Thursday, 2 January 2020

2019 Ends with a Northern Hawk Owl and 730 Days of eBirding

It’s been a great year for birding, in that we started the year heading way south to go birding in Ecuador for tropical species and finished a rare visit from a Northern Hawk Owl about forty minutes north of Toronto.  I finished 2019 adding 121 birds to the world Life List and 7 ABA Lifers giving me 685,(for a total of 695 in the ABA area on eBird).  Speaking of eBird I submitted a list every day of the year for the second straight year and am on a streak that,(including New Years Day 2020), is at 731 days.

2019 ABA Lifers:
      Date:                        Species;                                                  ABA Code:            State:                              Notes:

Apr 16, 2019
Colima Warbler
Big Bend National Park - Chisos Mountains South Rim
Apr 18, 2019
Crimson-collared Grosbeak
Quito Mazatlan WBC  Female
Jun 23, 2019
Little Egret
Gilsland Farm Audubon Center - Cumberland
Jun 24, 2019
Bicknell’s Thrush

Okemo Ski Area Mount Holly calling at Ludlow Overlook
Jul 11, 2019
Pacific Golden Plover

British Columbia
Delta Peninsula scope view only 
Sep 16, 2019
Curlew Sandpiper
Bellwood Lake, Wellington County
Nov 7, 2019
* Ferruginous Pygmy Owl
 King Ranch RGVBF 
* The Pygmy Owl was already on my list from Panama as heard only.

However, that streak may soon end, as I am going into the hospital next week for spinal surgery and expect there to be days where I can’t even look out the window.  Once I am home I will be indoors for about a month, birding through the windows at my various bird feeders.

So, a few weeks ago, word got out of a Northern Hawk Owl and it had been since 2012 since I had seen one, way up north in Hillardton Marsh.  I had actually thought to go up there for possible boreal species, but, once again, back issues made it a difficult drive.  I drove up as soon as I got the news and was rewarded with great looks at the owl as it sat perched atop a light pole, and the later in a bare tree.

That weekend I brought Sue up and she got to enjoy it during a rather heavy snow fall, befitting it’s “northern” designation.  The drive home was a bit slippery but worth it for Sue adding another bird to her Life List, edging two ahead of me. The blobs in the photo are from the snow.  
I shot this with my iPhone through my Vortex scope using a PhoneSkope Adaptor:

In other rare bird news, closer to home, a Brown Thrasher has been coming a suit feeder in James Gardens, down the road from my home.  With my spinal issues and pain it’s harder for me to take long walks and the feeder is a short walk from the parking lot.

Other photos from the park, including the return of the beautiful Common Mergansers:

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