Jan 022016

This morning was very busy in my yard with my regular leucistic robin, 3 blue jays, a pair of cardinals, doves, chickadees, a white breasted nuthatch and goldfinches all feeding at the same time. I thought all of them had left when the Cooper’s hawk flew into the top of the ash tree at the back of my yard. It sat there for quite some time before I noticed the female cardinal was still in the crab apple tree. She was very aware that the hawk was there and stayed perfectly still in spite of the squirrels going into the tree to feed just a couple of feet away from her. This went on for over 1/2 an hour with neither bird  moving. I kept hoping the pigeons would arrive so she might get away. Finally I intervened. I know the hawk needs to eat but not the only cardinal that comes to my yard! I went out and walked out to the back and took a picture of the hawk before it flew off. Seconds later the cardinal was gone in a flash.

Cooper's Hawk on bird it had captured (Karl Egressy)

Cooper’s Hawk on prey  (Karl Egressy)

The leucistic robin (showing patches of white due to abnormal pigmentation) I mentioned has been here for months. It spends most of the day in the shelter of the big spruce beside the crab apple tree. Every so often it comes out of the spruce, eats a few crab apples or comes to the deck for water and then goes back into the spruce. Two days ago, a flock of at least 8 robins flew into the crab apple and started to feed. The leucistic bird came out and vigorously defended its food source. Within minutes the other robins left and it went back to the spruce. Shortly after the Cooper’s hawk came by and chased off 4 pigeons.

I also have a squirrel with a white tail end and a leucistic mourning dove with a white tail.

Sue Paradisis, Tudor Crescent, Peterborough

Leucistic American Robin (Alan Dextrase - April 12, 2013)

Leucistic American Robin (Alan Dextrase – April 12, 2013)

Sep 162014

On Sunday (Sept. 14), I witnessed a large southward movement of mostly Broad-winged Hawks over the Cordova Mines area, north of Havelock.  I counted 168 of them in one kettle (loose group of hawks soaring in a thermal). It always seems easiest to count them accurately when they glide from one thermal to the next, (unlike when they are actually soaring around in a thermal.)  I did see others during the day, as well, including 27 sailing between thermals over Stoney Lake.  In total, for the day, I had 216 Broad-wingss, as well as 5 Red-shouldered Hawks (one immature, and four adults), 2 Red-tailed Hawks, 7 Turkey Vultures and 1 Cooper’s Hawk.

The four adult Red-shouldereds make up the two closest breeding pairs, one pair which has its nest a little over 1km south of my house, and the other, a little less than 1km north of my house. They will actually stay on territory here until late October – early November. Our house seems to be roughly on the border of the two territories, and we see, (but more often hear) them, sometimes almost daily from March until they are gone south before the snow comes. Residents and migrants will both be seen on great soaring days in the fall, but you just have to learn to guess which are which based on experience with each species, timing of normal migrational movement for each species, and observing the daily routines and habits of local breeding hawks, if you are hoping to count migrants separately from resident birds.

Monday (Sept. 15) was also a good day, at least for variety. I had 24 Broad-wings, 19 Turkey Vultures, 3 Bald Eagles (two adults and one third year bird), 1 Red-tailed, 1 Cooper’s, 2 Sharp-shinned and 2 Merlin. I am now at 161 Monarchs for the year, and it appears that my two or three day dry spell for them is now over, as they seem out and about once again.

Tim Dyson, Cordova Mines

Broad-winged Hawk (Wikimedia)

Broad-winged Hawk (Wikimedia)

Sep 042014

When I left the house yesterday, (September 3rd), and headed out to work near Norwood and then on to Stoney Lake later, I had seen a total of 59 Monarchs during this 2014 season. When I returned home at dusk last night, that total had grown to 83, (including 7 observed as road kills). This total may well triple the number that I observed for the entire 2013 season, (which was 32 monarchs.)

So, as of yesterday, my expected estimate of 60 that I had predicted seeing this season was wrong, but I am happy to say that is was wrong on the PLUS side of things!! Now, 100 or more should not be out of the question, as there are still some weeks of monarch season to go.

I plan to film some of the raptor migration in the coming weeks, both inland, and along Lake Ontario, so Monarch sightings will surely jump during those times. In fact, in the past, the most monarchs I have seen in a single day have been while watching the autumn hawk movement. Cold front coming Friday night after hot, muggy and then thunderstorms, so Saturday should be fantastic for hawk watching, (and counting more Monarchs). I will keep you posted.

I still have my eye out for second brood Giant Swallowtails, but am still at 19, and have not seen one for nearly a week now.

Tim Dyson

Male Monarch

Male Monarch