May 052017

Although it has been several weeks since hearing of any still around, Ed & Karen Heuvel reported to me a Great Gray Owl they had seen during the early evening on their property along the Ouse River between Cottesloe and Norwood on April 18,

2017. Ed says; “Huntng from a low snag, it seemed quite tame. After a while, it sailed across the road and came to land on another snag. In the dimming light, it’s white mustache marks were quite distinct.”

Stoney Lake and area

Broad-winged Hawks seemed to show some early arrival dates this year, with the first I know of seen on Stoney Lake on April 12th. They, Red-shouldered Hawks, Merlins, and Ospreys are quite abundant now in the area as they engage in their nesting activities for another year.

The first Whip-poor-will I heard this spring was one singing on the evening of April 24th near South Bay on Stoney Lake.

On April 29th, an Eastern Phoebe was sitting on a full clutch of five eggs in her nest atop a horizontal deck support beam at a friend’s cottage off of Northey’s Bay Road.

Stoney, Belmont, and Cordova Lake area

Northern Barred Owls are very vocal right now, day and night, and we are at the time of year when most of them will have young in the nest, (averaging about a week old). Typically, in this area, many lay their eggs about the 25th of March. Usually quiet throughout the incubation period, the males, especially, begin frequent hooting again towards the end of April. I wonder if that has anything to do with early social imprinting of their youngsters?

Tim Dyson

Barred Owl – March 23, 2017 – Sandy Lake – Susan

Whip-poor-will (Karl Egressy)

Great Gray Owl – Tim Dyson

Broad-winged Hawk – Wikimedia

Red-shouldered Hawk – Karl Egressy

Eastern Phoebe at nest – David Frank

Eastern Phoebe nest – June 7, 2004 – Tim Dyson

Mar 112017

Today ( 10 March 2017) at noon I observed a Merlin in a cedar at the Little Lake Cemetery. Of course, I did not have my camera. He was quite content to sit and let me wander around the base of the tree to get a closer look. On Sunday, March 5, I observed a mature Bald Eagle in flight over Healey Falls on the Trent River.

Carl Welbourn

Merlin – Dec. 30, 2016 – Omemee – Carl Welbourn

Jan 132017

I took a picture of this Red-tailed Hawk at Lock 25 on the Otonabee River on December 30. The Merlin was near Omemee.

Carl Welbourn
Kawartha Camera Club

Red-tailed Hawk – Dec. 30, 2016 – Carl Welbourn

Merlin – Dec. 30, 2016 – Omemee – Carl Welbourn

Sep 232016

Here are a couple of photos from this week. The Common Loon chick eating something was photographed on September 20 on the River Road, south of Lakefield.
The Merlin picture was taken September 16 at our club shoot in Millennium Park.

Carl Welbourne

Merlin- Sept-16-2016 Carl Welbourne

Merlin- Millenium Park – Sept-16-2016
Carl Welbourne

Common loon chick-sept-20-2016-carl-welbourne

Common Loon chick – Sept. 20 2016 – Carl Welbourne

Aug 312016

I live on the Otonabee River between locks 24 & 25, and saw a pair of what I believe were Merlins flying over our yard Wednesday evening, August 24. Both of them had the shape of small falcons. I got a good look only at the brownish one when it landed on a cedar tree, but the markings looked unmistakable (definitely not a kestrel).

This is a fabulous place to live. We’re on the end of the road, so we have the river, but also mixed forest across the river and overgrown fields on two sides, one of which also has wetland, so we get a wonderful variety of birds. We had an American Bittern gullunking all spring, as well as Bobolinks in the fields. Also regularly see a Northern Harrier and American Kestrels, sometimes Red-tailed Hawks… and now Merlins. We also have loons as well as a pair of Baltimore Orioles, who, judging by the number of fledglings, had two clutches this year. Oh, and Bald Eagles in the winter. Who could ask for anything more?

Annamarie Beckel
writer ~ editor ~ ecologist



Bobolink - Wikimedia

Bobolink – Wikimedia

Baltimore Oriole on hummingbird feeder - Doug Gibson

Baltimore Oriole on hummingbird feeder – Doug Gibson

American Bittern - by Don Pettypiece

American Bittern – by Don Pettypiece

Merlin (Karl Egressy)

Merlin (Karl Egressy)

Jul 212016

The nesting families of Merlins we’ve enjoyed at the Little Lake Cemetery has expanded with a nest we saw in spring seeming to be in the yard of a house near Little Lake (if not on Crescent Street, then Ware or a Lock Street backyard). Breeding was successful, but we could never tell how many were in the family. Until tonight (July 20). The two juveniles are getting flying and hunting lessons with lots of vocalizations as they zoom across Princess and Ware Street backyards and rooftops. Around 8 p.m., it gets busy and tonight we were treated to them resting in a backyard tree in various numbers until dinner came and they huddled together to share.

With some more comings and goings and the constant adjustments of one of the young ones who seems a bit clumsy, eventually all four settled in at dusk to enjoy the concert music wafting over from Del Crary Park. As fans of the Peregrine Falcons nesting in our former neighbourhood in downtown Toronto, we couldn’t be happier having these four in our front yard.

Pat Maitland,  Princess Street (east of Lock St.), Peterborough

Merlin (Karl Egressy)

Adult female Merlin (Karl Egressy)

Merlin family (1) - Pat Maitland

Merlin family (3) – Pat Maitland

Merlin family (2) - Pat Maitland

Merlin family (2) – Pat Maitland

Merlin family (3) - Pat Maitland

Merlin family (1) – Pat Maitland

Sep 122015

AUGUST 25:  “We  have four juvenile Merlins that we see and hear playing and squawking in our yard almost daily, albeit less in the last few days.  We even saw one of them flying briefly with a Bald Eagle. We live on Young’s Point Road, between Lakefield and Young’s Point.”

Jason and Heather Balcombe

Juvenile Merlin - Jason Balcombe - Young's Point Road

Juvenile Merlin – Jason Balcombe – Young’s Point Road

Jul 122015

We have a cottage on Kosh Lake (Kasshabog Lake).  We have been on the lake, on an island for the past 11 years.  Traditionally we have Common Ravens on our island. They nest here, raise their young and wake us up very early in the morning.

This spring we witnessed a bit of a battle over the pine trees. We were not sure what type of bird would attack a raven’s nest but attack this bird did. There was a long fight with the raven’s eventually sitting in a nearby pine tree while we watched the attack bird flying around the nest.

Merlin in East City of Peterborough - Marlene Stamler

Merlin in East City of Peterborough – Marlene Stamler

We have heard this bird over the course of the spring, a high pitch “ki, ki, ki, ki” both while in flight and in the trees but until this weekend have been hard pressed to see it close up. This weekend we finally saw it closer, enough to see its tail feathers in flight. Gathering our binoculars we saw it in a tree and watched as it picked away at a bird it had caught.  Our bird book, and searching the internet, has led us to the conclusion that we have nesting Merlins on our little island.

Is this unusual? Will they be here for the rest of the season or will we possibly see them back next year?  Our ravens are gone, but we do hope they come back. They were good company and our little birds, usually around, have also decreased in numbers.

Shirley Bell

N.B. Merlins are now quite common throughout the Kawarthas. They even nest in the City of Peterborough. I suspect they will be back to your island next year, but I think the ravens should be able to stand their ground to them, being quite a bit larger. The return of Merlins to the Kawarthas is actually a good news story, because these birds were almost wiped out by DDT in the 60’s and 70’s.

Merlin (Karl Egressy)

Merlin (Karl Egressy)

Merlin - Mike Faught - April 9, 2015 - Ptbo

Merlin – Mike Faught – April 9, 2015 – Ptbo



Jul 212014

The Merlins around our home and neighbours, on lower Chemong Lake, are at their peak for loud calls – almost too much! So far there appear to be two adults and two juveniles flying around. They are decimating the local small bird population! Click here for some photos of one of the Merlins from a few days ago – not the best quality but they are my first for this bird:

Don McLeod, Chemong Lake

Merlin (Karl Egressy)

Merlin (Karl Egressy)