Other bird highlights included a juvenile Northern Goshawk chasing something, a couple of Purple Finches, and a Red Crossbill which flew over while I was near Ostrander Point. I then decided that I was ready to leave, and so I began the drive back.
Not before a stop at Presqu'ile, however! Since it was a Tuesday, it meant that the whole park was open (several locations are closed 4 days a week for duck hunting). It was warm and sunny again, so I thought I would try my luck out at Gull Island, the Purple Sandpiper capital of Ontario.
I was hoping for the Purps, but the owls were the most interesting things out there. Two Snowy Owls, both heavily barred individuals, were on patrol on the gravel bars offshore. I wish I had brought my camera with me, but since I didn't, this crappy phone-scoped shot will have to do.
|Snowy Owl - Presqu"ile P.P.|
Other highlights out here included all 3 scoters, a Northern Harrier, and a distant group of shorebirds on the next island over, which had vacated the area by the time I was close enough to scope them out. Probably a few Purples mixed in, but oh well!
I was driving along Paxton Drive later, when I looked up to the left and just happened to see an owl looking back at me! It was a Barred Owl, a species which is being seen in increased numbers in southern Ontario this year. I stopped the car and managed a few photos from inside the car, resting the camera on the window ledge. Eventually the owl heard something, since it focused on a spot back in the woods and went in for the kill. I never did find out if it was successful or not, since it was partially obscured by the trees.
|Barred Owl - Presqu"ile P.P.|
Any day you unexpectedly see two species of owls is a good day! I was particularly happy to see the Barred owl, since my only two previous sightings this year were ones that others found and I "chased". There is a lot more excitement in finding your own! This was my 307th "self-found" bird this year. Other potential additions to my "self-found" year list include Greater White-fronted Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Barrow's Goldeneye, Gray Partridge, Red Phalarope, Black-headed Gull, California Gull, Great Gray Owl, and Townsend's Solitaire. Who knows, maybe I'll hit 310.