Sunday, 13 November 2011

A few birds from the weekend

This weekend I had plans to drive out to Kingston to visit my sister and brother, both who attend schools out there. I left Friday mid morning and planned to do a few stops along the way for birds. I didn't see much til I got to Thickson's Road area. While I was scanning the bay at the end of Thickson's Road, I was happy to hear two White-winged Crossbills fly over. They were my first WWCRs since the winter of 2008/2009! Other birds seen here included 1 Red-throated Loon and a whole bunch of ducks. I also stopped briefly at Presqui'lle Provincial Park. The male Eurasian Wigeon was still swimming near the campground office, but it was too late in the afternoon for photos, plus it was quite some distance from me. This was my second Eurasian Wigeon of the year - the first was a male I found at Blenheim in late April. Due to the waterfowl hunt I was unable to scan for shorebirds on Gull Island (I didn't want to get shot!).

I stopped at Presqui'lle again on the way back from Kingston today. This time there was no hunt going on so I was able to check out the situation. Unfortunately I neglected to bring any boots with me, so I ended up wading about 100m through ice-cold, knee-deep water to get to the island. I suppose it was worth it, since I scared up a Purple Sandpiper with all the other shorebirds. The diversity was pretty decent considering the late date - I also had:

79 Dunlin
2 White-rumped Sandpiper
10 Sanderling
6 Black-bellied Plover
2 Greater Yellowlegs

As expected, all the shorebirds were juveniles. I also had a skulking American Tree Sparrow on the island that was acting like a crazy rare sparrow or something, the way it skulked through the grasses. Other than a pipit and some Snow Buntings, it was the only Passerine I saw on Gull Island. Unfortunately there weren't any super interesting gulls or ducks out on the lake or on the island. The walk back through the icy water seemed twice as far as the walk there!

I did grab a few photos of a confiding White-rumped Sandpiper and Dunlin, so I will post them when I get time.

In recent news, check out these photos of the Lucy's Warbler found at Whitefish Point. What a crazy bird!!! 

We have had persistent strong south and southwest winds lately, but we haven't had any southwestern specialties to show for it. Mainly this is because the low pressure systems are passing to the west of us.Michael Butler did an excellent write-up on some of the rarities showing up just to the west of us.

Some low pressure systems are moving in from Texas, and they look like they could be more in line to go over Ontario. The weather forecast is calling for strong south and southwest winds for the next little while! I am finally going to predict that we will be getting Cave Swallows later this week/next weekend. Ash-throated Flycatchers are another species that could very easily show up at this time. Who knows whats out there, so get out birding!

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