Apr 262017

The ice left Stoney Lake on April 12 this year, which is a little earlier than I had anticipated this year. I have included the dates of freeze-up and ice-out for the past few years. I know I have older records and will send them along. Freeze-up in 2015 was an anomaly as the lake didn’t freeze until into 2016. In 2002 or 2003 we had a somewhat similar freeze-up – the difference being that Northey’s Bay had frozen in late December, but the main lake stayed open until about the 15th of January. Dennis Johnson, Northey’s Bay Road

Year   Freeze-up           Ice-out
2017     TBD                     12-Apr
2016     15-Dec                 01-Apr
2015     5-Jan, 2016         17-Apr

2014     13-Dec                  24-Apr
2013     13-Dec                  20-Apr
2012     26-Dec                  23-Mar
2011      27-Dec                 15-Apr
2010     09-Dec                  02-Apr
2009     13-Dec                  13-Apr
2004     14-Dec                  18-Apr

Tundra Swans on ice on Pigeon Lake – March 5, 2017 – photo by Rick and Marge Decher

Apr 262017

On the afternoon of April 23, Sylvia and I went for a walk in the Trent Wildlife Sanctuary. When up on the drumlin, where the Tree Swallow boxes are, we met two young women birders who said they had just seen what they thought was a Northern Mockingbird. Almost on command the bird appeared and flew away from us. My first for the County. Who said the Wildlife Sanctuary never had any interesting birds! That semi-open area is perfect mockingbird habitat, and I’ll be checking to see if it stays around.    Jim Cashmore, Peterborough

Northern Mockingbird – Gord Mallory




Apr 062017

Happy spring! Today, April 4, there were 2 Osprey on the nesting platform in Young’s Point.  Most of Stony is still frozen but there were pair of absolutely resplendent Common Loons dancing and calling. Rob Welsh, Stoney Lake 

This morning, April 5, I heard my first Common Loon (Upper Buckhorn Lake near Six Foot Bay).  I thought I heard one a couple of days ago, but sure this time. Antonia Sinclair, Buckhorn

Ospreys on Selwyn Road – Jeff Keller

Common Loon (Karl Egressy)

Apr 032017

My wife, Mathilde, spotted a Virginia Opossum in our backyard on the evening of March 24 at around 9:30. We saw the white face and body by the light from our livingroom windows. It
was eating a pomegranate that she had set out for some robins.

Ralph Colley

Opossum on Johnston Drive, south of Peterborough – Mary Beth Aspinall – Feb. 2014

Apr 032017

On March 23 at about 5 pm, I used a hooting call to lure in this fabulous Barred Owl. To our surprise, a female also showed up. They quickly mated, and then hung around for a bit before going their separate ways. We were in the vicinity of Sandy Lake


Barred Owl – March 23, 2017 – Sandy Lake – Susan

Apr 022017

April 2 – I heard a Wilson’s Snipe quietly calling in the marshy area on the Parkway trail, east of Chemong, directly underneath the WalMart parking lot. Also, 3 Northern Leopard Frogs hopping along the new not-yet-opened road that skirts east of the airport as well as 3 Killdeer in the adjacent fields.   Marilyn Freeman

Wilson’s Snipe – Greg Piasetzki








April 2 – Cottonwood Drive this morning, we heard a couple of Eastern Phoebes calling. It must be spring! Rob Moos

Eastern Phoebe (David Frank)









March 30 – Two Great Blue Herons flying over the Cavan Bog and another north of Whitby.  John Fautley

March 30 – I saw my first Great Blue Heron today. It was flying north over the Otonabee River near Lakefield. Annamarie Beckel

Great Blue Heron – Wikimedia









About 64 third year Trent ecology students surveyed the Otonabee River from Lakefield to south of Lock 19, on March 24th.  From 9:00 am to 10:30 am, they did 8 stations north of Trent and from 1 pm to 3 pm, 8 stations south of Trent. Susan Chow

Here are the results: Bufflehead 95, Canada Geese 141, Common Goldeneye 6, Common Merganser 8, Gadwall 1, Greater Scaup 1, Hooded Merganser 86, Lesser Scaup 7, Long-tailed Duck 5, Mallard 369, Wood Duck 3

Long-tailed-Duck – Mar.22 2014 – Little Lake – – DJ McPhail


Male Gadwall (photo from Wikimedia)








On March 17 and 18, there were 50 to 60 Bohemian Waxwings flying back and forth between the conifers along the Otonabee River and two Siberian crab apple trees. The birds were just north of the Ninth Line.

Susan Chow

Bohemian Waxwing – Cow Island – Jan. 24, 2015 – via Sylvia Cashmore
















Mar 292017

I had the pleasure of wading around in a vernal pool at Harper Park in Peterborough this afternoon and found 100’s of fairy shrimp (Eubranchipus sp.). They are an indicator species for vernal pools. Wood Frogs breed in this same pool. The pool has lots of ice in it still, and I saw no evidence of frog or salamander activity yet, but I will be checking regularly. I am delighted to have finally found a vernal pool that I don’t have to drive for an hour to get to.  The pictures I have attached are of my boot and you can see shrimp swimming everywhere. There are also lots of mosquito larvae.
Can’t wait to go back as the season progresses!

Sue Paradisis

Note: Vernal ponds are non-permanent ponds that contain water for a few months in the spring and early summer. They lack a permanent above-ground outlet. They are the preferred breeding site for many species of frogs and salamanders, since they do not contain fish (which would eat amphibian eggs).

Fairy shrimp – Eubranchipus Grubii – Wikimedia

Freshwater shrimp – Harper Park – March 28, 2017 – Sue Paradisis


Mar 222017

On March 20, there were 27 Tundra Swans on Lake Chemong across from my house which is located on Frankhill Rd.  Paul Ruth, 668 Frank Hill Rd.

Tundra Swan (Whistling) (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) (10)
– Reported Mar 20, 2017 12:11 by Luke Berg
– Keene–McGregor Bay Rd south of Hwy 2, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35306657
– Comments: “10 of 13 birds found this morning by Matthew Tobey. Viewed from the turnaround near the end of the road. ”

Tundra Swan (Whistling) (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) (13)
– Reported Mar 20, 2017 10:22 by Matthew Tobey
– Keene–McGregor Bay Rd south of Hwy 2, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35306550
– Comments: “On the open water at the south end of McGregor Bay”

Tundra Swans – Apr. 6, 2014 – Luke Berg

Mar 222017

It was a good first day of spring for river sightings on our stretch of the Indian River. The pair of Canada Geese, first seen on February 26, came up onto the back area to check out the availability of grass. Conclusion – not much there! The geese tend to come up much later, when they have a young family, to feast on the long lush grasses before the summer cut. A male Hooded Merganser spent a bit of time resting and preening on a fallen tree trunk in the river, and later a male Bufflehead, and a male Wood Duck were seen sharing the same tree trunk. We don’t see the Wood Ducks very often so it was a real treat.

Roll on spring!

Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

Male Hooded Merganser (Karl Egressy)

Wood Duck – Jeff Keller

Mar 112017

Today ( 10 March 2017) at noon I observed a Merlin in a cedar at the Little Lake Cemetery. Of course, I did not have my camera. He was quite content to sit and let me wander around the base of the tree to get a closer look. On Sunday, March 5, I observed a mature Bald Eagle in flight over Healey Falls on the Trent River.

Carl Welbourn

Merlin – Dec. 30, 2016 – Omemee – Carl Welbourn

Mar 112017

Turkey Vulture (Northern) (Cathartes aura aura/septentrionalis) (1)
– Reported Mar 08, 2017 14:56 by Matthew Tobey
– Downtown Bus Terminal, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “flying northeast over the terminal”

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) (1)
– Reported Mar 09, 2017 10:10 by Iain Rayner
– Peterborough–Millennium Park, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “Gliding of to the W. Large, significant dihedral. Very tippy flight.”

Turkey Vulture in flight – Drew Monkman

Mar 112017

I saw first saw this fabulous red phase Eastern Screech-owl on the 9th Line of Selwyn at about 8:30 this morning, March 11. I was bringing home hay and went by it three times over the course of two and a half hours. It was still there and cute as a button. The owl was quite compact initially but seemed to stand taller the longer I stayed, so I got on my way and let it return to its nap. I went back and got this photograph at 3:00 pm. What a treat!

Kathy McCue, Curve Lake

Eastern Screech-owl – red phase – 9th Line of Selwyn Twsp – March 11, 2017, Kathy McCue

Mar 082017

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) (1) CONFIRMED
– Reported Mar 07, 2017 08:30 by Chris Risley
– 510 Gilmour Street, Peterborough, Ontario
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “chickadees giving strange mobbing call and on inspection saw this saw-whet owl; raining”

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Mar 06, 2017 16:30 by Iain Rayner
– Ptbo – Greyhound Bus Station, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “Flying over city to the NE on stiff wingbeats”

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Dave Heuft)

Mar 082017

There may be a nesting pair of Bald Eagles between Bobcaygeon and Dunsford, Ontario. We have seen them on a nest to the north and east of the bridge over Emily Creek on County Road 36. We drive past this location almost 5 days a week, twice a day. Over the years, we have often seen one eagle in this area, who has shown expressed interest in one of the Osprey nests. However, it seemed to leave after a couple of days. This year there are two…possibly a mating pair? Note that this area is also designated a Provincially Significant Wetland.

Bonnie Townsend, Flynn’s Corners

Location of possible nesting pair of Bald Eagles – March 8, 2016 – Bonnie Townsend


Mar 072017

Loggerhead Marsh is a Provincially Significant Wetland found on the west end of Peterborough. It is an important natural feature in our city due to its ecological and social value. The City of Peterborough has committed to protect the marsh but new development proposals now threaten its sensitive ecological state. The proposed development on the north side of the marsh, if it proceeds in its current form, would irreversibly harm Loggerhead Marsh and its wildlife. Loggerhead Marsh Stewardship Association


Loggerhead Marsh – late summer 2016 showing mud flat visited by migrating shorebirds – Paul Frost

Mar 062017

On the morning of March 3, my son witnessed two Bald Eagles attacking a Canada Goose in flight. The goose landed in the Crowe River and while landing, swatted the eagle off his side. The second eagle stayed above and did not attack the goose. My son grabbed the binoculars and saw that the goose was injured. The two eagles stayed in the area high above but did swoop down periodically, and I was able to see them with the binoculars as I was skeptical that they were Bald Eagles. We then went on the Internet to see if they frequent this area, as we have been up here since 1980 and this is our first sighting.
Robin Galllagher, Crowe River

Bald Eagles – Jan. 31, 2016, Simmons Ave, Peterborough – Trudy Gibson

Mar 062017

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) (1)
– Reported Mar 05, 2017 14:14 by Brian Bailey
– Peterborough–Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.2939092,-78.3085044&ll=44.2939092,-78.3085044
– Media: 4 Photos
– Comments: “Blue phase with Canada Geese, initially on the lake. Later, feeding in the cemetery with Canada Geese.”

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii) (1)
– Reported Mar 05, 2017 15:47 by Daniel Williams
– Peterborough–Beavermead Park, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.2938973,-78.3027537&ll=44.2938973,-78.3027537
– Comments: “Smaller in size relative to CANG, stubbier bill and short neck. ”

Redhead (Aythya americana) (3)
– Reported Mar 05, 2017 17:50 by Luke Berg
– Pigeon Lake–Fothergill Isle Causeway, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “Two males one female.”

Redhead – Tom Northey

Mar 062017

I just got back from Florida and was getting some wood from the wood pile where I found the carcass of a Long-eared Owl. Looking at the condition of the carcass, it appears the bird may have starved to death.

Derry Fairweather, Buckhorn Lake

Mar 062017

On March 5, we saw 16 Tundra Swans on Pigeon Lake from our home on Fothergill Isle. Our house faces Jacob’s Island, alongside of which the birds were resting. One of the birds pulled away from the resting area and swam by our home.
Rick and Marge Decher

Tundra Swans on ice- Pigeon Lake – March 5, 2017 – Rick and Marge Decher

Tundra Swan – Pigeon Lake – March 5, 2017 – Rick and Marge Decher

Mar 062017

This beautiful Great Gray Owl was sighted on March 4 on the Trans Canada Trail where it crosses County Road 38. If you walk to right at the trail parking lot, the bird was  few hundred metres down on the left, sitting at the trail edge. We approached to within 12 feet of the owl, but it did not fly away.

Don Finigan and Barb Rimmer

GGOW – TCT – Keene – Mar. 4, 2017 – Bernie Obert

Mar 062017

I was lucky to come across this Red-headed Woodpecker on May 21, 2016, at my home on Northey’s Bay Road on the north shore of Stoney Lake.  I had never seen one and haven’t seen one since. In August 9, 2016, we also had a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth feeding at the phlox in our garden. I had seen it in the garden in August, 2015, as well, but never before that.

Dennis Johnson, Stoney Lake

Red-headed Woodpecker 2 – May 2016 – Dennis Johnson

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth – August 2016 – Dennis Johnson


Mar 012017

Sitting here a little before midnight on the last evening of February, I am watching the second thunderstorm of the past one hundred hours happening outside right now. Last Friday evening (the 24th of the month), we had what I believe was the first storm of this kind of 2017, in this, and other areas of southern Ontario. No big deal? Perhaps not, but it is quite rare to have this kind of weather in “the winter” here. Although not unheard of, we certainly don’t experience this kind of thing every winter to my knowledge/experience. When we do, it is usually within large lake effect squall-type storms and typically, there are only two or three flashes of lightning followed by some thunder. These weather events are often called “thundersnow” storms by meteorologists.
With this latest storm now passed, I am looking at a radar image of what’s to come later tonight. There is currently a huge line extending from about Guelph, Ontario… all the way down to where it tapers to a narrow tip just north of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I imagine it is going to be a loud night later on! It seems as though not only birds and some plant life are “returning” record early this year, but so is some of the weather we normally associate with spring. I can see the forecast, and of course, winter is not yet over. So, perhaps we should not pull out the kayaks and surf boards just yet. We are expecting some very cold weather later this week.

Even though I made attempts with both of these recent storms, the rain fell too hard for me to take any reasonable photos of the abundant lightning. Here are a few photos of lightning that I’ve manage to take over the past few years at various times of the year near Belmont Lake, north of Havelock. They show some fairly common types of lightning, and there is a brief description of each, below.

Cloud-to-ground (CG) is lightning with a downward-moving leader.

Ground-to-cloud (GC) is lightning with an upward-moving leader.

Intracloud (IC) is lightning moving about between different charges within a cloud.

Cloud-to-air (CA) is a discharge jumping from within a cloud into open air.

Anvil crawlers (AC) are branching discharges that run out horizontally beneath the clouds and are relatively slow-moving as they reach great distances and sometimes appearing to shoot across the entire visible

CG – Aug. 6, 2012 – Tim Dyson


GC – Sept. 3, 2011 – Tim Dyson

IC – Apr. 10, 2011 – Tim Dyson

CA – Sept. 6, 2011 – Tim Dyson

AC – Aug. 20, 2009 – Tim Dyson

Feb 282017

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) (1) CONFIRMED
– Reported Feb 28, 2017 13:14 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Peterborough–King St at Reid St, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34869369
– Comments: “in flight NNE over downtown”

Tundra Swan (Whistling) (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) (2)
– Reported Feb 27, 2017 12:28 by Matthew Garvin
– Mather’s Corners Meltwater Pond, Peterborough, Ontario
– Media: 3 Photos
– Comments: “Pair of adults. Rounded edge to bill base, yellow on bill. Photographed.”

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) (3)
– Reported Feb 28, 2017 07:51 by Daniel Williams
– Peterborough–Beavermead Park, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34864716
– Comments: “2 male, 1 female. ”

Redhead (Aythya americana) (5)
– Reported Feb 27, 2017 10:54 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Fothergill Isle Causeway, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34843457
– Comments: “All males with RNDU. Aytha shape, red head, black breast grey sides and breast. Seen well through scope.”

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) (1)
– Reported Feb 27, 2017 13:48 by Luke Berg
– Gannon Narrows (bridge/causeway), Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34846750
– Comments: “Female. ”

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) (2)
– Reported Feb 23, 2017 16:20 by Michael Oldham
– Second Line Rd., E of Hwy. 28, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34755191
– Comments: “pair in flooded field with about 100 Canada Geese; male in bright breeding plumage, seen through binoculars from about 100 m; large size, brown head, white neck, and long pointed tail of male clearly visible”

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) (2)
– Reported Feb 23, 2017 15:37 by Matthew Tobey
– Asphodel 2nd Line between Highway 2 and Rice Lake, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34743493
– Comments: “Migrating northwards.”

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) (13)
– Reported Feb 23, 2017 17:42 by Luke Berg
– Warsaw–County Rd 38 south of Hwy 7, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34747026
– Comments: “flying north over the road”

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) (2)
– Reported Feb 23, 2017 12:45 by Matthew Tobey
– Peterborough–Drummond Line between Hwy 7 and Hwy 2, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34743856
– Comments: “2 together with 1 EUST along Drummond Line near Forest Rd.”

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) (1)
– Reported Feb 23, 2017 17:01 by Luke Berg
– Asphodel 4rd Line between Hwy 7 and Centre Line, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34747029
– Comments: “Female with flock of EUST and RWBL 300m north of Centre Line”

Common Grackle, Wikimedia

Red-winged Blackbird – Karl Egressy

Killdeer – Wikimedia

Male Redhead (Wikimedia)

Tundra Swans – Apr. 6, 2014 – Luke Berg

Northern Shoveler pair – Dick Daniels

Pair of Northern Pintail – Karl Egressy

Lesser Scaup – female (Wikimedia)

Brown-headed Cowbird – Wikimedia

Turkey Vulture – Marcel Boulay

Feb 282017

Our pair of Canada Geese arrived today, along with a single male Bufflehead. The geese do not nest nearby as far as we know, but they regularly patrol our stretch of the Indian River in the spring to see off any rivals, using our old dock as a base. The position of the dock gives them a long, clear view of the river, both upstream and down. Happy news.

Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

A nesting pair of Canada Geese – March 2008 – Drew Monkman

Feb 282017

We live on Young’s Point Road on the west shore of Lake Katchewanooka. Our High-bush Cranberry was loaded with fruit. However, a big flock of Bohemian Waxwings came in and cleaned it out completely. I thought you might enjoy these photos.

Roy Bowles

Bohemian Waxwings – February 2017 – Roy Bowles

Bohemian Waxwings in High-bush Cranberry – February 2017 – Roy Bowles

Feb 272017

I haven’t submitted a sighting in a while but thought of it today when a lovely pair of Trumpeter Swans appeared on the Pigeon River, just north of Omemee, among the usual Canada Geese. They don’t appear to have bands or yellow tabs on their wings so I’m assuming they are wild. This is on the Pigeon river, just north of Omemee.

Karen Cooper, Omemee

A pair of Trumpeter Swans on the Pigeon River – February 25, 2017 – Karen Cooper