Since my last post, I have stayed fairly local in my birding. On December 5th, I spent much of the day at home until I heard about a Hoary Redpoll at the University of Guelph. That was a good enough excuse for me (I hadn't seen one before in the Hamilton Study Area, and this bird was just inside the northern border by about 100 meters) and so I drove up there and saw the redpoll. A resulting walk around the arboretum was largely unproductive birdwise, but the weather was great. Cool, crisp, sunny, and wind-less!
December 6th was mostly a birdless day. The only Ebird checklist I made was from my 5k run, a nice little loop that takes me around the back of a local pond. Unfortunately the Evening Grosbeaks that I have had coming to someone's feeder weren't present anymore, nor were the 3 Common Ravens I had two days previously. However, the Trumpeter Swan pair was still around, despite the pond being 95% frozen. They usually hang around until freeze-up, departing until sometime in March.
On December 7th I met up with David Bell to do some birding along the Lake Ontario shore east of Burlington. We had some interesting birds along the way, including a singing Winter Wren at Richard's Memorial Park, and both a Tufted Titmouse and Common Yellowthroat at Rattray Marsh. We finished up the day walking around Bronte Creek Provincial Park. At one point I mentioned that it looked good for a Barred Owl here, then not 10 minutes later David looked up and casually mentioned, "Well there's one". This is a very difficult bird to get in Hamilton so we were pretty happy. Check out my awesome back-lit phone-scoped shot!!
Finally, yesterday I met up with Brandon Holden, Ross Wood, Barb Charlton, and Ken Burrell for a day of looking at fog and rain at Niagara. I think we may have seen a gull or two as well. Brandon hosted a house-warming shindig at his newly acquired condo along the Hamilton waterfront that evening - it was a lot of fun, certainly compared to the birding that day!
Oh yeah, I phone-scoped this Tufted Titmouse at Niagara yesterday. It was a new photographed bird for me this year, bringing the list up to 298. I still need Rock Pigeon, so I think I will have to photograph one soon, so that it doesn't become the 300th species! I think that a Townsend's Warbler or perhaps an Atlantic Puffin would be a good candidate for #300, certainly a lot better than a pigeon. Also, I really need to start taking pictures with the real camera instead of using the lazy man's method of phone-scoping!