Dec 182017


Bald Eagle:  We live on the Sixth Line of Selwyn (right behind Paris Marine). I spotted this adult Bald eagle in the tree beside our house on Monday, December 18. Hope you enjoy it. Heather Turner

BAEA – Dec. 18, 2017 – Paris Marine, Selwyn Twsp – Heather Turner









Red-winged Blackbirds:  My “ long overdue to leave”, so-called friends. They sometimes number over 30! (Dec. 23, 2017) Michael Gillespie, David Fife Line, Keene

Red-winged Blackbirds – Dec. 23, 2017 – Fife Line _ Michael Gillespie


This morning, there was a pair of Red-winged Blackbirds at my bird feeder. I live just east of Westwood, between Keene and Hastings, and have never noticed red-winged blackbirds here at this time of year before. Is this the new normal? Debbie Lynch, Westwood

N.B.  Not the new normal, but more than usual this winter. Most years at this time there are a few reported, but usually less than five. They may be part of the same flock that has shown up on Fife Line. D.M.

RWBLs – Dec. 23, 2017 – Debbie Lynch

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) (1)
– Reported Dec 22, 2017 10:00 by Dave Milsom
– 1093 Scollard Drive, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map:,-78.3001087&ll=44.3412121,-78.3001087
– Checklist:
– Comments: “female made very brief visit this morning”

Note: Also seen December 24.

Ring-necked Pheasant – female -Wikimedia








Common Ravens: On December 22, at 250 Lindsay Road, between Craftworks and Pawz-N-Train, I saw 30 ravens circling above the silo on a barn. David Beaucage-Johnson

Common Raven – Wikimedia










Carolina Wren (Northern) (Thryothorus ludovicianus [ludovicianus Group]) (1)
– Reported Dec 20, 2017 13:11 by Matthew Tobey
– Matthew’s Backyard, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “Visited feeder for a brief period; flew off before I could get a decent record shot.”

Carolina Wren (Wikimedia)







Sharp-shinned Hawk: I’m quite distraught, because a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew straight into one of our windows on December 16. Had a quick demise. This happened close to the bird feeder, which was well populated at the time.  Jill Stocker, Millbrook

Sharp-shinned Hawk – window collision – Millbrook – Dec. 16, 2017 – Jill Stocker











Woodpeckers and a shrike: I had a Red-bellied Woodpecker (male) at the suet feeder and sunflower feeder yesterday and today (Dec. 17, 18). Pretty exciting -and hard to miss. It seems like all the woodpeckers – Pileated, Hairy and Downy – have been pretty active the past few days. On Dec. 21, I also had a visit from a Northern Shrike! Annamarie Beckel, Lakefield

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Lynde Creek, Whitby- Photo by Brian Crangle









Opossums and Robins: We have had visitation since late summer of a pair of Opossums….rather unusual creatures…. rather comical the way they walk and run off when you talk to them….we haven’t had problem with raccoons since they came and they don’t seem to bother our rabbits that come all year for a date wrapped in whole wheat bread…… some of my most loveable friends have been the robins we have. One we call Robbie Robin… he picked up on the feeding of rabbits in early spring and took a taste for the dates they were getting from us, so he now perches on the rail outside the patio doors, waiting for the next treat… this also lead to grapes, raisins and apples … he would come maybe 6 times a day …if we didn’t go out he started coming to the patio doors and looking in… this has been going on for 3 years……he is different than the other robins in that he has some feathers that seem to be sticking out on one side of his body…. just a few of my memories for spring, summer and fall and winter… we have the Opossum still and our lovely rabbits….. we are located on the north side of Rice Lake in the Bailieboro area on the lake……. we also have an otter and a beaver that eats cedar hedges!  Esther Ross

Opossum on Johnston Drive, south of Peterborough – Mary Beth Aspinall – Feb. 2014












Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) (2)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 10:13 by Scott Gibson
– aa_Peterborough – Edmison Rd right-of-way, Peterborough, Ontario
– Media: 2 Photos
– Comments: “first birds of the day! both in same spot, 200m in from end of Edmison Rd.”

Fox Sparrow – Wikimedia








Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis) (1)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 10:00 by Scott McKinlay
– Peterborough, Ontario, CA (44.225, -78.293), Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “I saw this bird through my Kowa scope from considerable distance (1km?) as it was flying over an open field in full sunlight . It had broad wings and slow arching wing beats typial of large herons and cranes, and it was clearly brown in colour, even at that distance. I was reluctant to call it because of the distance and time of year, but nothing else fit. This was during our Peterborough Christmas bird count and when I reunited with the rest of the group for our sector, who had been surveying the area in the direction of my sighting, the first thing they said, before hearing about my sighting, was that they had seen what looked like a sandhill crane. They described it as being the size of a blue heron, with an outstretched neck and long trailing legs. All three birders were adamant that it was not a blue heron, and that it was lighter in colour than a blue heron. They had viewed it while it was flying low over fields just ahead and of and to the side of the car they were travelling in. They followed it and then got out of the car to watch it in binoculars as it continued to fly in my general direction. There are no photos.”

Sandhill Crane (Wikimedia)

Great Blue Heron (Paul Anderson)











Eastern Screech-Owl (Northern) (Megascops asio [asio Group]) (1)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 07:50 by Matthew Tobey
– Peterborough CBC Area 7, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “Mervin Ln.”

Eastern Screech-owl – red phase – 9th Line of Selwyn Twsp – March 11, 2017, Kathy McCue








Northern Shrike (Lanius borealis) (2)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 08:30 by Scott McKinlay
– Bensfort Road Landfill Site, Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist:

Northern Shrike (Lanius borealis) (1)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 10:13 by Scott Gibson
– aa_Peterborough – Edmison Rd right-of-way, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “middle of marsh”

Northern Shrike – Tom Northey








Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) (1)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 07:36 by Luke Berg
– Peterborough CBC Area 2, Peterborough, Ontario

Snow Bunting (from Crossley ID Guide)

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.


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

May 032017

We were at the Ecology Park on the morning of April 23 and saw this male Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Hallelujah for the return of spring!  Helen and Larry Keller, Mark Street

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Ecology Park – April 23, 2017 – Helen & Larry Keller









We have had a little Chipping Sparrow flying up against our windows over the last 3 days. It sits on the window sills and sliding door frames looking in and sometimes flies at the windows. We would love to know what might be causing this weird behaviour. We’ve also had a male Hairy Woodpecker coming to our feeder. Wendy Marrs, Peterborough

Chipping Sparrow at window – Wendy Marrs

Hairy Woodpecker – Wendy Marrs

 Note: The bird see its reflection in the window, assumes it’s another male in its territoy, and flies up against the window to drive the intruder (its reflection) away. Robins and cardinals often do the same thing. D.M




On April 14th we were sitting on our dock and our neighbour saw a big bird flying to a tree.  We got our spotting scope out and found that there were two Great Blue Herons in a nest in a clump of five pine trees. Later, we discovered that there are actually three nests! Even though we see lots of herons, it is the first time we actually found a nest.  Rosemary and Claudio Rosada, Lower Buckhorn Lake

Great Blue Heron (Paul Anderson)











I was so excited to see a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the brushy trees near our house this morning (April 13) -just classic and unmistakable. It had a white eye ring and white wing bars, and he even showed a bit of red on the crown just to be sure!  Jane Bremner, Warsaw

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet has a prominent eye ring. (Karl Egressy)











Got some great pictures of Ring-necked Ducks and Trumpeter Swans around Lakefield on April 11. Jeff Keller

Ring-necked Ducks – April 11, 2017 – Jeff Keller

Trumpeter Swans – April 11, 2017 – Jeff Keller








Mid-April is my favourite time to be on the island. Silence and not a light to be seen. Today the River Otters were out in force. Running, sliding and feasting on fish.The highlight was a flyby of three swans (Trumpeters?) that were in the duckpond.  Life is good!  Rob Welsh, Stony Lake

River otter eating a fish at Gannon’s Narrows, Buckhorn Lake (by Kinsley Hubbs)



Stony Lake – April 10, 2017 – Rob Welsh











On April 4, there were 2 Osprey on the nesting platform in Young’s Point. Most of Stony Lake is still frozen but there were pair of absolutely resplendent loons dancing and calling.  Rob Welsh, Stony Lake

Common Loon (Karl Egressy)

































































May 052016

May 5 – Mike Barker had a White-crowned Sparrow at his feeder on Algonquin Blvd in Peterborough.

May 4 – Marie Windover had a Whip-poor-will calling from 8:30 to 9:00 PM near her home on County Road 507. She also has a pair of Sandhill Cranes that appear to be nesting in a field across from her parents’ house in the same area.

May 2 – Janet Duval, who lives on Deer Bary Reach on the north side of Lower Buckhorn, sent me a picture of six River Otters on her neighbour’s dock (Jim Franklin). Apparently there are 10 in total. He confirms that they are “busy as beavers”.  See photo below.

May 1 – John Fautley saw a Caspian Tern on a rock in the Otonabee River, across from Peterborough Manor.

April 28 – Gwen Forsyth had two swans (Trumpeters, she believes) in the pond at the corner of Television Road and Hwy 7 east.  No tags were apparent on either bird.

Trumpeter Swans - Gwen Forsyth

Trumpeter Swans on Television Road Pond – April 27, 2016 – Gwen Forsyth

Whip-poor-will 1 (Karl Egressy)

Whip-poor-will 1 (Karl Egressy)

White-crowned Sparrow - Mike Barker

White-crowned Sparrow – May 5, 2016 – Mike Barker

Trumpeter Swan - Gwen Forsyth

Trumpeter Swan – April 27, 2016 – Gwen Forsyth

Caspian Tern - Karl Egressy

Caspian Tern – Karl Egressy

Otters on Franklin dock on Lower Buckhorn Lake - April 27, 2016 (photo by Jim Franklin)

Otters on Franklin dock on Lower Buckhorn Lake – April 27, 2016 (photo by Jim Franklin)