Birding

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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Winter birding in Haldimand County

Story and photos by Shelia Smith The moon was sailing in and out of clouds and the wind was howling when I woke on January 20th. It was not a promising looking day to go on a hike to find birds but I'd signed up to go with the Norfolk Field Naturalists to see what we could find. "Well," I thought, "we probably won't see much but it will be an adventure." So I joined the hike leaders, Audrey Heagey and David Okines along with about 20 members and friends of NFN on the Port Dover pier. We exchanged greetings and introductions. A lady, two boys and a dog were feeding the ducks and gulls at the pier. This gave some of the beginning birders in our group a chance to see some common birds up close. Among the Mallards…
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Birding in Cuba: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

by: Bernie Solymár My first trip to Cuba was in 2004, as part of a group of Canadian agronomists studying sustainable agriculture methods in Cuba. I was so enthralled with the wonderful habitats and biodiversity of the island that I contacted Luis and Yane, the company’s Cuban directors (now living in Toronto) to see about organizing nature-based tours. Eight years later, and several more visits as a tour leader, and I have thoroughly fallen for this tropical jewel that has been largely stalled in time for the past 50 years. Away from the white sand beaches and opulent resorts, there are numerous natural parks and nature reserves, as well as other natural areas that lend themselves to once-in-a-lifetime birding and other nature-related activities. Canadians Graham Gibson and Margaret Atwood discovered several decades ago that birding in this largest tropical island…
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