Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Soon

The mornings are increasingly filled with birdsong: the clear whistled "Spring Soon" of Black-capped Chickadees, the rattling trills of Dark-eyed Juncos, and the deep slow notes of Mourning Doves. Blackbirds, Killdeer and Turkey Vultures are increasingly expected sights while out and about.

Things should start changing pretty fast now. Before spring fully arrives, here are a last few wintery highlights.

Earlier in February, I came across the largest mass of ducks I've ever seen in Mississauga. Species diversity was very low, but the spectacle of thousands of birds, which this picture is only a fraction of, is always very impressive.

Like last winter, the deep freeze this winter forced a variety of ducks to inland waterways. I thought this was an interesting angle to compare Red-breasted (top) and Common Merganser males. Red-breasted Mergansers are not usually found inland except on the largest lakes.

I rarely see Snow Buntings well, so I was glad to get good views of a large flock north of Waterloo. 
 My recent highlight was this gorgeous male Mallard x Northern Pintail hybrid, a first for me. I've also seen Mallard x Gadwall and Mallard x Wigeon hybrids, plus the common Mallard x American Black Duck hybrids.

 Another amazing Snowy Owl winter is coming to a close. I've really enjoyed the 50+ snowies I've seen in the last two years. It's quite unlikely that there will be many around next winter, but I can always hope!