Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Snowy Spectacular

As most of this blog's readers likely already know, this winter is turning out to be phenomenal from Snowy Owls in Southern Ontario. An excellent breeding season in Northern Quebec seems to be the explanation (see this post from a Newfoundland birder).

Over the past weekend, I was able to see a total of 11 Snowy Owls across Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Grimsby and St. Catharine's.

I love their feet (St. Catharine's)

Same bird taking off while facing backwards!

Another bird from the same field in St. Catharine's (out of a total of 3!)

Bronte Harbour, Oakville

It was a special weekend for another reason too. Back in summer 2010 I participated in the Young Ornithologist's Workshop at Bird Studies Canada. This weekend things worked out that 5 of the 6 participants could meet up again for some birding: Emma Cushnie, Mark Dorriesfield, Muhammad Zwink, Shyloh Van Delft and I.

We had a great time, finding 25 species of waterfowl including a female King Eider, 8 species of gull including a first-winter Thayer's at Niagara Falls, and a Short-eared Owl flying around at dusk. This was all overshadowed by the number of Snowy Owls around!

Probably my favourite duck, Canvasback on the upper Niagara River (with Greater Scaup)

"Jabba the Squirrel"

These two ducks are wintering in the same Mallard flock in Mississauga. The first is obviously an American Black Duck x Mallard hybrid, but the second doesn't seem to show any Black Duck features, and I'm wondering whether it is an "intersex" mallard (an older female that is developing male plumage features). Any input would be welcome, I'm planning to do a bit more research into this at some point.

1 comment:

  1. It was an awesome weekend!! Thanks for everything. Great shots of the Snowy - love the one of it taking off.