Nov 282018
 
  • Again this year, there are many Snowy Owls in the Lindsay area, especially between Oakwood and Little Britain. On several occasions, as many as three have been seen in the same field. Carl Welbourn, Kawartha Camera Club

    Snowy Owl – Nov. 29, 2018 – Lindsay area – Carl Welbourn

    Snowy Owl 2 – Nov. 29, 2018 – Carl Welbourn

     

  • Today, November 29, I had an American Kestrel turn up at my house in Campbellford and was able to get a picture of it eating a vole.  Donald Munro

  • On Friday, November 23 about 8:30 am a small flock of Evening Grosbeaks, maybe 6-8, were flitting about one of the our feeders. It’s been at least 8 years since I’ve seen these magnificent birds. After a few minutes, the group flew next door so I wasn’t able to get a really good view, but two returned and remained a while so I was rewarded, glued to my binoculars. I do hope they stay around. Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

    Male Evening Grosbeak – Wikimedia

    Female Evening Grosbeak – photo by Jeff Keller

 

  • I had a female Red-bellied Woodpecker and two female Pine Grosbeaks in my yard today. She was eating crab apples. Donald Munro, Campbellford

Female Red-belllied Woodpecker eating crabapple – November 2018 – Donald Munro

 

  • Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) (3)
    – Reported Nov 22, 2018 08:00 by Iain Rayner
    – Trent Rowing club, Peterborough, Ontario
    Map:
    – Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50125087
    – Comments: “3 frosty coloured 1st winter birds seen at same time on dump pile. Frosty, pale primaries, same size as HERG, round heads and all dark bills.”

 

  • Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) (1)
    – Reported Nov 22, 2018 11:45 by Dave Milsom
    – Peterborough–Trent University Canal Nature Area, Peterborough, Ontario
    Map:
    – Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50128298
    – Media: 1 Photo
    – Comments: “continuing 1st-year bird”

 

  • Jake Lake (Apsley, Peterborough County) Common Loon Survey 2018       (click on image to read)

Jack Lake 2018 Common Loon Survey (from Steven Kerr, Jack Lake Association)

  • Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) (1)
    – Reported Nov 19, 2018 12:20 by Robert Walker Ormston
    – Peterborough–Rotary Park & Walkway, Peterborough, Ontario
    Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.3128468,-78.313466&ll=44.3128468,-78.313466
    – Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50054347
    – Comments: “Most of the birds seen on list seen harassing this owl. Sitting close to the top of a white pine in a stand of white pine. A number of birds were around a fairly small area of the stand making agitated calls. Went to investigate and found owl after about 5 minutes.small pale and light brown owl lacking “ears” about 8to 10 meters up tree”

    Saw-whet Owl banding – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
    – Reported Nov 18, 2018 14:33 by Donald A. Sutherland
    – Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Peterborough CA-ON (44.3001,-78.3470), Peterborough, Ontario
    Map:
    – Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50047143
    – Comments: “perched atop tower on roof of PRHC”

 

  • Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) (1)
    – Reported Nov 18, 2018 10:25 by Iain Rayner
    – Trent Rowing club, Peterborough, Ontario
    Map:
    – Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50023765
    – Comments: “Continuing 1st year”

    Iceland Gull (Crossley Guide) First winter bird is lower left. Some are browner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) (1)
    – Reported Nov 18, 2018 15:35 by Luke Berg
    – Otonabee River–Nassau Mills Dam to Lock 22, Peterborough, Ontario
    Map:
    – Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50031280
    – Comments: “Continuing bird flying up river at the rowing club. Seen earlier around 11:30 as well. ”

    Glaucous Gull (adult) – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • We’ve seen a male Red-bellied Woodpecker eating suet from our feeder twice in the last two weeks. We live 2 km south of Trent University. Gorgeous bird! Doug Sadler’s book “Our Heritage of Birds – Peterborough County in the Kawarthas” – copyright 1983, lists this bird as a rare occasional visitor, this being the northern edge of its range. I’m wondering how frequently they are being seen here now. Is their range moving north because of climate change? Liz Sine                           N.B. Red-bellied Woodpeckers have actually become rather common in recent years. They are being seen all over the County, even on the Shield and right in Peterborough. I believe we saw six on last year’s Christmas Bird Count. Climate change most likely plays a role in the expansion northward of this southern species.

    Red-bellied Woodpecker – Lynde Creek, Whitby- Photo by Brian Crangle

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Update on Pat Edward’s Baltimore Oriole (see Nov. 7 below) The last we saw of the oriole was Tues., Nov. 13th. We headed up north very early in the morning on the bitter cold day – Wed. the 14th so we didn’t put out his feeder as it would have froze. We hung the feeder out again the following day (Nov. 15th) when we were back but we never saw him. It was very cold then as well. We did take a couple of pictures as he would show up early in the morning and if my husband didn’t have his feeder out, he would go to the sunflower one about 4′ away which we found very unusual. As soon as Kevin put out the oriole feeder, he would be there right away!! He must have gone to the feeder the last week I would say at least 50X a day.  It was such a treat to see him – he gave us lots of enjoyment and we just hope he survived that bitter weather. Pat Edwards, Ennismore

    Baltimore Oriole – Nov. 12, 2018 – Ennismore – Pat Edwards

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) (1)
    – Reported Nov 17, 2018 11:05 by Erica Nol
    – Douro 5th Line, Peterborough, Ontario
    Map:
    – Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49995989
    – Comments: “continuing bird; in trees 50 m north of dead end on Douro 5th Line; white wing patches in flight”

    Northern Mockingbird – Gord Mallory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Today, November 17, I had 24+ Evening Grosbeaks at feeder 733 Ford Crescent in Cavan. Long time since I saw them last. Great sight. Ken Rumble

male Evening Grosbeak (Gord Belyea)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I thought you might be interested (I’m watching the birds more closely today, November 16, as they are looking for food as the snow falls heavily) that I just saw a White-crowned Sparrow trying to eat at the sunflower feeder, but he couldn’t get a perch. Must be a migrant trying to get to better weather! Jane Bremner, Douro-Dummer

White-crowned Sparrow – Mike Barker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
    – Reported Nov 16, 2018 08:30 by Mike V.A. Burrell
    – Peterborough–Robinson Place, Peterborough, Ontario
    – Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.3032345,-78.31786&ll=44.3032345,-78.31786
    – Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49968782
    – Comments: “adult sitting on very top of south tower.”

    Peregrine Falcon (Wikimedia photo)

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) (1)
    – Reported Nov 14, 2018 09:50 by Ben Taylor
    – Trent Rowing Club, Peterborough, Ontario
    Map:
    – Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49933377
    – Comments: “Continuing bird with tan streaking and small. all-dark bill. Slightly smaller than the GLGU.
  • Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) (1)
    – Reported Nov 14, 2018 09:50 by Ben Taylor
    – Trent Rowing Club, Peterborough, Ontario
    Map:
    – Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49933377
    – Comments: “Continuing bird. Juvenile with long bi-coloured bill.”
  • On November 15, I had both a male and female Pine Grosbeak in my crab apple tree. A Pileated Woodpecker has also been coming to the tree. Donald Munroe, Campbellford

    Male Pine Grosbeak eating crab apples – Don Munroe – November 15, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I can’t believe how busy my yard has been the last couple of weeks. Today, November 14, I had 15 species, including a female Pine Grosbeak eating crab apples, a Northern Flicker, my first American Tree Sparrow of the year, a Purple Finch and a late White-throated Sparrow. This is better than summer! In the last two weeks I have had 20 species, including 12+ Common Redpolls on November 9. That same day, I also had 3 Pine Grosbeaks feeding in my crab apple.  I could clearly see the dirty yellow, orange/brown head and rump and the wing bars. The one bird’s rump had a bit of red. I think it was an immature male and the others were females. Sue Paradisis, Peterborough

American Tree Sparrow (Karl Egressy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • On November 8, I had 3 Evening Grosbeaks eating seeds with the chickadees. I bought very inexpensive feeders from the dollar store. They are green plastic trays hung by chains. The birds can fly in or perch on sides – even the woodpeckers.

 

  • This past spring and summer I had 3 pairs of Baltimore Orioles. I put grape jelly in an oriole feeder and my hummingbird feeders, the glass style with yellow ant block. I removed the yellow plastic and using sugar and water the orioles came to feed over and over again. When you remove yellow plastic ant block, all the birds join in with hummingbirds, woodpeckers and chickadees. As well my robin arrived this spring for the third year now. He comes to the deck rail and looks in the patio door for raisins. He just loves them! Esther Ross, Islandview Drive Bailieboro

 

  • I had removed all my oriole/hummingbird feeders in September after which I had not seen either of those birds around. The last week in October, we saw a male Baltimore oriole flying by.  I spotted it one day on our lilac tree so I made up some feed for him and put up the feeder where it always has been.  Within an hour, it had been discovered!  We bring the feeder in at dusk so the raccoons don’t get it as they have in the past. As of November 7, it has been here 10 days at the feeder, probably well over 30x a day.  We love seeing it and I’ve enclosed a couple of pictures. It has crossed my mind however, whether I should be feeding it, as it should have left to go south for warmer temperatures and I would hate the thought of it dying.  Pat Edwards, Ennismore  N.B. I think it’s fine to feed the bird, especially given the cold conditions. It may leave on its own or possibly try to stay all winter. This has happened in the past! Pat Edwards, Ennismore 

Baltimore Oriole – Ennismore – November 7, 2018 – Pat-Edwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • On November 7, three Trumpeter Swans flew over my house at 10:30 am west of causeway on #7 highway, Omemee. Gavin Hunter

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • On November 4, I had 8 Evening Grosbeaks show up in my yard. They didn’t stay long as the platform feeders had been cleaned out by the earlier birds.
    Sue Paradisis, Peterborough

 

  • Jack Lake 2018 Turtle Observations (Steve Kerr)

Thirty-three individuals reported turtle sightings from the Jack Lake area in 2018.  Ninety-one turtles, comprised of four different species.

Blanding’s Turtle – 7
Midland Painted Turtle – 43
Northern Map Turtle – 6
Snapping Turtle – 34

Blanding’s Turtle – Rick Stankiewicz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 112018
 

The annual Christmas Bird Count reveals the ups and downs of bird populations – and always some surprises.

Between mid-December and early January, birders in more than 2,500 localities across North, Central and South America take a break from the holiday festivities to spend a day outside, identifying and counting birds. Dating all the way back to 1900, the Christmas Bird Count is probably the longest-running Citizen Science project in the world. The information collected by thousands of volunteer participants forms one of the world’s largest sets of wildlife survey data.

One of the most interesting trends the numbers show is the decades-long northward march of the Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, Northern Mockingbird, Tufted Titmouse and Northern Cardinal. Mourning Doves, for example, were extremely rare in the northern states and Canada until the 1960s, and it was only in the 1970s that their numbers really increased. All of these species used to be restricted to the southern U.S. Their range extension northward is most likely the result of a combination of milder winters and more people feeding birds.

The counts are organized at the local level, often by a birding club or naturalist organization. The count area is a circle, measuring 24 kilometres in diameter. The circle is then sub-divided into sectors, each of which is covered by a different group of birders. The basic idea is to identify and count – as accurately as possible – every bird seen or heard.

Once again this year, two local counts were held – one centred in Peterborough and the other in Petroglyphs Provincial Park. The Petroglyphs Count circle can be viewed at bit.ly/2EfuPt8. Martin Parker of the Peterborough Field Naturalists organized the Peterborough count, while Colin Jones was in charge of the Petroglyphs count.

Ruffed Grouse – Jeff Keller

Peterborough Count

The 66th Peterborough Christmas Bird Count was held December 17 under cold but sunny conditions. Seventy-one members and friends of the Peterborough Field Naturalists spent all or part of the day in the field, while 10 others kept track of birds visiting their feeders.

By the end of the day, participants had found 13,166 individual birds of 60 species. A pair of Fox Sparrows and a Sandhill Crane were new to the count. Both of these migratory species should have left the Kawarthas well before mid-December. At the compilation dinner after the count, Scott McKinlay described his group found and identified the crane. “I saw this bird through my scope from a considerable distance – maybe a kilometre – as it flew low over an open field in full sunlight. It had broad wings and the slow, arching wing beats typical of large herons and cranes. It was clearly brown in colour. I was reluctant to call it as a Sandhill because of the distance and time of year, but nothing else fit. A short time later, I reunited with the rest of the group, who had been surveying the area in the direction of my sighting. Before I uttered a word, they yelled out, “I think we saw a Sandhill Crane!” They described it as being the size of a Great Blue Heron with an outstretched neck, long trailing legs and flying low over a field in my direction. All three were adamant, however, that it was not a heron.”

Sandhill Crane (Wikimedia)

Record high numbers were tallied on the count for Cooper’s Hawk (12), Bald Eagle (13), Red-bellied Woodpecker (16), Pileated Woodpecker (28), Dark-eyed Junco (731) and Northern Cardinal (144). Previous highs were tied for Merlin (3) and Peregrine Falcon (1). The 466 Blue Jays tallied was three short of the previous high of 469.

There were also some notable low numbers. As has been the pattern in recent years, Great Horned Owls (2 vs. 40 in 1992), Ruffed Grouse (17 vs. 82 in 1979) and House Sparrows (181 vs. 2209 in 1981) were conspicuous by their relative absence. It is well known fact that Ruffed Grouse numbers fluctuate a great deal from year to year and even decade to decade. However, the factors responsible for these periodic fluctuations remain poorly understood. Road mortality and changes in habitat, especially south of the Canadian Shield, probably play a role, as well. These include forest fragmentation and fewer early-successional, aspen-dominated forest blocks. Ruffed Grouse are only capable of relatively short flights.

The decline of Great Horned Owls is another mystery. The Canadian population has dropped by over 70% since the 1960s. Collisions with vehicles and high mortality of fledged young due to starvation are acknowledged as playing an important roles. Declines in principal prey species, such as cottontails, hares and rodents (e.g., a big drop in muskrat numbers) may be a contributing factor.

Great Horned Owl – Drew Monkman

The downturn in House Sparrow populations, however, may be the biggest enigma. This is evident across the bird’s range, which includes every continent except Antarctica. The cause or causes are not yet known. In rural areas, it may be that changes in agricultural practices have resulted in fewer nesting sites and less food availability. In northeastern North America, it also been postulated that competition with a relatively new arrival, the House Finch, is a playing a role. However, House Finches have also been declining for a number of years. Only 181 were found this year, which is about one tenth of the record high of 1197.

Finally, not a single American Kestrel was found on the count. It is estimated that the continent-wide population of this small falcon has declined by about 50% since 1966. Part of the reason may be the felling of standing dead trees on which they depend for nesting sites. Removing hedgerows and brush as part of “clean” farming practices are almost certainly having an effect, too. According to Don Sutherland of the Natural Heritage Information Centre in Peterborough, American Kestrels are still common in parts of northern Ontario, particularly in the Big and Little Clay Belts where agriculture is less intense and there is an abundance of hayfields and pasture.

 

American Kestrel – Nima Taghaboni

The total tally sheet for the Peterborough count is as follows:   Canada Goose 400,  American Black Duck 8, Mallard 964,  Bufflehead 2, Common Goldeneye 100, Hooded Merganser 1, Common Merganser 7, Ruffed Grouse 17, Wild Turkey 223, Sharp-shinned Hawk  2, Cooper’s Hawk 12, Bald Eagle 13, Red-tailed Hawk 49, Sandhill Crane 1, Ring-billed Gull 9, Herring Gull 121, Glaucous Gull 1, Iceland Gull 1, Great Black-backed Gull 1, Rock Pigeon 1680, Mourning Dove 1088, Eastern Screech-Owl 2, Great Horned Owl 2, Snowy Owl 1, Belted Kingfisher 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker 16, Downy Woodpecker 90, Hairy Woodpecker 62, Northern Flicker 1, Pileated Woodpecker 28, Merlin 3, Peregrine 1, Northern Shrike 8, Blue Jay 466, American Crow 612, Common Raven 9, Black-capped Chickadee 2065, Red-breasted Nuthatch 27, White-breasted Nuthatch 88, Brown Creeper 7, Golden-crowned Kinglet 28, American Robin 181,  European Starling 2227, Cedar Waxwing 115, Snow Bunting 143, American Tree Sparrow 439, Dark-eyed Junco 731, Fox Sparrow 2, Song Sparrow 1, White-throated Sparrow 5,  Northern Cardinal 144, Red-winged Blackbird 2, Brown-headed Cowbird 1,  House Finch 181, Purple Finch 2, White-winged Crossbill 1, Pine Siskin 99, American Goldfinch 424 and House Sparrow 181.  A Northern Harrier, Ring-necked Pheasant and Carolina Wren were also seen during the count period but not on the day of the count.

Petroglyph Count

            The 32nd Petroglyph Christmas Bird Count took place on December 27, in frigid weather conditions. The 24 participants braved temperatures of close to -30 C in the early morning and only -18 by mid-afternoon. Despite the weather, 32 species and 1826 individual birds were tallied, which is close to the 10-year average of 33.5 species and 2,248 individuals. There was virtually no open water, however, and therefore no waterbirds.

Although no new species were recorded or records broken, there were some notable results. An above-average 7 Bald Eagles, 146 Red-breasted Nuthatches, 122 American Tree Sparrows and 134 Dark-eyed Juncos were counted. A Gray Jay was also located in a bog along the Sandy Lake Road south of Lasswade. Up until 2009, this species was recorded annually but since then only observed in 2014 and during the week of the count in 2016. Two other birds of note were an immature Golden Eagle seen soaring over the Kawartha Nordic Ski Trails near Haultain and a Black-backed Woodpecker in Petroglyphs Provincial Park.

Black-backed Woodpecker – Wikimedia

As for winter finches, 41 Red Crossbills and 8 White-winged Crossbills turned up, some of which were singing! These birds will nest in any month of the year if sufficient food is available. This year, nearly all of our conifers produced a bumper seed crop. Crossbills feed almost exclusively on conifer seeds. Two Purple Finch, 114 Pine Siskin, 103 American Goldfinch and 2 Evening Grosbeak rounded out the finch count.

The total  tally sheet for the Petroglyph count is as follows: Ruffed Grouse 7, Wild Turkey 40,  Bald Eagle 7, Red-tailed Hawk 2, Golden Eagle 1, Rock Pigeon 10, Mourning Dove 9, Barred Owl 1, Downy Woodpecker 25, Hairy Woodpecker 39, Black-backed Woodpecker 1, Pileated Woodpecker 11, Gray Jay 1, Blue Jay 206, American Crow 4, Common Raven 42, Black-capped Chickadee 641, Red-breasted Nuthatch 146, White-breasted Nuthatch 40, Brown Creeper 17, Golden-crowned Kinglet 32, American Robin 2, European Starling 10, Cedar Waxwing 6, American Tree Sparrow 122, Dark-eyed Junco 134, Purple Finch 2, Red Crossbill 41, White-winged Crossbill 8, Pine Siskin 114, American Goldfinch 103, and Evening Grosbeak 2.

 

 

Backyard Count

If you are inspired by the Christmas Bird Count and want to contribute to Citizen Science yourself – and maybe introduce your children or grandchildren to birding – consider taking part in the Great Backyard Bird Count. It takes place February 16-19 and anyone can participate. Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. You can do so from any location. Go to gbbc.birdcount.org for details. To see the results of last year’s count, visit gbbc.birdcount.org/2017-gbbc-summary/

 

 

 

Dec 252016
 

How’s this for a high triple at my feeder this morning: Eastern Towhee, Northern Flicker and American Kestrel ….. Followed by 3 Eastern Bluebirds while skiing on the rail trail!

Michael Gillespie, Keene

American Kestrel - Nima Taghaboni

American Kestrel – Nima Taghaboni

female Eastern Towhee (Tom Bell)

female Eastern Towhee (Tom Bell)

Eastern Bluebird (Kim Reid, June 2013)

Eastern Bluebird (Kim Reid, June 2013)

Northern Flicker by Sue Paradisis

Northern Flicker by Sue Paradisis

Aug 312016
 

I live on the Otonabee River between locks 24 & 25, and saw a pair of what I believe were Merlins flying over our yard Wednesday evening, August 24. Both of them had the shape of small falcons. I got a good look only at the brownish one when it landed on a cedar tree, but the markings looked unmistakable (definitely not a kestrel).

This is a fabulous place to live. We’re on the end of the road, so we have the river, but also mixed forest across the river and overgrown fields on two sides, one of which also has wetland, so we get a wonderful variety of birds. We had an American Bittern gullunking all spring, as well as Bobolinks in the fields. Also regularly see a Northern Harrier and American Kestrels, sometimes Red-tailed Hawks… and now Merlins. We also have loons as well as a pair of Baltimore Orioles, who, judging by the number of fledglings, had two clutches this year. Oh, and Bald Eagles in the winter. Who could ask for anything more?

Annamarie Beckel
writer ~ editor ~ ecologist

www.annamariebeckel.com

 

 

Bobolink - Wikimedia

Bobolink – Wikimedia

Baltimore Oriole on hummingbird feeder - Doug Gibson

Baltimore Oriole on hummingbird feeder – Doug Gibson

American Bittern - by Don Pettypiece

American Bittern – by Don Pettypiece

Merlin (Karl Egressy)

Merlin (Karl Egressy)

Jul 062015
 

The baby Kestrels fledged today and left the nesting box. Unfortunately there was no camera in the car at the time, and so I had to return home and get one and then return. There were three young on the roof of the box and one adult initially, but when I returned there were only two young on the roof of the box and the adults were flying overhead. With the distance the photos are a bit small, but when zoomed in, it is quite clear.

Bill Snowden, Ennismore

Baby Kestrels - Bill Snowden - July 3, 2015

Baby Kestrels – Bill Snowden – July 3, 2015