north of Highway 3 at the west end of Simcoe. Immediately I had my first three birds. An insect-like buzz was coming from a Grasshopper Sparrow perched on a long blade of grass. Somewhere in the distance, was the faint buzz of a Clay-colored Sparrow. Above us a Tree Swallow swooped in a circle before stopping to rest on a wire. Just before we turned west on Highway 3 from Luscombe Drive a Wild Turkey exploded into flight…
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Great Canadian Birdathon 2015 Report #1

By George Pond Download the PDF of this article, which contains many beautiful photos. “Turn down the next road! Yesterday there was a flock of Black-bellied Plovers in a field and a single Golden Plover with them,” Jeremy Hussell said, as we continued to search for birds on our Great Canadian Birdathon. Surprisingly the flock of about 75 of these beautiful tundra nesting shorebirds was still there and Jeremy soon had the Golden Plover, with its completely black underside, in the telescope for us all to see. The lighter head and white belly region of the Black-bellied Plovers were also easy to pick out. These birds were in the same plumage as when I photographed them in the High Arctic last July.   Bruce and Ann Falls, Steve Wilcox, Jeremy Hussell and I, were doing our annual Birdathon to raise…
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Nature Down-Under: Escape from the February deep-freeze

Nature Down-Under: Escape from the February deep-freeze
By: Inga Hinnerichsen We couldn't have picked a better time for our recent trip to New Zealand! The summer is still going strong in February (like our August), but the high tourist season is already tapering off and the local kids are back in school. During the week the beaches are less busy and you'll have a better selection of campsites. On the other hand, this is not a great time to visit Northern Australia! The "Wet" is in full swing, the outback is flooded by torrential rains, devastating cyclones tear at the north and north east parts of the continent. The South is usually hot and dry with plenty of bushfires raging. Roughly 80 million years ago the land mass now known as Zealandia broke away from the supercontinent Gondwana together with Australia. This continent has since eroded away…
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NFN winter birding field event

By: Cody Rowe There is something about the call of the outdoors that brings birders together, regardless of the weather, and Sunday January 18, 2015 was no exception. A group of 13 birders flocked to the shores of Lake Erie, all were eager to venture forth and find birds a little less common than the handful of Mallards and Ring-Billed Gulls that were gathered around the Port Dover Harbour. Led by the wonderful guides, Audrey Heagy and Dave Okines, our seven-vehicle convoy made their way to Silver Lake. Unfortunately the lake was frozen over, but we did find a pair of American Black Ducks, hundreds of Canada Geese, House Sparrows, and some European Starlings. Leaving Silver Lake we followed the Lakeshore Rd to a beautiful dark morph Rough-legged Hawk (one of many seen that day) and a few American Crows.…
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CBC Fisherville count results

Compiled by: Linda Thrower The Fisherville Christmas Bird Count was held on December 28th, 2014. For the end of December the weather was amazing. No snow to speak of, nice clear roads, open water, temperatures above freezing and low winds. I could not have asked for better weather. Well, maybe the glare off the lake could have been less, which would have allowed for a few more waterfowl to be counted. You would have thought with the weather like that the birds would have been easier to find, but I guess with the water and the fields being open the birds were spread out rather than all bunching up. I know we had to beat the bushes to get a few species that are usually an easy find in the winter. But thanks to the awesome birders who were nice…
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CBC Woodhouse count results

Compiled by David Okines Greetings Counters, These are the results of the 28th Woodhouse CBC held on December 14th 2014. The Woodhouse CBC is centred 7 km east of Simcoe, at the crossroads of Highway 3 and Cockshut Road at Renton in Norfolk County and roughly covers from Port Dover to Waterford and just west of Simcoe to east of Jarvis. Weather: The weather this year was certainly different from last year. Last year had a significant snow cover, this year none.There was some drizzle overnight and the day was overcast with occasional light drizzle but this had stopped by mid morning. Most of the standing water was free of ice. Temperatures varied from a low of +2 when owling to a high of +5 during the day. Many thanks to Madaline Wilson for hosting the round-up on short notice.…
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The Owl’s Nest

By: Linda Thrower One very cold moonlit night in February many years ago my husband, a friend and I hauled a ladder down to a frozen pond to reach the duck box in the middle of it. An Eastern Screech Owl had been living in it for quite a few years. As do many homes, a box requires repairs every so often. The roof had a leak in the middle of it and water would drip on top of the owl's head as it was sunning itself in the early morning. My husband climbed the ladder while our friend held it in place on the ice. As I stood watch the owl came out of its box and flew around twice, then settled in a tree watching what was going on with its home. None of us were sure how…
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Baillie Birdathon: Report #2

By Michael McMillan Ricky Dunn, David Hussel, their son Jeremy and I were at the Townsend sewage lagoons when Jeremy located a Bobolink in a bush in a nearby pasture. We had decided that we would begin our Birdathon when we saw a good bird and this was it. The time was 12.20 pm and we now had 24 hours to identify as many bird species as possible. As usual these sewage lagoons were productive for ducks and wading birds. The duck species observed were American Wigeon, Ruddy Duck, Mallard, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Pintail and Wood Duck. The Waders seen were Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin and Wilson's Phalarope. In addition, a number of Cliff Swallows feeding on insects were swooping back and forth over the water. A short drive took us to…
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Baillie Birdathon: Report #1

Dear Friends, We almost didn't go. We had been kept awake by violent thunder storms that swept through the area during the night. The weather man was calling for the same throughout the day. However, at the moment (8 am), although the skies were dark with heavy clouds, there was no rain and no wind. The Blue Elephant restaurant in Simcoe had supplied us with water, pop, veggies and tasty wraps so we decided to meet Steve Wilcox at 10 am, as planned, for our annual "Baillie Birdathon". On the way to Long Point heavy fog rolled in from Lake Erie, not quite pea soup, but very thick. We wondered just how many birds we could identify from 30 feet. Things were looking dismal, but the forecasted storms held off. We parked the van across from the banding station and…
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Short-Eared Owl sighting

Charles Welsh and his family, who farm north of Scotland, ON, were surprised one morning recently to find this beautiful Short-eared Owl sitting on their vehicle. The owl had a vole in its talons and seemed unperturbed by the curious humans as it proceeded to eat its supper in plain view. The Short-eared Owl spends its life in the Arctic, along the shores of Hudson Bay, but often winters in southern Ontario where it may occur in small groups.
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