Monday, 2 January 2012

January 2nd and winter bird list update #4

*Edit. Breaking news - A female MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD was found and photographed yesterday just south of Guelph. It is still being seen today. Of course, I am still away in Nova Scotia visiting Laura. While I definitely am not regretting spending this time with her, it is a little frustrating that the Mountain Bluebird couldn't have waited a few days before showing up/being any rate I hope it hangs around! What a bird and a great find by Paul Kron, Brian Husband, and John Garreth.*

At the end of the year I made the 4th post about the Ontario winter bird list. We had already recorded 200 species at that point, just short of the all time high (201 species) that was actually set last winter. The Ontario winter bird list has only been "officially" kept track of for several years, but still, this year we were off to a blazing start. My latest post detailed the 7 species that have been brought to my attention since. Since that post, I have heard of a Pectoral Sandpiper seen at Wheatley harbour on January 1 (Dean Ware and Adam Pinch).  Brett Fried and Erika Hentsch also had a probable Fish Crow at the Niagara River on January 1. Brett is a top notch birder and fairly confident in his sighting, but since it would be the first winter record for Ontario, perhaps the first record not during the spring migration, I am going to hold off adding it to the winter list unless it is seen again.

From my ONTbirds post:


There were two major highlights this past week - the Bobolink in the Hamilton Study area (second winter record in over 100 years - the only other was December 5, 1971), and what will be Ontario's third record of Smew, if the Whitby harbour bird is accepted by the OBRC. This Eurasian species is a mega rarity anywhere in North America outside of the Aleutian islands in Alaska so that fact that Ontario already has 2 accepted records is incredible. An additional bird was seen at Mountsberg Reservoir on April 15, 1982 but that record hasn't been submitted to the OBRC for review yet.

I have send the list to Blake Maybank and he has posted a link to his webpage:

The new species to the 2011-2012 Ontario winter list are as follows:

Smew (December 26) - Whitby harbour
Gray Partridge (December 18) - Woodhouse CBC
Barn Owl (December 23) - Durham Region
Townsend's Solitaire (December 17) - Manitoulin Island and Aurora CBC
Pine Warbler (December 24) - Hamilton area
Bobolink (December 24) - Stoney Creek
Brewer's Blackbird (December 18) - Port Burwell (correction - one was seen by Bill Lamond on December 17 at Long Point)

Out of the missing species to the winter list, the most likely to be added include:
Eurasian Wigeon
Virginia Rail
Vesper Sparrow
Yellow-headed Blackbird


So there you have it. 209 species so far on the winter list, and its only January 2nd! 210 if the Fish Crow can be confirmed.

I'll be back in Ontario on the 6th and I'm itching to do some birding! The Black-throated Gray Warbler is still being seen and if I'm really lucky it will hold until I arrive. The -15 degree C temperatures that Ontario is getting soon is not looking too good...


  1. The Berrien Co., MI CBC had a FICR on it this year - found by Tim Baerwald...certainly within the realm of possibility!

  2. I just found out that Fish Crows have wintered near Rochester for the last couple winters too, so one at Niagara definitely seems possible.