Feb 122018

I photographed this Merlin this morning, February 13, in Lakefield. Jeff Keller

Merlin – Jeff Keller – Lakefield – Feb. 13, 2018


















Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Feb 12, 2018 08:30 by Colin Jones
– Peterborough–Robinson Place, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S42701090
– Comments: “Adult flew in from the east, landed briefly on the building, then flew out and around the south side, towards the west. Seemed small, possibly suggesting a male.”

Peregrine – Karl Egressy








Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) (2)
– Reported Feb 07, 2018 13:56 by S Ro
– Jackson Park, Peterborough CA-ON (44.3114,-78.3385), Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S42706134
– Comments: “Presume they were mates. One was sitting on a limb in a small tree on the park side of the bridge. Mate arrived on tree beside it, then flew to the same tree. Approximately 6pm”

NSWO – Warsaw – Tim Dyson









Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) (2)
– Reported Feb 12, 2018 13:48 by Warren Dunlop
– Bailieboro–460 Scriven Rd, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S42717191
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “Perched in hedgerow.”

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds – male at upper right – Wikimedia











I sighted two Bald Eagles soaring in the cold winds above Lakefield arena today, February 12. Decent sized. They were fairly high up.  Andrew Lipscombe

Bald Eagle – Lakefield – Feb. 12, 2018 – Andrew Lipscombe

Jun 212017

I recently observed the Great Blue Heron rookery in the Trent Wildlife Sanctuary. As a point of interest, I noticed the rookery is quite visible from the height of land where the Tree Swallow/Eastern Bluebird research nesting site is located along the Blue trail, as one departs the Blue trail in a south western route. You have to use binoculars but I spotted the rookery from the research site at 2 different locations on that ‘high’ land elevation.

I have enjoyed observing the Great Blue Herons all my life. There used to be a small rookery (4 nests) near our home of 30 years when we lived adjacent to the Algonquin Park boundary. Most years, each pair of birds usually raised 3 offspring. At the rookery here at Trent, of the 8 active nests, I observed only 2 nests with 3 offspring. I believe all the others have 2 offspring. There was only 1 nest that I observed 1 offspring in, but the second offspring might just not have been visible from my perspective/orientation . For your information, I have since learned that there used to be a rookery on the south west side of Methuen Lake, south of Coe Hill. I must try to find time to check out that area as well, to see if that rookery is still active.

Of all the observations I have made of the Great Blue Herons over the years, I experienced a ‘new’ and exciting observation when I went to the Trent rookery last Sunday (June 18) afternoon. I watched the herons for about 2.5 hours, throughout the rain storm. During a very heavy downpour (thunder and lightning in the distance) which lasted only ~ 10 to 15 minutes, there was a ‘feeding frenzy’. During that short interval, 4 different adults returned to their respective nests and the offspring were fed. Was this behaviour just fate, or was there a natural variable occurring that stimulated this feeding frenzy? Of course, one could hypothesize in limitless manner to explain this observation.

Thanks very much for your guidance in locating this small rookery.

Joy  (tranquillitybay@bell.net)

Great Blue Heron – Wikimedia



Feb 042017

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) (1)
– Reported Feb 03, 2017 10:16 by Iain Rayner
– Otonabee River–between Lock 24 and 25, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34129948
– Comments: “Continuing male o n far shore halfway between both locs”

Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) (1)
– Reported Feb 02, 2017 08:38 by Matthew Tobey
– Trent River–Asphodel 5th Line, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34118931
– Comments: “Female with Common Mergansers. ”

Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis) (1)
– Reported Feb 03, 2017 13:33 by Matthew Tobey
– Peterborough–Trent University Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Area, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34135387
– Comments: “calling spontaneously from frozen wetland along the John de Pencier trail (west side of University Rd). Responsive to pishing, allowing for good views.”

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) (1)
– Reported Feb 02, 2017 12:15 by Ken Abraham
– Crawford Dr at SSF & Parkway, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34134615
– Comments: “Bird sitting on shrub branch in slight opening about 4 feet above ditch with water, facing road. Blue head, shoulders, rusty-red upper breast interrupted by light abdomen clearly visible. In the midst of EUST and AMRO movement.”

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) (8) CONFIRMED
– Reported Feb 02, 2017 15:40 by Erica Nol
– Hannah Road, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34127791
– Comments: “flock flew across Hannah Rd near intersection with Evertson Road; blue backs, smaller than robins but similar shape; may be same flock as seen previously in this area”

Winter Wren – Wikimedia

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds – male at upper right – Wikimedia

Jan 142017

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) (1)
– Reported Jan 12, 2017 15:37 by Martin Parker
– Otonabee River–between Lock 23 and 24, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “male – continuing bird”

Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) (1)
– Reported Jan 13, 2017 15:43 by Martyn Obbard
– Gannon Narrows (bridge/causeway), Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “near ice edge north shore Buckhorn Lake; good look through binoculars; light brown head, prominent shaggy crest, thin bill; absence of contrasting white neck”

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) (4)
– Reported Jan 11, 2017 15:30 by Peterborough County Birds Database
– Millbrook–1215 Carmel Line, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “pair of Eastern Bluebirds checking out a bluebird house in AM and about 3:30 PM. three male bluebirds in yard”

Male Wood Duck – Jeff Keller

Female Red-breasted Merganser (Karl Egressy)

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds – male at upper right – Wikimedia

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

Dec 202016

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) (1)
– Reported Dec 18, 2016 08:10 by Linda Sunderland
– Burnham Line PTBO, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33105049
– Comments: “continuing bird on Little Lake”

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) (5)
– Reported Dec 19, 2016 15:00 by Dave Milsom
– Rice Lake–Pengelly Landing, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33104283
– Comments: “2 distinct adult males flew to road close to Pengally Landing. Quickly flew off into field with buckthorn bushes with 3 other bluebirds.”

Eastern Bluebird - Kelly Dodge

Eastern Bluebird – Kelly Dodge

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds - male at upper right - Wikimedia

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds – male at upper right – Wikimedia

Horned Grebe in winter plumage - Wikimedia

Horned Grebe in winter plumage – Wikimedia

Dec 202016

I was very surprised to see a pair of Eastern Bluebirds in my garden this morning, December 18, at about 9.30 a.m. The male was sitting on top of the clothesline pole and the female was on the line itself. I live near Warsaw and often have bluebirds nesting in the spring and summer. However, this is the first time that I have seen them so late in the season and I worry that they won’t survive. Is this unusual?

Rachel Burrows, Warsaw

Note: Some bluebirds overwinter in the Kawarthas most years. Thanks to the huge wild fruit crop this year – especially Wild Grape – they should be able to find all they food they need. The cold is not an issue for birds, as long as they get enough to eat. D.M.

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds - male at upper right - Wikimedia

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds – male at upper right – Wikimedia

An Eastern Bluebird visiting a heated birdbath in winter - Kevin Williams

An Eastern Bluebird visiting a heated birdbath in winter – Kevin Williams

Aug 282016

I have some news that I think is important. On Friday night (August 19) we were driving home from some friends’ place over at the 5th line of Selwyn near the Lakefield Highway, and coming back we saw at least ten bats flying above the road over the km or two between their place and Chemong Road. Also, we were up at our cabin in the woods on the weekend, near Crystal Lake and just south of Kinmount and there were at least two bats flying around after dusk. Although they were once plentiful up there, we haven’t seen them for several years, until this Summer. One came out of its normal daytime roost on the west gable of the house on one particularly hot afternoon and had a bit of a rest on the screen of our porch (picture attached; note the Daddy Longlegs living dangerously beside him).

Probable Little Brown Bat - Crystal Lake near Kinmount - August 2016 - Michael Doran

Probable Little Brown Bat – Crystal Lake near Kinmount – August 2016 – Michael Doran

I am also happy to say that the American Chestnut tree that I wrote to you about four years ago (See Nov. 11, 2013) that had produced a few chestnuts (but hasn’t since) is now laden with nuts. Better still, one of the other three American Chestnut saplings that I planted in 2002 also has one single nut on it. I figure that’s a good start. I hope to beat the squirrels to most of these and plant them, ultimately spreading the saplings throughout our property and beyond. With large enough numbers, I am hoping that the many nut-loving animals that are around won’t find all of them. Our trees haven’t shown any sign of susceptibility to the blight that killed off most of the trees in North America early in the 20th century (I presume they used to grow in our area up there).

I bought the American Chestnut plantings as seedlings about 30-40 cm tall from the Grand River Conservation Centre in September 2002. The tree that is now loaded with nuts is about 5-7 m tall and its diameter at chest height would be about 12-15 cm. The other two, which grow in shadier spots, are maybe a metre or two shorter and proportionately slimmer. One of them was topped by a moose a few years ago (grrr!!!!), partly explaining its stature; nevertheless, it has one single nut on it! I was told when I bought them that they were grown from chestnuts that came from trees in a small, surviving enclave of American Chestnut trees somewhere in the GR conservation area. I don’t know if that’s good news or bad; I hope it means they have a natural immunity to the fungus.

American Chestnut Tree - Michael Doran - August, 2016

American Chestnut Tree – Michael Doran – August, 2016

American Chestnut - Pennsylvania - 1914 (Wikimedia)

American Chestnut – Pennsylvania – 1914 (Wikimedia)

American Chestnut leaves and nuts (Wikimedia)

American Chestnut leaves and nuts (Wikimedia)

We have seen only one Monarch Butterfly at a time up at the cabin this Summer. I’m hopeful that the one I saw this weekend is the offspring of the one I saw earlier in the Summer. Their numbers are much reduced up there over the last decade too, sad to say.

In other news, we saw a Scarlet Tanager this summer up there (I have a grainy photo to prove it, taken through the porch screen), the first time in many years too. It has been very dry up there (no surprise, I’m sure), but it is the best year for Evening Primrose that we have seen since 1993.

Bears aren’t as plentiful as they once were, but at least they are well behaved, unlike in 2004 when a gang of four of them tried to break into our cabin while we were there.

Last year, for the first time ever, we saw three Eastern Bluebirds checking out the bird house that I put up in the meadow. Sadly (for us), they found more appropriate accommodation. We saw two again this spring, but they too moved on. I don’t think that the presence of a Sharp-shinned Hawk while they were inspecting the house helped. So I will tweak the bird house and hope for better luck next year (I used American plans; our bluebirds should be a bit bigger, it being colder here, so I will make the opening just a bit bigger).

I love your column and books. Please keep writing!

Michael Doran, Crystal Lake, near Kinmount, ON

Jan 252016

Eastern Bluebird (Eastern) (Sialia sialis) (3)
– Reported Jan 24, 2016 09:08 by Luke Berg
– CA-ON-Otonabee-South Monaghan-306-362 Hannah Rd – 44.1265x-78.3206, Peterborough, Ontario
– Media: 3 Photos
– Comments: “Three males perched on the telephone wires along Hannah Road at the top of the first hill west of Pengelly Landing. Photos show all three birds.”

Eastern Bluebird - Kelly Dodge

Eastern Bluebird – Kelly Dodge

Jan 262015

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) (4)
– Reported Jan 25, 2015 13:35 by Iain Rayner
– Ptbo – Asphodel 4 Line, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “Hanging out together in sumac, next to house with feeders. Blue backs, orangy breasts, white lower breast/undertail coverts. About the size of a large sparrow. CLICK ON CHECKLIST TO SEE PHOTO.

Eastern Bluebird pair - Wikimedia

Eastern Bluebird pair – Wikimedia