Tuesday, 1 January 2019

2018 (Part 1)

2018 has come and gone - where did the time go? Below are some of my highlights of the year from a naturalist's perspective.


Most of January and was spent in Ontario and I stayed close to home for many of my excursions. A pair of Ross's Geese were a new one for my Niagara list, while I also twitched the Lincoln's Sparrows that Reuven Martin had found in Mississauga, a good winter record. In late January, Laura and I escaped winter for a few weeks, traveling south to Guyana and Trinidad/Tobago for our honeymoon. This trip was probably the highlight of the whole year for me; being immersed in nature and being able to share it all with Laura.

American Wigeon - Fort Erie, Niagara Region

Lincoln's Sparrow - Missisauga, Peel Region

Ross's Geese - Grimsby, Niagara Region

Giant Anteater - Rupununi savanna, Guyana

Black Nunbird - Rupununi savanna, Guyana

Sunbittern - Karanambu River, Guyana

Jabiru - Karanambu River, Guyana

Lined Ground Snake - Annai, Guyana

Racket-tailed Coquette - Atta Lodge, Guyana

Black Currasow - Atta Lodge, Guyana

White Witch - Atta Lodge, Guyana

Scarlet Macaws - Atta Lodge, Guyana

Highway near Atta Lodge, Guyana

Spectacled Owl - Atta Lodge, Guyana

Dainty Blind Snake - Surama Ecolodge, Guyana

Yellow-headed Poison Frog - Surama Ecolodge, Guyana

Aesculapian False Coral Snake - Surama Ecolodge, Guyana

Wattled Jacana - Georgetown, Guyana

White-bellied Piculet - Georgetown, Guyana

Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock - Georgetown, Guyana

Laura and I at Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

Hyalinobatrachium orientale - Cuffie River, Tobago

Scarlet Ibis - Caroni Swamp, Trinidad


As March progressed winter slowly released its icy grip on the local landscape in Niagara. I focused my efforts on a number of local spots, especially Port Weller where new migrants filtered through. Marcie Jacklin discovered a Eurasian Wigeon near Stevensville, which cooperated on each of my visits to search for it. A highlight for many Ontario birders was a presumed wild Barnacle Geese that spent a few days with a flock of migrant Canada Geese near Schomberg, my first new species for my Ontario list that I added in 2018. At the end of March I enjoyed a productive weekend in the Point Pelee area where a flood of spring migrants had arrived.

Greater White-fronted Goose - near Port Colborne, Niagara Region

Coyote - Port Weller, Niagara Region

Eastern Screech-Owl - near Port Colborne, Niagara Region

Red-tailed Hawk - Niagara Falls, Niagara Region

Eurasian Wigeon - Stevensville, Niagara Region

Barnacle Goose - Schomberg, York Region

Red-tailed Hawk - near Ridgetown, Chatham-Kent

Greater Yellowlegs - Hillman Marsh Conservation Area, Essex County


April was a busy month as spring progressed. Every outing seemed to turn up something new, whether it was another newly arriving bird species, a wildflower appearing, or a frog species calling for the first time of the year. My efforts at Port Weller paid off with several good finds and new additions, including a Common Gallinule on April 20, Virginia Rail and Common Raven on April 23, Fish Crow on April 25 and Snowy Owl on April 27. During the last few days of the month I returned to Point Pelee and area with Todd Hagedorn. Despite the cold weather many new migrants were seen, including a flock of 56 Willets, as well as some herps including a pair of mating Blanding's Turtles at Hillman Marsh.

Northern Cardinal - Port Weller, Niagara Region

Red-throated Loon - Port Weller, Niagara Region

Golden-crowned Kinglet - Port Weller, Niagara Region

Eastern Cottontail - Port Weller, Niagara Region

Belted Kingfisher - Niagara Shores CA, Niagara Region

Savannah Sparrow - Port Weller, Niagara Region

Snowy Owl - Port Weller, Niagara Region

Laura and I exploring the Wainfleet Bog, Niagara Region

Willets - Wheatley Harbour, Chatham-Kent

Hermit Thrush - Point Pelee National Park, Essex County

Black-and-white Warbler - Point Pelee National Park, Essex County

Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Point Pelee National Park, Essex County

Horned Grebe - Point Pelee National Park, Essex County

The remaining months of the year will be covered in Parts 2 and 3.

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