On December 2, I observed two Short-eared Owls flying over the east end of the runway at the Peterborough Airport. I flushed the first bird from a ditch as I parked on a pull-off on the west side of Moncrief Line, about 200 metres south of Mervin Line. The pull off juts into marshy field. The owl flew west towards the runway. It was then joined by second bird. The long, wide wings, short tail, pale underside, and erratic, moth-like flight were very noticeable. One of the owls interacted several times with a female Northern Harrier. Both owls flew about to the west over the runway and grass, 100 – 150 m from where I was parked. They only perched very briefly. The birds are most active at dawn (7-7:35 am) and then again from about 3:30-4:30pm). This was the first time I’d ever seen this species in Peterborough County. They were still there as of December 5, with a possible third bird having joined them. This was species number 214 for the year in Peterborough County. Drew Monkman

Short-eared Owls at Peterborough Airport. Viewed from Moncrief Line

Sylvia and I saw two Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a male and a female, at the north-most Peterborough Field Naturalist feeder in Ecology Park at 11:30 this morning, December 6. They then flew off towards the campground. Jim Cashmore

The Eastern Bluebirds are back around the house, enjoying the sun this morning, December 11. A good sighting for the winter bird lists. Michael Gillespie, David Fife Line, Keene

Male Eastern Bluebird – Drew Monkman

I don’t know what’s so attractive about our suet feeder, but on December 17 I had a Red-bellied Woodpecker. I think it was a male, but I was so excited about trying to get a photo that I ended up scaring it off. It flew directly to the suet, so I would say it would not have been its first visit. A male Pileated Woodpecker paid us a visit a few days ago, too, which was the first visit after a two week absence. Jim Cashmore, Claudette Court, Peterborough

Male Red-bellied Woodpecker (Drew Monkman)

On December 29, at about 2:30 pm , I was walking along the Trans-Canada Trail about 3/4 of a mile west of Hastings , when I saw a Golden Eagle on the ice at Rice Lake. At first I thought it was a small dog , given its size , but when it rotated its tawny head , it made the confirmation possible . Although I have seen Bald Eagles here , this was definitely a Golden. Michael Gillespie, Keene

Golden Eagle (3rd winter bird) – Tim Dyson

I’m sending along a photo taken in Philipston, Massachusetts earlier in December of a Barred Owl that frequents this location regularly. It seems the owl’s “McDonalds” is the dilapidated drive shed beside the house. My friend passes this place regularly and got a picture with his phone. I love the indignant look on the owl! Gord Young, Peterborough

Barred Owl – Philipston, Massachusetts (Credit: Stephen Demboske, Royalston MA)

On December 14, we saw 30 plus Wild Turkeys passing across our gravelled turning circle, heading south into the wooded area.  They were making a lot of ‘noise’, sounds which I’ve never, ever heard.  Quite amazing. Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw  

Wild Turkeys out for a stroll near Warsaw – Peter Armstrong

Picked up these loonie-sized, baby Snapping Turtles on December 8 in Coe Hill. The finder was digging some sand for his driveway and noticed these 3 little ones on his shovel. He decided to send them to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre in Peterborough for the winter where he knew they’d be properly cared for. I drove up and got them. I have also signed up to be the “releasing taxi” when they are ready to be returned home in the spring. I hope they remember and call me. That release should be fun and easy as the pond is right next to the finder’s driveway. Would be fun to complete the circle! Lynda Gadd

N.B. It would appear that the turtles were going to overwinter in the sand. I had thought that only baby Painted Turtles do this, but maybe not! DM

Categories: Sightings

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.