Sunday 23 December 2012

December warblers and swallows

This morning, I had to be in Toronto for some interviews so I thought I might as well go birding for the afternoon on my way home. I started out at Colonel Sam Smith Park in west Toronto around noon. The wind and gloomy weather was not ideal for finding birds, though I did come across some good winter birds in 3 Red-necked Grebes and 1 Pied-billed Grebe. The Pied-billed Grebe was my 100th species for the City of Toronto. I know that is not very impressive, but that means that I have seen at least 100 bird species in 22 of Ontario's 50 counties. Not a bad start considering that I only had seen 100 species in 10 counties prior to this year. Check out this photo that I took of the Pied-billed with my phone - perhaps my finest work yet.

Pied-billed Grebe - Toronto

Next up was Sedgewick Park in Oakville. The Blackpoll was seen again by birders that morning, so I was hoping that the 3rd time would be the charm for me. After about 1/2 an hour of checking the area thoroughly, I found the Blackpoll creeping along near the creek among the tangles. There were at least 2 Orange-crowned Warblers (talking to Rob Dobos later in the day, he mentioned that there were possibly 3 Orange-crowned present), a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 2 Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Nashville Warbler. After almost two hours I could not re-find the Blackpoll or find the Cape May, so I continued on.

The day of chasing good winter birds with success continued, as I was easily able to relocate the 2 Barn Swallows hawking insects above the sewage treatment plant in Burlington. Cool! Perhaps these birds will hang on into the new year, making a pretty excellent January record for this species.

I checked a few spots around the bay, not seeing much out of the ordinary, and headed home as it started getting darker and gloomier out. While driving past Rock Chapel Golf Course I noticed quite a few geese on the lawn, so I pulled in to scan them. A Richardson's Cackling Goose was nice to see, and that was followed up with a nice blue-morph Snow Goose. Eventually I was able to get some poor phone-scoped photos of it as well. Not a bad way to end the day!

Snow Goose - Clappison's Corners

Unfortunately, it looks like that my Big Year may be over. Of course if something rare is found tomorrow or on Christmas I may be able to chase it, but otherwise I don't see myself getting out, especially with all of the get-togethers that happen this time of year. Then on December 26th, I am off to Nova Scotia to finish the year with Laura. Can't wait!


JM said...

Congrats on your big year, it's been fun following your blog. Happy Holidays!

Blake A. Mann said...

It was a very good year....!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jeremy!