Friday, April 15, 2016

Recent Birds

As winter turns to spring some of our first birds to start nesting our the owls. Great Horned Owls are usually the very first bird to lay eggs. This owl was incubating on a windy day.

This Eastern Screech Owl was photographed before the nesting season, but they will use tree cavities like this to nest.

My local Long-eared Owl is lingering very late. I've never seen one linger into April before. If you look closely, the owl is holding a dead chickadee in its talons.

We accidentally flushed this Short-eared Owl from the edge of a sewage lagoon in the middle of the day. It landed on a nearby fencepost and we were able to get great views, although it was a bit too far for photos.

My highlight recently was this Western Grebe that I found at the mouth of the Credit River in Mississauga. This is a pretty rare bird, with an average of maybe one record a year for Ontario recently. A lot of people got to see this bird as it stuck around for a couple of weeks.

Unlike some previous Western Grebe records, this bird did not associate with Red-necked Grebes. Many thousands of Red-necked Grebes stage in western Lake Ontario, and a few stay to breed in marinas and sheltered bays. Floating tires are put out for them at several locations.

Turkey Vultures nest in odd places like caves and sheltered ares in human structures. This was one of a pair that seemed to be staking out this old barn.

Migrant songbirds are finally starting to arrive in numbers. Today I had my first Pine Warbler of the year. Many birders find this to be a fairly rare bird at migrant traps like Pelee and Rondeau, but it is actually just a very early migrant that is mostly gone before the other warblers arrive in early May.

Sparrow diversity is at about its highest level of the spring right now. I had eleven species today around Rondeau, including several Vespers.


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