Thursday 22 November 2012

Eastern Ontario - Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My last morning in Prince Edward County! It was still early when I woke up (that is what happens when you go to bed at 8:00 PM) but eventually there was enough daylight to do some birding. Finally, after several days without any luck, I found my Bohemian Waxwings! Well, I only saw one, hanging out with some Cedars. But still, better than none!

Other bird highlights included a juvenile Northern Goshawk chasing something, a couple of Purple Finches, and a Red Crossbill which flew over while I was near Ostrander Point. I then decided that I was ready to leave, and so I began the drive back.

Not before a stop at Presqu'ile, however! Since it was a Tuesday, it meant that the whole park was open (several locations are closed 4 days a week for duck hunting). It was warm and sunny again, so I thought I would try my luck out at Gull Island, the Purple Sandpiper capital of Ontario.

I was hoping for the Purps, but the owls were the most interesting things out there. Two Snowy Owls, both heavily barred individuals, were on patrol on the gravel bars offshore. I wish I had brought my camera with me, but since I didn't, this crappy phone-scoped shot will have to do.

Snowy Owl - Presqu"ile P.P.

Other highlights out here included all 3 scoters, a Northern Harrier, and a distant group of shorebirds on the next island over, which had vacated the area by the time I was close enough to scope them out. Probably a few Purples mixed in, but oh well!

I was driving along Paxton Drive later, when I looked up to the left and just happened to see an owl looking back at me! It was a Barred Owl, a species which is being seen in increased numbers in southern Ontario this year. I stopped the car and managed a few photos from inside the car, resting the camera on the window ledge. Eventually the owl heard something, since it focused on a spot back in the woods and went in for the kill. I never did find out if it was successful or not, since it was partially obscured by the trees.

Barred Owl - Presqu"ile P.P.

Any day you unexpectedly see two species of owls is a good day! I was particularly happy to see the Barred owl, since my only two previous sightings this year were ones that others found and I "chased". There is a lot more excitement in finding your own! This was my 307th "self-found" bird this year. Other potential additions to my "self-found" year list include Greater White-fronted Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Barrow's Goldeneye, Gray Partridge, Red Phalarope, Black-headed Gull, California Gull, Great Gray Owl, and Townsend's Solitaire. Who knows, maybe I'll hit 310.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi there. Congrats on the Barred Owl sighting. I am reading that a lot of Barred Owls are being sighted in southern Ontario this year. I live in Toronto, and this past Sunday, my wife, Jean, and I came upon a Barred Owl in Rouge National Park, near Markham, Ontario. This was the second time in six weeks that we have come upon, and filmed, an owl out in the wilds. The first was a Saw-Whet Owl. Prior to these two sightings, we had never seen an owl in its natural habitat. Needless to say, it has been an exciting six weeks. Our pictures and video of the Barred Owl sighting are posted on our blog at:

Our pictures and video of the Saw-Whet Owl sighting are at: