Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Condo birding update (Shazzam!) + DROUGHT

Dec 6 - Lesser Scaup new for the condo (on the water with a flock of GRSC)

Dec 7 - no new birds... little time... for the first time in several days, decent numbers of LTDU's and WWSC are back closer to shore

Dec 9 - a bit of a watch mid morning... A strong NE wind was blowing late in the day (pushing 50kmh) but I really didn't have much of note... Got some new birds in the form of Rock Pigeon and Cooper's Hawk (woot)... Also had Common Loon, 2 Mute Swans (fly-bys) etc early.. Kinda cool.. Oh and a big flight of Mergansers was also noteworthy

Dec 10 - HUGE numbers of ducks moved back into view (Long-tails and Scoters)... They move around on the lake in different wind/weather and times of day... Almost feels like a paper for Ontario Birds... I searched through them, and had great  #'s of Scoters, but no rares!

Dec 15!!! - I didn't watch very much in the previous days, so I decided to do some serious watching on the 15th... It was a NE Wind at dawn (20kmh) and scheduled to pick up steadily throughout the day.

As always, I could tell things were happening by the composition of the ducks. Less of the regulars (scoters, LTDU's) and more of the "moovers" - Common Merg, Mallard, Black Duck, Scaup, etc...

Things were going well, picked up some irregular birds like Bonaparte's Gulls (my first since the day I moved in), and a Common Loon.  I was working away on my computer when I noticed that there seemed to be a strange number of ducks moving (just several flocks at once) -so I got up and started looking with the scope.

30 seconds later a striking bird caught my eye with a mixed flock of fowl - an ADULT MALE KING EIDER! Boom... Going west, I watched it fly behind the other building, then I saw it on the far side again as it continued past Sayer's Park. BEAUTY... It was pretty close too... I decided to text some fellow birders about this awesome looking bird. Hopefully it shows up somewhere....

3-4 minutes later I looked back into the scope (started a scan), and quickly got on two large grebes (fairly distant  but visible) one was a pro-typical Red-necked Grebe with big white patches on the wing... The other one was roughly the same size, but had a big wing stripe! At the distance, both looked dark overall other than that... There's only 1 large grebe with a white wingstripe (that extends into the primaries).. Well ok 2, but only one on the Ontario Checklist! Western Grebe!

It was exciting as an ID via default, not as a "great looks at a rare bird" - but yeah, I was pretty excited...

The next highlight was a new condo bird (and darn good "winter bird" for Lake Ontario I think) - in the from of 2 American Wigeon....

My parents came for a visit around mid day, and my Dad stationed the window watch for a while. As the east winds continued to pick up, he nailed a young Black-legged Kittiwake!!! Another great bird for the day, and a superb addition to the condo list....

The highlights rounded out with a 2nd winter Iceland Gull, although it was fun watching all day with decent numbers of gulls and ducks...

I'm really starting to like this condo thing!!!!!!!!

Might be more east winds this Thursday too, so I'll be keeping my eyes peeled if so...

Condo/patch list currently at 47 species.. I've yet to actually bird outside my condo though, so i should get a sizable bump when I actually get outside and walk some of those sweet woodlots!



The drought continues (for now), with a very warm November for the USA... Note how it is extending up towards Rainy River... If the trend continues, next June/July could be a fantastic time to find yourself somethin cool up there like a Lark Bunting, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Sprague's Pipit or Barid's Sparrow.... 

Then again, it could look darn different by then ! 


  1. I guess it's kinda cool that the ad male King may be sticking around too! Given the reports a few hundred meters west at Gray's Rd... Will have to check it out... Looked like a beauty in flight

  2. Maybe that grebe is kicking around somewhere too...refind it and it better be a Clark's