Saturday, 27 December 2014

American Three-toed Woodpecker

I took the day, yesterday, to drive to Ottawa, then across the river into Gatineau, Quebec on the news that a close cousin of the Black-backed Woodpecker had been seen in the wooded areas of a residential neighbourhood, that borders on a Golf Course.  I had missed this bird previously in Alaska and north of Timmins, Ontario.  Of course, I had to hope for better luck, as last week I had crossed the border into the US looking for Barnacle and Pink-footed Goose, and had come up with the preverbial Goose Egg.  This time, however, after an hour or so of searching, with the help of local birders Ken and Richard, I did find the target bird and notched my 555th bird of the year and species #633 for my ABA Life List, in just a week shy of three obsessive years of being a Birder.

 American Three-toed Woodpecker:

 Piliated Woodpecker Close by,(I also saw Downy and Hairy on the same street):

Northern Saw-whet Owl at Col. Sam Smith Park today,(#155 for the park list):

Snowy Owl #72 at Col. Sam Smith,(2nd Owl of the day):

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Another Rare Bunting

I returned home from California to discover another misplaced Bunting, in this case, a Painted Bunting that seems to be taking the long way around to its wintering grounds in Florida.  # 292 on my Ontario Life List over my 3 years of birding

Painted Bunting visiting a backyard feeder in Oakville, Ontario

Some of the Other California Birds

I had hoped to finally see a California Condor on this, my second attempt.  First was in Pinnacles National Monument in 2012 and this time at Big Sur.  However, over the course of four days I did count 103 species, including the Rustic Bunting and 4 other ABA Lifers: Tricolored Blackbird, Cassin's Auklet, Black-vented Shearwater and the Island Scrub Jay on Santa Cruz Island.

Black Turnstone

 The deliciously named Cinnamon Teal

 Bathing Common Loon

 Brandt's Cormorant and Frined

 Winter Whimbrel

 Snow Geese at the Salton Sea, just a handfull of the thousands present

 Anna's Hummingbird, California Towhee and Western Scrub Jay

at the Orcott Ranch Horticultural Park

 Common Raven and Island Scrub Jay on Santa Cruz Island

 Nuttle's Woodpecker at the Orcott Ranch

 Winter Pacific Loon vs Western Gull

 Sandhill Cranes at Dusk at the Sulton Sea

 Say's Phoebe greeting visitors

 Townsend's Warbler

 White-faced Ibis at the Salton Sea

Thursday, 18 December 2014

A Rustic Bunting in California

It was fortuitous that we were heading to San Diego for the Winter Meetings this year, as way up the coast, a Rustic Bunting appeared in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  Rustic Buntings are usually only seen in the furthest northern regions of Alaska, so until I can book a trip to Attu, this was the next best thing.

My original view of the Rustic Bunting:

Cropped Closeup of the Rustic Bunting:

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Rambling Brambling in North Bay and Other Wayward Birds

Here are some photos of my recent rare bird chases...

The Brambling in North Bay

 Spruce Grouse in Algonquin Park

 Eurasian Tree Sparrow in Niagara-on-the-Lake

 Adult Male King Eider at Port Weller, returning for the third straight year

 Female and Male Purple Finches at my back yard feeder; first time they've come my home

Some of my other fall photos:



Friday, 26 September 2014

Cape May Wrap-up

After Seeing the Whiskered Tern, you'd think the rest of the trip would be anti-climactic.  Anything but.  We ventured down to Virginia to see not only the wild ponies,(and dolphins), of Chincoteague, but also found a bunch of new birds for the year list as well.   Prior to leaving Cape May, we went to  Stone Harbor for Red Knots, including a few still in breeding plumage, and the Meadows, where we saw a Clapper Rail, on two very well organised bird walks with exceptional leaders.

In Virginia we found Brown-headed Nuthatches right outside our hotel room and at a local Wildlife Refuge, and on the way home stopped at Bombay Hook NWR where we saw Snow Goose, Avocets and Saltmarsh Sparrows.  I had been hoping for Seaside Sparrows as well, but that will have to wait for another time.  Our final stop was at the Iroquois Shore Line NWR where a lovely juvenile Broadwing Hawk soared just low enough for us to identify.

A Lovely grouping of Red Knots

View from the Cape May Ferry

Brown-headed Nuthatch

Bottle-nose Dolphins

Chincoteague Ponies

Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squrrel

 Carolina Chickadee

 Snow Geese

 American Avocet

 Saltmarsh Sparrow