Wednesday 9 January 2013

Winter bird roundup

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had plans to check out Sedgewick Park yesterday afternoon for the warblers that were present. Before I could leave though, a nice male Hoary Redpoll drew my attention on the birdfeeders outside our living room window! The first time I've ever had one at home.

45 minutes later I was on my way to Sedgewick. In no time at all, the Bay-breasted Warbler announced its presence and perched quietly out in the open for a while. I ended up watching it for about half an hour and managed a few half decent photos with my mom's Point-and-Shoot camera.

Bay-breasted Warbler (January 8, 2013)

In the next photo you can see the spot of missing feathers on the top of its head. I wonder what that's from!

Bay-breasted Warbler (January 8, 2013)

Like I mentioned, this was the first January record for the province and is record late for Ontario by over a month. If it successfully overwinters and leaves in say, April, does that mean that the record-late fall date would be sometime in April? lol.

Both the bright Orange-crowned Warbler, possibly a western form, and the dull Orange-crowned (the form we see in Ontario) were still present, gleaning whatever insects they could. Two active Ruby-crowned Kinglets chased each other around, and a single Yellow-rumped Warbler chupped from the tangled vegetation. The Western Nashville Warbler and Cape May Warbler did not make an appearance and it is likely that they either moved on or perished.

Bay-breasted Warbler (January 8, 2013)

I birded a few other spots on my way back to Cambridge, including checking in on the Barn Swallows that are overwintering in Burlington. I would imagine there are few if any previous January records for the province. I didn't take any photos this time, so here's one from the summer!

Barn Swallow - Brant County (July 15, 2012)

Over at LaSalle Marina in Burlington was this White-winged Scoter that definitely had seen better days. If it wasn't dead then, it probably is by now.

Dead-ish White-winged Scoter (January 8, 2012)

I happened to be in Guelph last night, so this morning I decided to walk around a bit to shake off some of the cobwebs, residual from the night before. Riverside Park in northeast Guelph seemed like a good bet, since a Tufted Titmouse had been seen there (its very uncommon in Wellington County, and I've never seen one there). Unfortunately, the wind was howling out of the west for most of the time I was there and I did not see or hear the 'mouse. There was a Greater White-fronted Goose sleeping on the riverbank with several of the hundreds of Canada Geese. This spot with its open water seems like a good place for wintering waterfowl and I wouldn't be surprised if a few more interesting species join the fray!

I also stopped at the U of G arboretum on the way home to see if I could find Bohemian Waxwings. They are one of my nemesis birds. I only have had 10 sightings of this species ever, but only once did I actually have a decent look. Fortunately, the Bohemians were present! While they were not feeding low in the berries like they had been reported to be doing, the looks were still great as they trilled away in the tops of the trees.

Additionally, the wintering Brown Thrasher was still in the berries near the Arboretum Centre - another new one for my all time winter list.

Not a bad few hours of birding to start off the year for me! Bay-breasted Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Barn Swallow, Greater White-fronted Goose, Bohemian Waxwing, Hoary Redpoll, and Brown Thrasher are all quality January birds in Ontario.

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