Monday, 27 August 2012

Number 327!!!

Stuff has been happening lately in Ontario, with interesting birds popping up here and there. A Magnificent Frigatebird (!!!!!), the second in Ontario in 2 months, was seen from the shore of Lake Huron a few days ago. A Brown Pelican was seen at Rondeau on August 24th, and the same or a different Brown Pelican was seen by some fishermen at Point Pelee the same day. Shorebirds, particularly Buff-breasted Sandpipers and the occasional Western Sandpiper, have started to appear throughout Ontario. And finally, some jaegers were seen at Van Wagner's Beach by a lucky few on August 24th.

Since I already had Magnificent Frigatebird for the year, the Brown Pelican wasn't pinned down to a single location, and I had seen a few Buff-breasted Sandpipers, I turned my attention to jaegers on August 25.

Parasitic Jaeger (from last year)

The wind wasn't ideal as it was very light from the south. I was hoping that it would pick up as the day went along and ideally switch to the east. The good news is that it did shift to the east but the bad news is that it was never stronger than about 5 km/h, not strong enough to push jaegers up against the shore in Hamilton.

I set up my scope around 8:00 and started scanning. The water was fairly calm and visibility was pretty good, and at 8:30 I was surprised to see a jaeger off in the distance. It came in from the south and passed in front of the wave tower, at which point I could see it was a juvenile Long-tailed! After a few minutes it ended up flying back to the south and out over the lake.

Long-tailed Jaegers are usually the first species to show up on the lake, usually with the first few sightings in late August. It's rare to see one later than mid September in Ontario. The more common Parasitic Jaeger also sometimes can be found in August, but they peak during September and even into October. Finally, Pomarine Jaegers ( a species I already had from March, most likely an overwintering bird) don't usually show up until late September at the earliest and can sometimes be seen all the way into December.

Pomarine Jaeger - March 25, 2012
 I ended up spending the rest of the day by the lake, hoping for more jaegers. Other birders came and left throughout the day, though no more jeagers decided to make appearances! I have to say that the people-watching on this hot day at the beach was much more entertaining. I stuck with it til about 14:30 then called it quits! The best is certainly yet to come at the beach, as we can expect all three jaegers, Sabine's Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, phalaropes, interesting gulls, and perhaps a gannet as the fall progresses.

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Tropical Storm Isaac......

I'm sure many birders who read this blog already have been following Tropical Storm Isaac for several days. Yes, it sure is starting to look like it may pass over Ontario!

taken from  http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at201209_ensmodel.html 
The only problem is that it is still relatively weak, though it is expected to be upgraded to hurricane status in a day or so. Currently the maximum sustained winds are around 100 km/h. Also, look at Isaac's track...it will spend a loooong time over land before approaching Ontario. Compare this to the track for Hurricane Fran in 1996, a storm that brought with it numerous pelagic species into Ontario, including Black-capped Petrels, Sooty Terns, Wilson's Storm-Petrels, and and American Oystercatchers. Hurricane Fran also reached speeds of 195 km/h, about double that of Isaac's.

Taken from  http://www4.ncsu.edu/~nwsfo/storage/cases/19960906/ 
While Hurricane Isaac might not be strong enough to bring huge numbers of pelagic birds into Ontario, it may still cause some interesting things. Anytime there is a big weather system, the chances for rarities to be found increase. There is the possibility it may bring a few pelagic birds, like maybe another Brown Pelican or frigatebird, and of course large weather systems can cause high flying migrant shorebirds, terns, jaegers, etc to be forced to land. I'm sure some interesting things will show up if Isaac ends up going over southern Ontario!

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I'm off on another big trip in a few days! No, not James or Hudson's Bay, or anywhere else in Ontario. I'm off to Nova Soctia on September 2nd to spend 9 days with my beautiful girlfriend Laura. Unfortunately Tropical Storm Isaac is predicted to hit southern Ontario about a day after I leave, but that's how it goes sometimes. At any rate I am looking forward to surfing, birding, and exploring Canada's east coast with Laura and I'll try not to check ONTbirds too often ;)

Looking forward to seeing these in a few days!

I have a few other trips in the works for this autumn, namely the Moosonee area in late September and possibly the James Bay coast later in the autumn. Should be interesting to see how the rest of the year plays out!

1 comment:

  1. we have some great birds showing up in NS this time of year bud! When you come if you can be sure to head down the south shore! you will see some lifers I`m sure. We have a page on Facebook with all the latest sightings http://www.facebook.com/groups/nsbirdsociety/

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