Friday, 28 December 2012

My biggest misses this year (part 2)

A continuation from part 1. These are my top 10 biggest misses in Ontario this year!

10. Sage Thrasher
It was a toss up between this and Fork-tailed Flycatcher for #10, but I went with Sage Thrasher for no real reason whatsoever. This autumn, a Sage Thrasher was found at the tip of Long Point, and it hung around at least one more day as well. Unfortunately, like I mentioned in the previous post, this is a location that is virtually inaccessible for a "twitching" birder at the last minute! It was painful reading about it being seen the following day, knowing full well that if it was on the mainland it would be very chase-able.

9. Tufted Duck
Well, this one kind of stings as well. I had just arrived in Moosonee in late October and Alan and I were getting ready for our Netitishi trip, when the news broke about the Tufted Duck in Ottawa. It was seen the next few days as well, so I was hopeful that it would stay put for a few weeks (like they often do) so that I could chase it when I got back. Well, it stayed put for a few days, but not nearly long enough. Those are the most frustrating birds of the year - the ones that were entirely chase-able, but that I was just not in a position where I could chase it! Additionally, it is difficult to tell from the photos and I don't know much about Tufted Duck hybrids, but it is possible that the bird is not "pure" and may not be accepted by the OBRC.

I did see Tufted Ducks this year....in Scotland

8. Say`s Phoebe
On April 22, while based at Point Pelee, I heard about a Western Tanager coming to a feeder in the Bruce Peninsula that I was given access to go visit. At 3:00 PM, I was along Lake Huron near Kincardine when the news broke of the Say's Phoebe in the Carden Plain. I had a very crucial decision to make. On one hand, I was only 1.5 hours away from the Western Tanager, and it was still being seen regularly at the bird feeder. The Say's Phoebe was 3 hours away, so if I chased it I would have 2 hours of light to search for it. However, the tanager had been seen for several days straight while the phoebe had just been found (and was less of a sure thing, since it could easily never be seen again). I decided to go for the "sure thing" and grabbed the tanager, resolving to chase the phoebe if it was relocated the following morning. It was seen all evening, but not again! I think at the time I made the right decision to go for the tanager, though in hindsight if I had driven straight to where the phoebe was, I would have definitely seen it. The tanager continued to be seen for several more days on the Bruce Peninsula. This is one of those situations where I made the call based on probabilities, but it came back to bite me!

7. Eurasian Collared-dove
I heard three reports of this species this year. First was one that was seen in flight by a birder near Cottom, ON (north of Point Pelee). It was never seen again, despite him checking the area several more times. The second was a one-day wonder in the Ottawa area in late spring. The third was the bird from Powassan, ON found in early October. Since I was coming back from Sault Ste. Marie with Mark Jennings and Alan Wormington, this wasn't far out of the way! We showed up late in the afternoon and immediately found the bird sitting in their tree out front! Unfortunately, the bird was rather small, too pale, and the wing and tail pattern was off. Alas, it was not a Eurasian Collared-dove but a Ringed Turtle-dove, a domestic form that is popular in the pet trade and not a truly "wild" species.

Ringed Turtle-Dove

6. Rufous Hummingbird
There were at least 3 this year coming to bird feeders, but none that I could chase. The first was a male coming to a bird feeder in Pass Lake, Ontario. The home-owners weren't receptive to birders visiting, plus I did not have time to chase anyways since I was leaving for the James Bay coast. The next was in early August, seen one evening by the Presqu'ile birders. Doug Gilmour was the lucky host of this beaut! Finally, one showed up at a bird feeder in Bowmanville this fall. I actually passed through Bowmanville on HWY 401 around the time it was around! But, again, the home-owners weren't receptive to birders coming and I did not hear about this bird until after it was long gone. Such is life! On a related note, there were at least 12 Rufous Hummingbirds coming to bird feeders in Ohio at one time this autumn. The Great Lakes sure are an imposing barrier for hummingbirds.

Stay tuned for big misses #5 to #1!

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