Aug 292017
 

Now’s the time to be looking for migrating Common Nighthawks. The best time to see flocks is late afternoon and evening. They feed as they fly and are often seen over water. In my experience, they often turn up after a rain event.

Here are some recent sightings from Tim Dyson who lives in the Warsaw area. As of August 16, he has seen a total of 549 of these birds. Most were seen over the Indian River near/at Back Dam Park on Rock Road.

1.On the evening of August 16, I saw 41 Common Nighthawks over the Indian River just north of Warsaw. I watched for 30 minutes, just after the sun had set. They were moving along southward in groups averaging about five per group.

2. August 18th between 6:24pm and 6:27 pm, no less than 98 Common Nighthawks passed overhead where I am just n/w of Warsaw. Through a curtain of moderate rainfall, they were heading roughly s/w at average nighthawk height (100+ meters from the ground). Not really darting here and there much as is typical of them, but seemingly more intent on the direction they headed and the altitude they were keeping. Appearing as three loosely-connected bunches, it was difficult to count them at times, therefore I am glad they weren’t in whirling masses as is sometimes the case. They stretched to the eastern and western horizon, and despite my frantic searching, I could not bring the total to an even hundred birds or more. Although I have lived in a fair number of locations in the county over the past 25 years from Belmont Lake, Rice Lake, Buckhorn, and Nephton and places in between, interestingly, the Warsaw area has always yielded the highest numbers for migrating nighthawks in my experience, both now, and in the early-to-mid 1990s).

3. August 19th I got home to Warsaw just before dark in time to notice only 2 nighthawks flying past from east to west. I waited around another ten minutes or so, but saw no more.

4. On the morning of August 20th, (the date I’ve always considered to be average for observing large numbers of the species), 14 nighthawks just appeared to the north, gathered, (and very much like migrating Broad-winged Hawks will about four weeks from now), they “kettled” in a thermal and rode it straight up and out of my sight. This happened at 10:30am, it is sunny, humid, and 24 degrees outside. I find this far more bizarre than seeing more than one hundred nighthawks during an evening observation. That’s pretty normal. But a small kettle of them before noon… that’s just plain odd for me!

5. On the evening of August 20, despite hoping for a bumper crop of nighthawks to pass overhead on what is often “the peak date”, I only saw six of them from my favorite viewing spot and they were all observed at 6:45pm.

6. On August 21, I set up to watch for nighthawks just after 6:00pm, and none appeared in the sky until 6:50pm when 17 came into view just above the treetops heading roughly southward. Just as suddenly as they had appeared, I found myself staring at an empty sky once again. Yes, there were lulls in the passage of them, but before I went inside at 8:35pm. I had seen 65 for the night. Interesting this evening was the number of swallows, (however, I did not count them). Although most were quite high up,
some that were close enough to me to see well, seemed to be Bank Swallows. After a brief period of no visible nighthawks, they began to fly past again in small numbers and I found myself having to differentiate between them and the swallows as their flight style is somewhat similar, and their altitudes were variable. At about 7:25pm, one of the larger birds appeared to drop on a near 90 degree angle and slam right into one of the swallows! (Raptor experienced or not, my first thought was “That nighthawk is some kind of idiot!”) But as the two connected, there was a little puff of feathers and they never parted. “Of course! Duh!” I thought, as the Merlin that had just snatched a swallow veered to come almost directly overhead carrying it’s late-evening dinner. (see photo) As the landscape darkened by 8:30pm, two large bats began doing their rounds
over the former horse paddock, as a deer walked out for some evening grazing. He had a full crown of fuzzy antlers, and was unconcerned as he fed with his back to me only 20 meters away. A Gallium Sphinx visited some of the various flowers in the gardens around the house. I think I’ll sit out tomorrow night, too.

7. On August 22, between 7:30 and 8:30pm, Drew, my friend Angela, and I counted 33 nighthawks over Back Dam Park on Rock Road. They were flying south in groups of 2-7, with a few single birds. A few foraged as they flew, but most were making a beeline south. The wind was from the west and there had been heavy showers over much of the afternoon and into the early evening. The sky had cleared by the time we started watching for nighthawks. We also saw a Great Egret.

8. On August 23, Angela and I put the kayaks in at Back Dam Park at about 7:20pm. Paddled north almost to the power line, and turned around at 7:50pm and headed back. Five minutes later, the first nighthawk of the evening flew along the western
shore of the river and was actively feeding. About ten minutes later, there was the first good pulse totaling seven birds. Over the next twenty minutes others in small groups and singles appeared from the north and north-east. After a short lull, three more came along to wrap up the night’s total at 22 birds. Other things of interest were three River Otters (very curious, coming back out of vegetation to squeak and squeal at us), and a lovely waxing crescent moon.

9. Despite sitting out at home for nearly two hours on the 26th of August, no more than 9 nighthawks were seen – three as singles and three groups of two each.

10.

On the evening of the 24th I was visiting someone at PRHC, and despite spending twenty minutes outside the hospital and another twenty minute
drive back to Warsaw during the magic hour, not a single nighthawk was seen.
The 25th, however, was a little better. Putting in the kayaks at the Back Dam near Warsaw with friends Angela and Lori, we began a northward paddle up the Indian River at about 6:30pm. Looking behind for some reason, I spotted the first group of nighthawks at 6:55pm. There were initially four that caught my eye, and then over the next seven or eight minutes, a total of 55 of them passed overhead.
Strange thing, was that they were all heading north!
Also interesting, was that they were very high as they came into view, and were gliding on set wings that rarely flapped. They were making a gradual decent.
I have seen this behavior in migrating raptors (Broad-winged Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, and Turkey Vultures) that often travel in groupings. In the case of the raptors, it is often a large low pressure area that they have come upon, and almost always, rain ensues shortly afterwards. The hours prior were usually filled with sunny skies and rising warm air, but when they come to that change in the sky with rain to follow, they will often stream for several minutes as they descend to either hunt, sleep, and/or wait out the weather.
I am wondering if these nighthawks had already put some good miles behind them this evening and were just descending into a traditionally good feeding area, or just to feed at all. The weather did not (and was not forecast to) change for the night, but perhaps they only needed to feed for a while. Direction of flight while descending out of a migration stint doesn’t seem to matter to the hawks and vultures coming down to avoid poor weather, so should it matter to hungry nighthawks? I would guess it does not.
Nighthawks returned to view coming in lower from the east and continuing westward out of sight. Groups numbering 9, 7, 4, and 18. As we headed back around the last bend, we could see another 12 actively hunting quite low over the little dam and playground area where we were parked. They hunted there for nearly fifteen minutes before they all gradually
seemed to head out higher and over the trees towards the south west. Once I had the boats loaded, I turned to take a last evening look at the water, and one more nighthawk appeared, (as it seemed to nearly hit me in the face
as it whipped in fast and low!)  So, that would make 106 for the night. I’m no longer too disappointed having not seen any the night before.

10. On August 27, traveling from home (3kms north and west of Warsaw) for an evening paddle on the Indian River, Angela and I counted 22 nighthawks from the moving vehicle as they zipped their way southward at 6:35pm. Paddling up the river from the Back Dam on Rock Road we saw nighthawks in waves streaming from north to south and of course there were the usual lulls. After one hour, our total for the night had risen to 54 nighthawks, when at 7:35 the sky to the north was suddenly full of them!! Our total rapidly grew to 96 nighthawks as 42 more made up the count for this bunch. Before the evening count was over when we returned to our launch place at 8:25pm, we had seen 147 nighthawks for this 27th of August 2017.
That brings my season total (since August 16th) to 549.

 

Common Nighthawk – Wikimedia

Nighhawks over Buckhorn Lake – Aug. 15, 2016 – David Beaucage Johnson

Nighthawk on left, and Merlin carrying swallow on right – Warsaw – Aug. 21, 2017 – Tim Dyson

Aug 162017
 

I spotted a Great Egret in a pond on Fisher Drive in Peterborough on August 14. The pond is sort of tucked in behind the last factory on Fisher as you approach Brealey Drive.  Also the Red-headed Woodpecker still makes regular stops at our feeder throughout the day.

Marina Kosichek, Fraserville

Great Egret – Karl Egressy

Aug 092017
 

On August 5, 2017 at about noon, there was a Great Egret flying north up the Indian River just north of “The Back Dam” just upstream from Warsaw. As I paddled towards where it had suddenly spiraled downward behind some trees, I finally noticed it perched on someone’s dock. Shortly thereafter, it flew steeply upward and over the trees towards the east. Paddling from Warsaw all the way up to where the river comes out of the ground at Warsaw Caves the next day, did not produce a second sighting of this bird for me.

 

Great Egret – Warsaw – Tim Dyson – August 5th 2017

 

 

 

 

Great Egret (Ardea alba) (1)
– Reported Aug 08, 2017 08:30 by Glen Spurrell
– Millbrook, Ontario, CA, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 2 Photos
– Comments: “seen by several people on millpond; it was seen roosting a tree, flying, wading and hunting”

May 112017
 

I want to report a sighting of a Great Egret on May 10 southwest of Kirkfield. I believe the bird may be uncommon in this area.

Sue Mcintosh

Great Egret – Kirkfield – May 10, 2017 – Sue Mcintosh

 

Sep 072016
 

On the morning of the 29th of August, I saw a Great Egret at a farmer’s pond on Bensfort Road, a little north of the Bensfort Landfill north of County Road #2.

Brenda Dyson

Great Egret 2 - Carl Welbourn  - Television Road - August 28, 2016

Great Egret 2 – Carl Welbourn – Television Road – August 28, 2016

Aug 292016
 
11 Great Egrets at Briar Hill B.S. August 28, 2016 - Luke Berg

11 Great Egrets at Briar Hill B.S. August 28, 2016 – Luke Berg

Great Egret (American) (Ardea alba egretta) (11)
– Reported Aug 27, 2016 16:35 by Matthew Tobey
– Briar Hill Bird Sanctuary, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “At least 11 birds present. Could have been more but it was very hard to see over the grass.”

Great Egret (Ardea alba) (1)
– Reported Aug 28, 2016 16:10 by Scott Gibson
– Peterborough-Television Road Pond, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “observed as I was driving by. large white heron standing alone on stump in middle of pond. been reported here few times in past couple weeks.”

Great Egret - Carl Welbourn - Television Road, August 28, 2016

Great Egret – Carl Welbourn – Television Road, August 28, 2016

Great Egret 2 - Carl Welbourn  - Television Road - August 28, 2016

Great Egret 2 – Carl Welbourn – Television Road – August 28, 2016

 

Great Egret (Karl Egressy)

Great Egret (Karl Egressy)

Aug 072015
 

This evening, a Great Egret flew over our house on Algonquin Boulevard near the zoo. It was heading north up the Otonabee. Having a beer on the deck and looked up at the right time !

Mike Barker

Great Egrets south of zoo (Michele Hemery)

Great Egrets south of zoo (Michele Hemery)

Apr 272015
 

Gadwall (Anas strepera) (2)
– Reported Apr 26, 2015 08:30 by Iain Rayner
– Lakefield–Sewage Lagoons, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Continuing male and female. Seen well through scope.”

Great Egret (Ardea alba) (1) CONFIRMED
– Reported Apr 26, 2015 18:11 by Janet Kelly

Black-backed Woodpecker - Wikimedia

Black-backed Woodpecker – Wikimedia

– Base Line at Pine Crest Golf Course, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “in creek at back of field on N side of road
large white egret, black legs
flew to NE before good photo could be taken

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) (2) CONFIRMED
– Reported Apr 25, 2015 14:11 by Janet Kelly
– Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Pair – foraging on White Pine – male initially observed and female flew in shortly after
44.6042, -78.04097

Gadwall - a rare duck in winter in the Kawarthas - Wikimedia

Gadwall – Wikimedia

Great Egret - Karl Egressy

Great Egret – Karl Egressy

 

Aug 272014
 

Great Egret (American) (Ardea alba) (1)
– Reported Aug 26, 2014 17:20 by Walter Wehtje
– Peterborough – Trent Severn south of Trent Campus, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Feeding at edge of cattails along east side of lake and across from the Peterborough Country Club. Large white heron with a distinctly yellow bill. Most likely same bird as found by Don Sutherland the previous Sunday.”

Great Egrets south of zoo (Michele Hemery)

Great Egrets  (Michele Hemery)

 

Aug 252014
 

Great Egret (Ardea alba) (1)
– Reported Aug 24, 2014 08:14 by Donald Sutherland
– Peterborough–Trent Rotary Rail Trail, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “perched atop cedar tree on west bank of river just N Champlain College, Trent University at around 0815 h. Through 10X40 binoculars could clearly see blue patagial tag on wing but from 200 m distance could not make out digits. Photographed with iPhone. Bird gone upon return at around 0845 h.”

Great Egret - Karl Egressy

Great Egret – Karl Egressy