Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The bedbug summit is happening in Toronto today

Another day at work. Some general observations from the last few days:

American Goldfinch are really on the move, along with expected migrations of Blue Jays and Flickers etc.

Purple Finch are also passing through in numbers....

Some flocks of goldfinch are holding very low numbers of Pine Siskins...

Common Ravens do some dispersal/migration this time of year.

First large kettles of migrant Turkey Vultures...


Next 4-5 days have lots of north winds forecasted! Friday through Sunday could be the large push of Turkey Vulture migration in Ontario, which is also a great time to look for Swainson's Hawk.. I don't think I'll have a chance to look, but you could! Head to Seacliff near Point Pelee!!!

- Arctic gull migration has started as well.  I had my first "Northern" Juvenile Herring Gull at Port Burwell on the weekend. It's not too early for Thayer's Gull!


Cackling Geese from yesterday:

Click to enlarge

Can you spot the Cackling Geese? (two classic adult "richardson's") If you'd like to find this species in Ontario, I wrote this article to try and help:


Anyone think this style of blog is better than the old? Worse? Anyone want to leave a comment below?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Good day

Curve-billed Thrasher in Manitoba... Would be new for Ontario.. Thunder Cape anyone?


Black-backed Woodpecker in Ohio... (A.Wormington)- apparently they're on the move early in Northern ON, along with Boreal Chickadee... Could this be the movement year we've all been waiting for?


Doesn't this weather look great? The next few days could be great. I'm also keeping my eyes peeled for some serious migration this weekend after cold nights (and north winds).. Here's something from today:

from today.. Isn't that a thing of beauty? Direct cause of the VWB Laughing Gull? Who knows? Could be...


Had a decent day today! First Cackling Geese of the fall. Multiple "3 falcon day" was nice. Moorhen, BB Plovers, really large numbers of migrant ducks.. Things are quackin

pics of the CACG's to come in the future.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Keep an eye on this weather

Why listen to me, when you can read this gem from environment Canada:

A juicy low pressure system laden with tropical moisture is heading towards Eastern Ontario from the southeastern states. It will bring a large shield of rain and perhaps even a thunderstorm or two tonight and Tuesday. Current indications suggest a general rainfall of 40 to 50 mm across the district before rain tapers off to scattered showers by Tuesday evening. Higher amounts of 50 to 60 mm are quite possible in a few locales which receive persistent heavier rain bands or a thunderstorm. 

Strange storm coming from a strange location (SE States)... Could blow something southern in, but could also ground high arctic migrants (White-rump Sands, Plovers, Godwits, Jaegers). 

Another thing to remember is, there is a large number of disorientated Terns and Skimmers on the east coast from the NS Hurricane. The winds on the coast aren't horribly strong, but could it be enough to get one of these "lost" birds inland? Maybe? Your odds of finding a Skimmer in ON have gone from 0.3% to 3.3%.. That's a 1000% increase! 

But even then, the centre of low pressure is forecast to pass right over the Hamilton area. All air blows into the centre of the low, possibly bringing a rarity from any direction! 

Something to keep an eye out for, at the very least. Maybe a good few days to check your local spot, just in case. 

Low pressure for everyone! yay!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pelagic year-count and Google

Well I found out today that google listed my site as dangerous, thanks to my on-going problems... Woo! I think I know how to fix it, but it might take a few days.


Since I didn't get out birding today.. I decided to do a year-tally of the pelagics I've seen this year (Since it seems to be a huge year)... I've missed the last 2 "boat weather" days, but will hopefully get out for the next ones!

So yeah, year tally so far, mostly from the boat:

Red-necked Phalarope - 45
Sabine's Gull - 17
Jaeger Sp - 5
Parasitic Jaeger - 7
Long-tailed Jaeger - 10!

And those are the ultra-conservative counts. For future trips, I'm expecting to hit the bulk of the Parasitic Jaegers. Kittiwakes should be on their way, and Pomarine's will hopefully be some of the most cooperative boat-birds.

Arctic Tern and Red Phalarope are the target species. I actually think Red Phalarope will be quite easy - just need a "calm as glass" day.

More to come! I have to work Monday-Thursday first though...


and on that note.. I'm re-adding the photo of the LT Jaeger chasing the G Black-backed Gull from a week or so ago.. Some people didn't get to see it thanks to the virus problems:

- who says LTJA's never chase other birds.

OFO weekend.. Hike etc

Another short blog post! Here's the story.. My website continues to be infected with some sort of trojan virus that I can't get rid of.. And now Google has flagged my site as dangerous.. Great...


Ken Burrell and I did the OFO hike to Port Burwell on Saturday. The story is - it was pretty slow, but thankfully people were understanding. We did get a hand full of warblers and raptors that posed for the group to see well, which was nice. I think we also got just about everyone on a nice adult Little Gull at the Port Burwell town beach. My beautiful girlfriend Jenn was also a big highlight for me.. She followed me around all day! I sure am lucky :)


On our way back to the convention dinner, we stopped at the big creek marsh were we turned up most of the expected puddle ducks (Pintail, Wigeon, BW & GW Teal, Gadwall, Wood Duck, A. Black, Shoveller, etc..

14 Sandhill Cranes, 4 Common Moorhen (Family) and 2 Long-billed Dowitchers rounded out the birds here before it was off to dinner!


Vortex spotting scope (Razor) also worked out great. Vortex has let me borrow the scope in hopes of showing it around, and informing people about how incredible the quality is for the price. The angled eyepiece, and rotating collar worked PERFECTLY for getting everyone to see the birds without adjusting the tripod. Excellent stuff!

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24: winds are blowing

30+ degrees, 40+kmh SW winds blowing.. Oh the birding...

These are the winds that blow good birds around! And the possibilities abound! One would hope that southern birds (herons?) would get blown in somewhere... It's also a good time to look for birds already around. Some of my favourite places for a strong SW wind in fall:

1. Tip of Point Pelee in the morning.. Can be great for waterbird flights, and passerines flying overhead.

2. Beached birds - Shorebirds, Gulls, Terns etc. will be sitting on beaches (Port Burwell!!!, Port Stanley) today thanks to huge waves. Great way to find a fall Laughing or Franklin's Gull.

3. Lakewatch from Fifty Point CA in Grimsby: birds feeding near shore thanks to upwelling (if you can find the feeding groups). Better in late season for loons, gannets, etc.

4. Niagara River - Again, it might be a bit early, but these winds push numbers of gulls into the river. The mouth at Fort Erie could be darn good.

5. Peregrine migration at hawk cliff: could be the first small push of Peregrines riding the cliff edge today. Probably still 5-7 days early though.

OFO convention this weekend! I'll be at Port Burwell tomorrow morning to co-lead a hike with Ken Burrell. I'll also have my fancy spotting scope with me (Vortex Razor), so please feel free to ask to take a look at (and through) it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

August - September, 2010 Blog Archive

Blog posts from August and September, 2010 are found here:

Topics covered include:

--- New Government Laws that Protect Birders

--- 10 Bird species not likely to re-occur in Ontario

--- World's smallest draw-bridge

--- getting my hands on a Vortex Razor spotting scope

--- getting some photos in: Birds of Quebec by Jean Paquin

--- non-stop pelagic birding in Lake Ontario: A rash of Long-tailed Jaegers

- Long-tailed Jaegers everywhere! Photos from the zodiac.

June-July, 2010 - Blog Archive

Blog posts from June and July, 2010 are found here:

Topics covered include:

--- Why July shorebirding is great

--- Yellow-nosed Albatross in Ontario. We all missed it, but I missed it more.

--- Lots of sewage lagoon reports, but nothing too rare!

- the rarity everyone did see this period!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

April - May, 2010 Blog Archive

Blog posts from April and May, 2010 are found here:

Topics covered include:

European Herring Gull in Bermuda

Gyrfalcon at Point Pelee - April 1st - during a heatwave!

Hybrid shorebird pictures from Peter Burke

National Geographic Book Publication - I managed to get some low-paid images in!

Possible "Vagrant" Cardinal at Point Pelee... and more!
- what is this thing.. Why is it so gray, and red..

Blog has moved

Welcome to the new blog format. Let's hope this one works!

Brandon Holden Photography