Friday 28 December 2012

My biggest misses this year (part 3)

Here are my 5 biggest misses in Ontario this year!

5. Mississippi Kite
I spent a LOT of time hawk-watching at Point Pelee this spring, since Mississippi Kites are pretty much annual it seems. At one point, during perhaps ideal MIKI conditions, a Peregrine Falcon buzzed low over us (causing several people to excitedly shout out, "Mississippi Kite!!!). This species can often be confused for MIKIs at Point Pelee in May, but it was just a Peregrine this time. Later in the spring, I was driving by the Bird Studies Canada HQ in Port Rowan, ON. Little did I know, but I drove by within 5 minutes of when Ron Ridout and Jon McCracken had a Mississippi Kite fly by. It probably flew right over my car...

Mississippi Kite (from Wikipedia)

4. Swainson`s Hawk
It seems that just about everyone and their brother reported one this autumn. I heard of at least 10 reports! Despite a moderate amount of hawk-watching, I just could not turn one of those Northern Harriers into one ;)
Unfortunately, there were no chase-able SWHAs this year - all of the reports were of migrating birds.

3. Brown Pelican
For much of the autumn there was at least one Brown Pelican on Lake Erie. Often when they show up out of range, they "stick" for a few days, but this was not the case. The closest I got to it was actually the first day that it was found. I was birding at Point Pelee on August 24th, spending a good chunk of the day along the west side of the peninsula. I even completed a tip watch with Alan for a few hours, hoping for something interesting to fly by. Little did we know, but some fishermen were looking at a Brown Pelican near their fishing boats only a few hundred meters offshore! I am not sure how we did not see it. It was later seen at Rondeau, Long Point, and eventually roosted at Buffalo Harbour (somewhat viewable from Fort Erie, Ontario). I was there in the morning, hoping to see it fly from its roost at the harbour, but it never did materialize.

Brown Pelican (from Wikipedia)

2. Barn Owl
Barn Owl - a species that breeds in southern Ontario, yet one that is present in low numbers and difficult to detect, that they are rarely seen by birders. A few of course were in known locations, but I am not privy to that kind of information! It is probably a good thing that the locations for endangered species like Barn Owls are kept quiet from birders, since even the best intentioned folk can cause harm. I don't necessarily agree on all the resources that go to protecting a species as cosmopolitanly abundant as the Barn Owl, but that's a whole other argument!

At any rate, I still tried several times to find Barn Owls, by slowing driving county roads near old fields in southwestern Ontario and listening for their calls at night. One one such night, a wayward deer derailed by owling plans...

1. Glossy Ibis
And the number one miss of the year - Glossy Ibis. This also happened to be the only code-3 species that I did not see in 2012. Normally Glossy Ibises are semi regular, with about 5 sightings every spring. Often, these birds are in southwestern Ontario, and since I was spending most of late April/May/early June at Point Pelee, I figured I would have ample opportunity to chase them! I chased a few reports, unsuccessfully. One of these was at Long Point in March, but it just wouldn't co-operate for us.

Throughout the summer/fall there are sometimes additional Glossy Ibises reported. Almost every fall, one shows up for a week or more at a time. This happened in 2012, but the bird did not show up until very late in the year....right around the time I left for Netitishi Point (October 22)!

The Gosport Glossy Ibis was seen by many during its October 22 to November 2 stay. It conveniently was last seen on the day before Alan and I returned to civilization from Netitishi Point!

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