Dec 082017

N.B. Whenever I refer to “home”, it is between Warsaw and Lakefield, south of the Sawer Creek Wetland.

Passerines and other birds and animals.

  • A Yellow-billed Cuckoo flew over my kayak as I began to paddle up the Indian River from Back Dam Park at Warsaw on September 9th. It called twice upon landing across the river.
  • This was the last date I saw the Great Egret that I had originally discovered there on August 5th.
  • Two Red Crossbills were also seen and heard a little way up the river on that day, and others were seen and/or heard several times over the course of the fall at Warsaw, at home, and spots around Stoney Lake, Northey’s Bay Road, and Nepthon. No real “flocks” as yet, but birds numbered from one to six individuals when encountered. Most recent were six at home on December 5th.
  • An American Pipit was skulking about in a pasture south of Long Lake, NW of Warsaw, on September 28th.
  • Pine Siskins have been occasional from early October to present. With the exception of 40+ birds seen near Warsaw on November 22nd, (and not unlike the crossbills that have been around), siskin numbers remain rather low.
  • On October 26th, at Nephton Ridge, I saw my last Monarch of the year. It was #532 for 2017, which is more than double my previous highest annual count since I began counting them seven years ago. Of the 532, 31 were observed as road fatalities.
  • Also on October 26th, I heard a Greater Yellowlegs call before dawn from the starry sky above at home, and another near Nephton Ridge later that morning.
  • One Tundra Swan with nine Canada Geese was seen flying overhead at home on October 27th, 28th and 30th. A lone Tundra Swan flew over the same location on November 2nd. I wondered if it was the one who had been flying with the nine geese?
  • On September 24th, I stepped out of dense cedars into a pasture and found myself very close to two Sandhill Cranes. They seemed at ease as long as I stayed in motion, just walking about as they were. Whenever I stopped or crouched, they moved away from me.

  • The loud calling of just over 300 Sandhill Cranes in two groups on Nov. 17th was heard as the birds were heading westward over my house. I photographed each entire flock at wide angle so I could later zoom the images on the computer and get an exact count. The first flock at 2:13pm numbered 173 birds and the second group four minutes later contained 128 for a combined total of 301 cranes. These birds were very likely the same, or associated with the large groups that Bill Buddle had reported at about 2:30pm the same day over Lakefield.

  • Ed Heuvel and I saw a much smaller flock of seven birds over his house between Cottesloe and Norwood on Nov. 23rd.
  • No doubt due to the warmth of early December, two Eastern Chipmunks were seen running across Round Lake Road north of Havelock on December 4th. They had all but disappeared not too long ago, and I’ve now seen five back out just this month.
  • Another warm weather sighting was of a Leopard Frog hopping across the yard at home on December 5th. I took some photos, and half an hour later, it was nowhere to be found.

  • On December 8th 2017, Ed Heuvel reported a road-killed Virginia Opossum he had just seen along Hwy 7 south of Sherbrooke Street.

   Raptors of interest

  • On September 11th, an immature Peregrine appeared amidst twenty-four kettling Turkey Vultures NW of Warsaw. The falcon harassed a couple of the vultures before peeling off on its own, heading SW.

  • As is my habit if I am out in the yard after dark during the fall or winter, I called for owls. From about the 24th of September until about the 3rd of November, Saw-whet Owls move about during their annual fall migration. The first that responded to my calls this year was a single bird on September 29th. On October 18th, however, no less than four of the little owls showed up inside of about a minute of my first attempt at calling. One was in the spruces to the east of the yard, while the other three were surrounding me, within the small grove of apple trees where I stood. With the three of them looking at each other more than at me, I found it easy to take some photos of the two that were closest to me, (about two metres away).
  • Dates later than the average “end date” of their normal migration that I have called one in this year have been November 8th, 12th, 27th and December 1st. These likely represent one or more wintering birds, and all have been at home near Warsaw.

  • Ed Heuvel flushed a Short-eared Owl from the ground on the morning of Oct. 17th on his 40 acre property NW of Norwood while out for a walk with his dog. Ed has turned what was once a sloping old field into a thriving tallgrass prairie, having seeded it with many native prairie plant species. I thought it quite fitting for such a bird to turn up in this “new” prairie grassland habitat. Good one, Ed!!
  • Paddling up the Indian River from Back Dam again on October 21st, Angela and I saw a few good raptors during our time on the water. First was an immature Northern Goshawk flying overhead, and then, about two minutes later, an immature Cooper’s Hawk following almost the exact same “path”. A while later, paddling back downstream, Angela spotted an adult male Merlin as it perched in the dead top branches of a spruce. Driving back through Warsaw, a Red-tailed Hawk soared low over the village. We headed up Payne’s Line towards home and spotted the first Golden Eagle of the season (a sub-adult bird) slowly soaring not far from the large metal tower there. We took a few photos and headed home. The next day, I saw another (immature this time) Golden Eagle fly over, east to west, from the yard at home.

  • I was accompanied by three friends, (Drew Monkman, Martin Parker, and Ed Heuvel) on Oct. 26th for a few hours of raptor watching in the Nephton Ridge/Kosh Lake area at the east end of County Road #6. My one intent for the day was to point out to Drew, his first “Ontario” Golden Eagle. Well, unless the “eagle sp.” we saw that morning was a Golden, we did not see one. However, we were treated to 8 Bald Eagles which, apart from one 4th winter bird, all were adults. At one point, four adult Balds soared together directly overhead. A while later, two adults came along together, and after that, another by itself. Since there was such a lack of immature eagles, and the fact that four adults had come from different directions, soared a while together, and then dispersed somewhat northward… we questioned how many of them might have actually even been migrants, or perhaps local breeding birds. Additional raptors for the day were five Red-tailed Hawks, and two (one adult and one immature) Red-shouldered Hawks.

  • Just after 11:00am on Nov. 11th a group of large birds caught my eye to the north of the house. On closer inspection, I could see three Common Ravens dive-bombing an immature Golden Eagle. I watched them for several minutes before the ravens went east and the eagle, west.

  • On October 29th a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk was seen perched in a tree along County Rd #6 just west of Camp Line. It was the first of the season for me, and since, I’ve seen another eight Rough-legs between Norwood and Lakefield. Of the nine seen so far, three have been dark morph birds.
  • Having had seen no immature Bald Eagles during the autumn season as yet, on the morning of Nov. 17th, two 1st winter birds, and then a 2nd winter bird appeared soaring over my yard in a ten-minute period. They all seemed to come from the west, and once a considerable altitude was reached, they each headed off in completely different directions. I suspect that they had all spent some time feeding together, and were now dispersing. It was only two days after the annual rifle deer hunt had ended, and I wondered if they had just dined on the gut pile of a deer left somewhere by hunters.
  • The great backyard birding continued on November 26th, as no sooner had I sat in the yard with my morning coffee, an immature Northern Goshawk flew from east to west. If that wasn’t enough, my fourth Golden Eagle of the season (an adult) appeared over the forest to the east, soared two circles, and headed back east just after noon.
  • Nov. 29th an adult rufous morph Red-tailed Hawk soared over the yard. I had to run in and get the scope as it looked not like a typical Red-tail. The rusty-red undersides and the dark brown back were easily seen with the optics. It had been a long time since I’ve seen this variety of the species.
  • On the night of December 01 – 02, after calling at home for Screech, Saw-whet, and Boreal Owls, (the latter, because you never know if you don’t try), I finally stirred an Eastern Screech Owl who called for quite a while afterwards. And briefly, a Northern Saw-whet Owl answered my calls with the “tew, tew, tew” call. About an hour later, just after mid-night, while bringing in some firewood, the pair of Northern Barred Owls that live on the property year-round, began calling with hoots which soon morphed into their monkey-like “whacka, whacka, whacka” calls. Not too bad for spending a little time in the yard after dark!!
  • Just after 2:00pm on December 6th, I saw a large, pale bird far out to the east, soaring in wide circles. It appeared gull-like as it moved quite fast in the strong winds. I got the scope on it just before it passed in behind the treetops and out of my view. Revealed by the scope was the darkish under-body contrasting with entirely white undersides of the wings of an immature Snowy Owl. Unless my memory is misfiring, this would be the first of this species I have seen this century. If that wasn’t enough stimulation for one day, a little over an hour later, I saw a second Snowy for the day as it flew into strong south winds at 3:15pm. The latter bird was decidedly whiter than the first, with very few dark markings. The first bird simply would not show up in the photos I took, (too far), and the camera was nowhere near me as I watched the second owl sail past much closer. Both were heading in a north-to-south direction, lending a little support to the idea that they might have been in migration at the time.
  • On December 7th while I still lay in bed, through the window next to me, I spotted a 1st winter Bald Eagle fly past over the trees to the east. It soared briefly and then continued on in a SE direction.
  • While moving the fallen foliage around with the leaf blower on December 8th at home, I looked up, (as I find I constantly am doing these days) and saw two large, dark birds very high almost straight above me. Before I was able to grab the scope, I could see that they were eagles. Once in focus, the white bases of tails and primaries with all other plumage completely dark, identified them both as 1st winter Golden Eagles. A strong and steady SW wind pushed them NW of me. They were only about ten wingspans (about 20 m) apart and one was just a little ahead of the other. They slowed briefly once or twice, but never paused to soar while I had them in view.

1st winter Golden Eagle – USFWS

Tim Dyson – Warsaw

Oct 232017


 October 28 – For the second time this week, a Cooper’s Hawk was in my yard today. I knew it was around because a couple of dozen Mourning Doves flew out of the spruce tree they roost in.  Sue Paradisis

Cooper’s Hawk on Rock Pigeon – Helen Nicolaides Keller


 Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) (2)
– Reported Oct 28, 2017 11:59 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “Dirtyish cheeks and neck, long bill”

Red-necked Grebe. The grebe in the lower right is in winter plumage. – Wikimedia

October 27 – I had four Red-shouldered Hawks here at home today, plus nine Red-tailed Hawks, and one  Sharp-shinned Hawk for my hours sitting out in between chopping wood. The Red-shouldered Hawks were three adults and one immature, and the Red-tailed Hawks were about half and half. The Sharp-shinned Hawk? Couldn’t tell – a bit too high. For a little while at least, it was hopping around the sky here!! No more Monarchs since #532 on October 26 at Nephton. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a November sighting, but if I am going to, I’ll bet it will be this year. This last week of October is certainly the best week of the year, not only to count Red-tailed Hawks and Golden Eagles, but also Red-shouldered Hawks, as well. I am glad to be getting out and looking up.  Tim Dyson, Warsaw

Red-shouldered Hawk – Karl Egressy


Monarch – Saw a Monarch today, October 26, on Nephton Ridge, near Petroglyph Provincial Park. Was gliding southward about 50′ above ground despite temperature around 8C!  Drew Monkman

Monarch Butterfly – Terry Carpenter

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Oct 27, 2017 07:50 by Scott Gibson
– Downtown – MNR Building, Peterborough, Ontario

Peregrine – often seen on MNR Bldg & sometimes clock tower in downtown Peterborough (Rick Stankiewicz)

Mallard: Here’s a photo of a leucistic (lacking normal pigment) Mallard photographed this summer near Whitaker Street, west of Armour Street North in Peterborough. The bird departed in early October. We nick-named the bird “Miss Vicky”!  Gord Young

Leucistic mallard – Whitaker Mills, Ptbo – summer 2017 – Gord Young

American Robin:  Watched a small flock today, October 23, feeding on abundant berry-like cones of Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginia) at Roper Park –  Drew Monkman

Robin feeding on E. Red Cedar berries at Roper Park 2017-10-23 – Drew Monkman

Berry-like cones of Eastern Red Cedar – Sept. 19, 2017 – PRHC – Drew Monkman










Carolina Wren:  Turned up at my feeder today, October 23.  Phil McKeating, Creekwood Drive, near Harper Park in Peterborough


Carolina Wren (Wikimedia)

Black Scoter (Melanitta americana) (2)
– Reported Oct 23, 2017 07:44 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “Female type. Black ducks with pale cheek”

Black Scoter – Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds – Wikimedia


Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 10:45 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “calling (‘crick’) from high in Red Pine then in flight W over beaver pond; W side entrance loop road around 250 m N of locked gate at CR 56.”

Black-backed Woodpecker – Wikimedia

Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 08:25 by Brian Wales
– Peterborough Landfill Wetland Project ponds, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “white goose with clear grinning patch along beak”

SNGO – Rice L. – Oct. 18, 2014 -Ron Mackay


Oct. 22 – Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 07:06 by Iain Rayner
– Ptbo – Yard – Bear Creek Rd, Peterborough, Ontario

Red Crossbill – male – Wikimedia

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
– 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
– 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