Sunday, 30 December 2012

Western Tanager and Barred Owl

The long staying Western Tanager in Oshawa was a bird that I just had to go and see. Not only would it be a new Ontario bird for me, but it seemed like a fairly reliable bird to go and "twitch" since it was being seen daily. My only issue was that I didn't really want to drive all the way to Oshawa just for the tanager and a few other good birds. Luckily, an old teaching friend from Taiwan was in Toronto for the day, invited me up for a visit, and presto, more than enough reason to go and see the tanager. In reality, the tanager was enough reason to go and I would have went anyway sooner or later. I got killer looks at the tanager after waiting only about 5 minutes. Tick. It fed heavily on the buckthorn berries almost the entire time I watched it.

A Barred Owl at Hall's Rd in Whitby was also a very cooperative photo subject.  Also, the two Harlequin Ducks off Whitby were still present at the mouth of Lynde Creek (distant).

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Experience Nature blog

Another Ontario birder has started a birding blog - this one by my friend and fellow Guelph Gryphon Jenn Sinasac. This blog is distinctly tropical with posts from her recent adventures in Honduras and Ecuador. While it's fun to see what crazy birds there are in the tropics, it also leaves the reader extremely envious and with the case of itchy feet.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Woodhouse CBC

For people that aren't familiar with the Woodhouse CBC, it is located in Norfolk County and includes Simcoe, Townsend, Waterford and Port Dover. My area doesn't include any water so we don't really rack up species but we usually find a few goodies. Highlights for our area were Pileated Woodpecker, 80 American Pipits, and Northern Shrike.

I didn't stay for the entire wrap-up but the count usually ends up in the mid 70's to low 80's depending on the year.

Sounds like the best bird for the count was a probable Varied Thrush found near Port Dover with a flock of robins. Several people, including myself, will be looking for this bird tomorrow so I'll post to ontbirds if it's relocated.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Long Point CBC results

I'll keep this brief as I'm exhausted and have another count to do tomorrow. Preliminary results from the Long Point CBC are in.

Some highlights (my point of view of course since some are common on other counts) and I'll no doubt forget some. I won't include numbers since I don't know totals for some. Many are just singles. No particular order:

Horned Grebe
Greater White-fronted Goose
Cackling Goose
Turkey Vulture
Golden Eagle
Black-legged Kittiwake
Double-crested Cormorant
Snowy Owl
Brewer's Blackbird
Eastern Phoebe
American Woodcock
Wood Duck
Trumpeter Swan
Common Yellowthroat
All finches but Pine Grosbeak and Hoary Redpoll

No megas or crazy warblers. No sign of my Cape May Warbler since Wednesday despite multiple people looking.

Species Total: 112

Saturday, 8 December 2012

E. Wood-pewee and Wood Thrush - listed by COSEWIC

I haven't made any posts in a while so I thought I'd do a quick PSA for those of you that don't follow changes to Canada's endangered species list made by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada). The addition of Wood Thrush and Eastern Wood-pewee are probably of most interest to people reading this blog, but I've also included any changes to species applicable to Ontario. Please go to for more information.


Wood Thrush - Threatened

In Canada, this forest-nesting species has shown significant long and short-term declines in population abundance. The species is threatened by habitat loss on its wintering grounds and habitat fragmentation and degradation on its breeding grounds. It also suffers from high rates of nest predation and cowbird parasitism associated with habitat fragmentation on the breeding grounds.

Eastern Wood-pewee - Special Concern

Reason for Designation: This species is one of the most common and widespread songbirds associated with North America’s eastern forests. While the species is apparently resilient to many kinds of habitat changes, like most other long-distance migrants that specialize on a diet of flying insects, it has experienced persistent declines over the past 40 years both in Canada and the United States. The 10-year rate of decline (25%) comes close to satisfying the criteria for Threatened. The causes of the decline are not understood, but might be linked to habitat loss or degradation on its wintering grounds in South America or changes in availability of insect prey. If the population declines continue to persist, the species may become Threatened in the foreseeable future.


Massassauga got split into two different populations with the Carolinian population being listed as Endangered and the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population being listed as Threatened.

Eastern Musk Turtle got downgraded from Threatened to Special Concern.

Northern Map Turtle and Eastern Ribbonsnake got reviewed and remained unchanged at Special Concern.

Eastern Tiger Salamander got listed as Extirpated.


American Badger got split into two populations with the jacksoni subspecies (southern Ontario) getting listed as Endangered and the taxus subspecies found in the prairies being Special Concern.


Riverine Clubtail: Endangered (Great Lakes Plains population)
Mottled Duskywing: Endangered (Great Lakes Plains population)

Crooked-stem Aster - downgraded from Threatened to Special Concern

Posts without photos are boring, so here is a delicious bluebird cookie that I got to devour as I wrote this. Today was the CBC for kids down at Bird Studies Canada and a parent of some of the participants brought a whole box of these! They were delicious! Oh, and the birding today was lots of fun. A couple highlights for our group were Double-crested Cormorant, Horned Grebe, and Northern Goshawk.