Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Quick update - unsuccessful Hamilton trip

Quick update on the old year list....

I headed down to Hamilton on Tuesday since I have no classes on Tuesday/Thursday. My main targets were Brant and White-fronted Geese. Both these species I will undoubtedly have many more opportunities to look for, but they are still tough birds to find.

And I struck out. It rained for a lot of the day and despite looking at seemingly every single goose from Bayfront Park in Hamilton around the bay to Windermere Basin, and the Lake Ontario shoreline from Spencer Smith Park in Burlington to 50 Point Conservation Area in Winona, I couldn't turn up anything interesting! Not Cackling Geese either.

My first Brant - December 10, 2008

I did add 6 new year birds but they are all very common birds that I will get multiple times this year. The 6 new birds were:

Pied-billed Grebe
all three scoters
Purple Finch
Ring-necked Duck

By the way - I did get some documentation-purpose photos (also known as bad photos) of several species in Hamilton and will probably end up posting them soon. Edit - here they are.

Pied-billed Grebe - Desjardins Canal, Dundas

Long-tailed Duck - 50 Point marina

Tomorrow I am heading back down to Hamilton to give the geese another shot. It is kind of hard to get motivated to drive to Hamilton for round 2, especially since these are geese that I've seen several times in Ontario. But that's the life of a big year birder!

I also hope to pick up Long-eared Owl at Bronte (if anyone has any specific locations where they have been seen lately, I would be grateful) as well as a try for Short-eared Owl later in the afternoon. If I get those two owls, the only other regularly occurring species I need will be Boreal, Northern Hawk, and Barred.


The itinerary for the northern trip is coming together! As of today, the 2 rarities are still coming to feeders (Gray-crowned Rosy-finch and Spotted Towhee). As well, there are several Harris's sparrows being seen and winter finches are super abundant. Northern Hawk-Owls have started being found so hopefully we'll get one! We'll put in a solid effort for both boreal woodpeckers and hope to cross path with all 3 grouse and Bohemian Waxwings if everything goes to plan.

Northern Hawk-Owl - February 23, 2008

One of my goals at the start of the year was to get all 10 regularly occruring owls and all 10 finches by the end of March. After this northern trip I should have all 10 finches (11 with the rosy-finch) and 9 of the 10 owls. If I can get the two major rarities, I will have 5 Code-4 or higher birds on my list for January. Not a bad start considering I will need at least 20 for the year.

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