Dec 182016
 

I received an email from Gwen McMullen in Warsaw.  Her son, Sandy,  works at the Unimin Mine and lives on the Galesburg South Road. He drives to work along County Road #6 to the mine. On November 28, he emailed his mom, saying: “I was seeing groups of eagles all day. 2 to 4 at a time. Over the 5 mile road I travel I was seeing them it seemed everywhere. I figured it must have been the same group traveling. Late afternoon I went on the tailings dam and surprised maybe 20 plus in one group. I estimated 8 mature Bald Eagles with white heads. There may have been Golden Eagles as well. The dark ones were very large compared to the white heads. You would think there was a salmon run on! Just sharing.”

Sandy McMullen, Galesburg South Road

Juvenile Golden Eagle - USFWS

Juvenile Golden Eagle – USFWS

Bald Eagle (Karl Egressy)

Bald Eagle (Karl Egressy)

Jan 132016
 

It has taken me 70 years, but today (Jan. 7) was the first time that I have seen both a Bald and Golden Eagle in the same morning. The Bald Eagle that I saw yesterday in the adjacent cornfield to my farm was back to savage the frozen small carcass this morning. An hour later, I went east to the Birdsall Line to look for the Golden that was seen feasting on a small dead deer in a bean field. It wasn’t there so I continued south towards Rice Lake in case there was open water. Just before the road ending, I saw my friend who had reported the sighting yesterday. As we stood talking, the Golden slowly flew over us, disappearing over the trees a few fields away. The carcass of the deer wasn’t there, probably having been pulled into the bush by coyotes. So, my chance sighting of the Golden was most fortuitous, but without the carcass / bait one would be lucky to see it again.

Michael Gillespie, Keene

Bald Eagle on deer carcass - Val Roberts

Bald Eagle on deer carcass – Val Roberts

Golden Eagle (3rd winter bird) Tim Dyson

Golden Eagle (3rd winter bird) Tim Dyson

Dec 072015
 

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) (1)
– Reported Dec 03, 2015 13:42 by Martyn Obbard
– Buckhorn Rd. ca. 500 m south of Buckhorn, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “large raptor soaring overhead; at first thought TUVU; larger than TUVU; long broad wings, slow wing beat, extensive “fingering” of primaries, all dark underneath, no contrasting pattern. no white underneath”

Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) (3)
– Reported Dec 06, 2015 09:08 by Iain Rayner
– Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “Three birds came in to pishing well north of McGinnis Lake just S of the main Parking lot.”

Gray Jay -Tom Northey Algonquin Park - March 2014

Gray Jay -Tom Northey Algonquin Park – March 2014

Golden Eagle (3rd winter bird) Tim Dyson

Golden Eagle (3rd winter bird) Tim Dyson

Jan 282015
 

Yesterday, (January 27th), during a forty minute walk between Belmont Lake and Round Lake north of Havelock, I enjoyed a nice bit of eagling, (if that is indeed a word). First, along came a lovely 4th winter Bald Eagle at only about 150 m  above the ground. She flew right overhead, and headed north and out of my sight. A little while later, two perched ravens drew my attention to a fairly high 2nd winter Bald Eagle as it soared higher and higher, as the curious ravens stared at the ascending eagle. Not long after that, I was back home and sipping a coffee on the front porch when I spotted another eagle to the west. This bird, too, seemed quite high, and appeared  not to be soaring, but instead, looked to be “hanging” suspended by the stiff north breeze. Binoculars were only useful enough to be able to tell that it was a Golden Eagle, but it was not until I got the scope on it, that I could see that it was in fact an adult bird. It even hovered a couple of times, (not unlike a kestrel or Rough-legged Hawk often does). I have seen Goldens do this before, but not very often. It appeared to be actively hunting though, and remained in my sight for more than twenty minutes. It was doing what I refer to as a “staircase stoop”, in which with partly closed wings, the bird drops maybe fifty meters, then levels off again, then drops again, and then levels off once more. Too far away for photos, but plenty of fun to watch regardless. Despite another nice day today, a similar walk did not produce any eagles.

Tim Dyson, Cordova Lake

Bald Eagle - 4th winter - 27-01-15 - Tim Dyson

Bald Eagle – 4th winter – 27-01-15 – Tim Dyson

Adult Golden Eagle photographed at Petroglyph Provincial Park (Tim Dyson)

Adult Golden Eagle photographed at Petroglyph Provincial Park (Tim Dyson)

Jan 242015
 

On Jan. 20th, I had my fourth Golden Eagle sighting this month. This one was a nice 2nd or 3rd year sub-adult. That makes at least three different ones in the past twenty days – one sub-adult, and two different 1st winter birds. The other first ear bird, I could not see well enough to determine if it was or was not one of the other two which were very different in amounts of white in the flight feathers.

Tim Dyson, Cordova Lake

Golden Eagle (3rd winter bird) Tim Dyson

Golden Eagle (3rd winter bird) Tim Dyson

Jan 032015
 

Although I saw two Barred Owls (one continuing, plus a new bird) on the Petroglyphs Christmas Bird Count, I have been through the “owl city” between Havelock and Stoney Lake several times since, and have only seen one, (Cty Rd 46 & Keating Road) a few days ago. I wonder if with the increasing moon, they are coming out a little later than what has been “the magic hour” between 4:00 and 5:00pm of recent weeks.

Driving back home this afternoon, (Jan. 3rd), I left County Road 44, and headed east across Church Road towards Cty Rd 46, north of Havelock. About 2/3 of the way to #46, I saw an eagle, not high, not low, heading s/w. Flapping and gliding as it went, I couldn’t help but think that I had never before seen an eagle so close, look more like a Turkey Vulture – pronounced dihedral, and very small head/neck. And so, I pulled off the road as it went along its way south of me, and I had a quick look with binoculars. Yup, a lovely 1st winter Golden Eagle. Looked to be a different bird than the one I saw more than 5 kms north of there soaring with an adult Bald on the 12th of December. The bird today showed a good amount of white through all of the primaries and secondaries, (where the earlier bird seemed to show white only at the bases of the primaries).
This would be my first eagle of 2015 – what a nice way to start with a Golden!!

Tim Dyson, Cordova Lake

Juvenile Golden Eagle - USFWS

Juvenile Golden Eagle – USFWS

Sep 192014
 

With a little time on my hands each day between 10:00 pm and 2:00 pm, and with thanks to very cooperative weather, I have been sitting out in the field watching the fall raptor (and Monarch) migration. Despite good numbers of passing Broad-winged Hawks on Sunday the 14th, it appears that there may be fewer of that species to come, though there is still a trickle passing through The Kawarthas, and there still may be one more “big day” here for the species this season. Although I remain optimistic, I have my doubts that there will be many more to come this year. This is mostly because that over the 35 years that I have watched and counted raptors in the fall, the average date for huge Broad-winged Hawk flights over the Kawarthas and the Oak Ridges Moraine is September 15th, (and during most of those years, it has actually occured ON the 15th!)

Broad-winged Hawk (Wikimedia)

Broad-winged Hawk (Wikimedia)

With 216 Broad-wings seen on the 14th, (168 of them being seen all at once), I had spent relatively little time on that day staring at the sky watching for more, so I no doubt missed many hundreds more.  This is another reason why I believe that the bulk of them may now have already pushed on. On the following day, I saw only 24 despite hours of watching for them. And, only 22 on the 16th, and none on the 17th. Not to worry however, as even though spectacular in their own right, (soaring sometimes in huge groups like they do), there are still many more species of raptors passing overhead on their way elsewhere, for a person to enjoy. Every day you can have expectations of seeing “something”, and once you know which species to expect throughout the changing season, it becomes enjoyably predictable for the most part. There are always fun exceptions, however.

So yesterday, (the 16th), I returned to the field for the “magic hour”, (which is actually two hours – 10:00 am to noon). At this time of day, most of the raptors are still low and easily visible, as the Earth is just warming up, and winds are light. At noon, however, many, if not most of the birds are quite high, and sometimes already too high to find easily with binoculars. This “noon-time-lull” can continue sometimes well into the afternoon, but if the weather changes, so do your chances of once again seeing more raptors. Some weather is simply great for migrating long distances, while other weather is more suited to staying put and foraging a meal.When such a change takes place, you will notice more of the hawks lower, and even coming down for something to eat on occasion.

The morning of the 16th began in a routine way, with little pulses of passing Turkey Vultures and Broad-wings, not yet too high to spot. Nothing special, but just a nice couple of hours of hawk watching. The Broad-winged Hawk tally for the day was close to the same for the previous day. I would say that on the 16th, the 2nd year bald eagle (still going through its summer moult with several new secondaries only half-grown out), was a highlight, as it soared with five vultures.

Tally for Sept. 16
Turkey Vulture – 20
Broad-winged Hawk – 22
Red-tailed Hawk – 5
Red-shouldered Hawk – 4 (including two resident adults)
Bald Eagle – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2
Merlin – 2

Today, (the 17th), I got seated in the field once again, by about 10:30 am. I had waited for some time, (counting passing Monarchs), and not much in the way of a raptor flight seemed to be happening.
The sky was different than it had been during the previous three days as well. Instead of the steady stream of roundish “poofy” cumulus moving from west to east through an otherwise blue sky as had been the case from Sunday through Tuesday, it was a rather mixed sky of cumulus, altocumulus, and cirrus to name a few. The wind too, was shifting back and forth from west to south-west, and didn`t have that cool little west-north-west snap to it that it had earlier in the week either. The breeze was somewhat warmer – not the best for Broad-wings, but made me wonder about vultures, red-tails, and eagles. These larger birds do seem to move well on inland south-west winds, and more so than other raptors, (based on personal obs.) Other than two immature red-tails, all I had seen were some vultures, and now it was just after noon.

I had just watched a  Turkey Vulture soar way up and out of sight with an immature Red-tail, when I looked out over the woods to the north-east ofthe field at an approaching vulture. As I watched it through binoculars, I had a disgusting thought; “I wonder what it had for breakfast?” Made myself giggle a little, and also note that I myself, had not yet had any breakfast. Hmm, now feeling hungry, figured I should soon head inside for some edibles. Took one last look at the vulture, and “What`s that?” I thought. Well, in behind the soaring vulture and heading my way, was another bird. Large, “black”, and with deeply crooked wings as it just seemed to hold itself in the air, (though appeared to be getting larger). It was in fact coming in at quite a speed, though its great size combined with its speed, seemed somehow deceptive. Even though it likely didn`t come to within even 50 meters of the vulture, the vulture suddenly turned earthward, and with wings flapping, dropped perhaps 20 meters, and well out of the way of this descending beast. (I dad never seen a vulture do that before). Just prior to the “ducking” of the vulture, I had guessed “an eagle”, but not until it began to slice past south of me could I see clearly that it was an adult Golden Eagle with short, fat head, longish tail, and other than the small pale area of feet and undertail coverts, it was otherwise all dark underneath.

Golden Eagle photographed at Petroglyph Provincial Park (Tim Dyson)

Golden Eagle photographed at Petroglyph Provincial Park (Tim Dyson)

As it passed behind me I watched through binoculars as its true speed (well over 100 kph I am guessing with confidence) became apparent. It was obviously taking a break for lunch, (it was 12:15 pm after all). Just before its destination was reached, it banked sharply to the south, and in a much steeper contorted twist, passed directly over the large basswoods, maples and hickories that line the road, and the last I saw of it, the wings were pulled above the back and nearly closed, and the legs were extended with the feet spread far apart making it look like a letter “X” and then it had dropped out of my site. Within three seconds, a flock of close to forty Canada Geese, (among the usual fare for both Bald and Golden Eagles), took to the sky honking in alarm and headed fast, over to nearby Belmont Lake. (Where the eagle had disappeared to, there is a small pond surrounded by marsh, which is then in the middle of cow pasture. Next to that, there is a rather large crop field. From August through the rest of the fall, many waterfowl use that spot, and often in the evening you can watch them going down into the pond in fair numbers.)

I waited a full ten minutes, thinking that if the eagle had missed its intended catch, then it may soon come back up to soar, and it just might come back my way and allow me to take a photo, (which I would never have obtained when it had stooped past me. It was too fast to even bother trying!) Well, after the ten minutes or so had passed, I could still hear the agitated crows in the direction that I had last seen the eagle. So, I jumped in the car and drove over near there. I parked on a road allowance right-of-way, and walked along it for a while until I finally located the crows not far away. They were perched in the dead top of a large willow, and although they were still “talking”, they were not saying much. That is to be expected however, and as I watched them, I could see that they would often look down, and further west, (and away from me), and down behind the trees upon which they perched. So, I believed that the eagle had been successful, was down on the ground with its catch, and the crows were watching it, but my view of it was blocked by these trees. I walked on a little further, and when I came out fully into the view of the crows, they flew across a section of the pasture, and came to land in the tops of pines on the other side. I checked them with binoculars, and a few were looking down, now in between where they were, and where they had been. I am pretty sure that the eagle was down in there somewhere, and they were still keeping their keen eyes on it. I walked back to the car, and returned home.

I went back out and sat in the field, watching over that way. I knew that if the eagle had made a catch, that it would take it about an hour to gorge, clean and preen itself, and that if I waited at least that long, I may see it come up once again, and ideally, soar over me for a photo. The more likely scenario though, would be that after the “eat lunch and tidy up” routine, the bird would simply go and sit in some lofty pine, and maybe not even move again during the same day. Or still, it may just drift off in some other direction that didn’t include one more pass over me. I never saw it again. Either way, I`m glad for what I did see of it! Strange perhaps, but I have seen very few Goldens in September, and don`t even recall the last time that I did. They tend to move through here in October, (latter half of the month for the most part), and early November. Some certainly winter here in the Kawarthas each year. Again in March and April, it`s not uncommon to spot the odd one on its spring migration.
Interesting too, is that it was an adult. Only about 1 in 10 that I see are in complete adult plumage. The only one I saw last winter however, (three times in the same area), was also an adult.

As the whole thing unfolded today, I had somewhat of a “deja vu” moment, as it was just the night before that I watched The Nature Of Things, and part of the program was footage of Golden Eagles hunting young mountain goats. Well, photos or no photos, I am much happier seeing it all in the real world, the natural world. (Better than TV.) Gives even more meaning to “outside the box”. In the 1980s and `90s, I worked for a commercial falconer, and for two decades I was also a raptor bander with the Toronto Bird Observatory. As exciting as all that was, seeing the trained hawks, eagles and falcons do “their thing”, and capturing and banding hundreds of wild birds of prey with TBO, it pales by comparison to the raw and “without human influence” experiences of days like today with the eagle, (and of two weeks ago with a similar witnessing of the normal, and daily life of a Peregrine).
Not to hype the rare, (just mentioned because they are recent), I do enjoy the moments with the “common” birds too, like watching an American Kestrel hold and devour a grasshopper while hovering on a stiff breeze, seeing a Merlin snatch a bat from the air when it`s so dark out that the first stars of evening are already visible, or crouching while a nearby Barred Owl walks a shallow creek digging out crayfish from beneath debris on the creek floor. It`s all good!!!

Barred Owl - Karl Egressy

Barred Owl – Karl Egressy

Tally for Sept. 17
Turkey Vulture – 32
Red-tailed Hawk – 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Merlin – 1
Golden Eagle – 1

Tim Dyson, Cordova Lake

Apr 132014
 
Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle 

  • – Reported Apr 13, 2014 12:25 by Iain Rayner
  • – Ptbo – Old Norwood Rd & Sweeney Ln, Peterborough, Ontario
  • Map:
  • Checklist:
  • – Comments: “Seen just ahead of car above trees as I came over a rise looking into sun initially with better looks as it moved to the north. After first thinking it was a red-tail and then thinking it was a big Rough legged hawk I realized it was an immature Golden Eagle. In the end there was no doubt. Large dark bird, broad black tail band on white and white flashes on base of secondaries (top and bottom). Changed direction and glided toward drumlin toward the north east where it proceed to start circling and climbing providing opportunity to photograph. Photos (see checklist) aren’t best but confirm ID.
Jan 152014
 
2nd year Bald (left) & 3rd year Golden. Note the long tail & small head of the Golden. Photo by Tim Dyson

A 2nd year Bald Eagle (left) & a 3rd year Golden Eagle. Note the longer tail & smaller head of the Golden. Photo by Tim Dyson

1. On March 12, 2013, circling fairly low about 2kms west of Cordova Mines, north of Marmora, was a first winter Golden Eagle. Joined shortly by two Bald Eagles, (one first, and one second winter bird), the trio ascended and left the area. I suspect they all may have been dining together nearby, prior to the sighting.

2. On April 17,  2013, in a slow glide flying north directly over Highway 28 just north of Haultain, was a near-adult Golden Eagle. The bird had one inner primary with considerable white showing, otherwise, looked to be in full adult dress. I would guess at the very least a third year bird, but most likely fourth or perhaps even older. (Sometimes one or two older first or second year flight feathers can hang on for years.)
Golden Eagle (left) & Common Raven  (Tim Dyson)

Golden Eagle (left) & Common Raven (Tim Dyson)

3. On November 2, 2013, soaring at about 100 metres above the earth, over the spot where the North River empties into the west side of Belmont Lake, Havelock/Belmont/Methuen, was a first winter Golden Eagle.The bird appeared shortly after the rain had stopped. It rose for a few minutes, before entering a shallow, though very fast stoop towards Round Lake to the west.

 

Nov 062013
 
Golden Eagle photographed at Petroglyph Provincial Park (Tim Dyson)

Golden Eagle photographed at Petroglyph Provincial Park (Tim Dyson)

Just this morning about 10:00 a.m. I saw an immature eagle (likely Golden) land on the road a couple hundred meters in front of me before taking off over a marsh to the south.  This was 3.2 km west of Flynn’s Corners (County Road 507) on County Road 36.  

Rick Stankiewicz, Keene