Thursday, 19 April 2012

It's on!

I know, its still only April 19 and we haven't hit the peak of migration and rarity season yet. But judging by what birds have been reported in Ontario the last 24 hours you might think its May already!

I have heard from several people that a Fork-tailed Flycatcher was banded by the crew at the tip of Long Point yesterday. I don't have any other details, but from what I've heard this would be the first one banded for Canada! Of course there is no way for me to get to the tip, Fork-tailed Flycatchers don't usually hang around very long, and there's always the question if you can count a bird which has been recently caught and banded. After seeing the Smew in December, Fork-tailed Flycatcher became one of my most wanted birds for Ontario.

A Whooping Crane was reported from Ingersoll (border of Oxford/Middlesex Counties) yesterday as well! This globally Endangered species has less than 500 individuals remaining in the wild. Occasionally the odd bird is seen in Ontario, but these aren't technically "countable"since they most likely come from a reintroduction program (birds breeding in Wisconsin and wintering in Florida).

taken from Wiki Commons

Finally, a Barnacle Goose was reported today from Peterborough! There is only 1 accepted Ontario record for this species - a bird that had been banded in Scotland. It was shot by a hunter in eastern Ontario. Several others have shown up around the province but since Barnacle Geese are regularly kept in captivity, the  origins of these birds are debatable. I wouldn't at all be surprised that this Peterborough bird is a wild one, especially considering the influx of Barnacle Geese into New England and eastern Canada this winter, but I doubt this one will be accepted by the OBRC. Pure speculation on my part since I don't know any details really about this Peterborough bird...for all I know it could have been banded in Scotland as well...If I go and see this bird, it will only count for my big year if it is accepted by the OBRC (them's the rules).

A few other things have been turning up as well, such as a Yellow-throated Warbler in Rondeau and a Dickcissel in Hamilton. Both of these I have classified as code 3.

I am spending the entire day today moving out of my house in Guelph, so no birding today. But tomorrow I start 6+ weeks of non-stop birding! I'll make a post soon about what my strategies for May are. In the meantime, I am probably going to check out the Peterborough Goose tomorrow if it is still around, then grab the Hamilton Dickcissel, and finally make my way to the south to hopefully see the Yellow-throated Warbler in Rondeau. I was originally going to go to Pelee Island for 4 or 5 days, but those plans are nixed since BOTH ferries are broken down. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise and a rarity will show up on the mainland. If I would be stuck on the island, it would take a considerable amount of time to make it to the mainland to check out a rarity, causing me to potentially miss it.

By the way, after finishing my exam yesterday, I did a bit of local birding....had some fun birds for Wellington, such as Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Vesper Sparrow, Caspian Terns, Pine Warblers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Broad-winged Hawk, etc. Picked up my first Winter Wren for the county too...
Caspian Tern and Broad-winged Hawk were both year birds, bringing me up to 183.


  1. I'm excited and awaiting your next mega... Break that record!

    Hopefully some people follow up on the Barnacle Goose... This is PRIME time for an Ontario record (Apr 18-30th), since they nest pretty far north and migrate late. Although honestly, they're really common in captivity and the history of the OBRC has shown that it has a 0.005% chance of being accepted without a band from Europe.......

  2. Stu counted the Fork-tailed. My approach would be to count it since
    I don't believe in banding or touching the birds, and the nets are
    interfering with the natural process of observation.

  3. I wouldn't waste your time on that Barnacle Goose! :p
    As far as I know, they don't even have a history of showing up in Newfoundland/Labrador (there are very few records).
    There are plenty of legitimate Icelandic vagrants showing up in NL that haven't shown up anywhere else in North America (Graylag Goose being the most similar to BAGO). So why would Barnacle Geese do the exact opposite and regularly jump over the island?
    Same goes with Brambling and many other Euro strays (inc. your fav. bird the Smew - but I'll try to keep that to myself) :p

    Find some real birds that aren't controversial... like an Elaenia :)

  4. Don't worry, I didn't chase the goose! Alvan, I don't wanna hear about your theories regarding Smew!

  5. haha
    I hope I didn't insult you!

    Awesome that you got the Bell's Vireo!
    You're gonna break that record! :)