Sunday, 23 December 2012

December warblers and swallows

This morning, I had to be in Toronto for some interviews so I thought I might as well go birding for the afternoon on my way home. I started out at Colonel Sam Smith Park in west Toronto around noon. The wind and gloomy weather was not ideal for finding birds, though I did come across some good winter birds in 3 Red-necked Grebes and 1 Pied-billed Grebe. The Pied-billed Grebe was my 100th species for the City of Toronto. I know that is not very impressive, but that means that I have seen at least 100 bird species in 22 of Ontario's 50 counties. Not a bad start considering that I only had seen 100 species in 10 counties prior to this year. Check out this photo that I took of the Pied-billed with my phone - perhaps my finest work yet.


Next up was Sedgewick Park in Oakville. The Blackpoll was seen again by birders that morning, so I was hoping that the 3rd time would be the charm for me. After about 1/2 an hour of checking the area thoroughly, I found the Blackpoll creeping along near the creek among the tangles. There were at least 2 Orange-crowned Warblers (talking to Rob Dobos later in the day, he mentioned that there were possibly 3 Orange-crowned present), a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 2 Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Nashville Warbler. After almost two hours I could not re-find the Blackpoll or find the Cape May, so I continued on.

The day of chasing good winter birds with success continued, as I was easily able to relocate the 2 Barn Swallows hawking insects about the sewage treatment plant in Burlington. Cool! Perhaps these birds will hang on into the new year, making a pretty excellent January record for this species.

I checked a few spots around the bay, not seeing much out of the ordinary, and headed home as it started getting darker and gloomier out. While driving past Rock Chapel Golf Course I noticed quite a few geese on the lawn, so I pulled in to scan them. A Richardson's Cackling Goose was nice to see, and that was followed up with a nice blue-morph Snow Goose! Eventually I was able to get some poor phone-scoped photos of it as well. Not a bad way to end the day!


Unfortunately, it looks like that my Big Year may be over. Of course if something rare is found tomorrow or on Christmas I may be able to chase it, but otherwise I don't see myself getting out, especially with all of the get-togethers that happen this time of year. Then on December 26th, I am off to Nova Scotia to finish the year with Laura. Can't wait!

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