Tuesday, April 30, 2013

5+ days of insane overshoot weather??

I'm no meteorologist, but I'm pretty sure it's raining overshoots!





Some sort of blocking high pressure system is in place somewhere - and we have high pressure here... Now I know I'm always preaching the good deeds of LOW pressure, but I feel like this may seriously work in our favour. And I mean seriously.... I'm really tired so I'll lay it out quick:

--- High pressure is blocking the weather patterns from moving much

--- the weather that we're getting "stuck" in for days is high pressure, that is centred below us

--- a big frontal boundry is stalled to our SW/W

--- this means south winds and clear nights... This isn't "suck a Red-faced Warbler from Arizona up in the Jet Stream insane mind blowing raritiy weather" like a huge low pressure system (storm)

----- BUT - as far as I can tell (my guess) this looks like AWESOME overshoot weather... For species like Kentucky, Worm-eating, Summer Tanager, Bell's Vireo, Painted Bunting (heck I think all of those have been seen in Ontario in the past two days during the start of this already!)  But maybe some other species like Scissor-tailed Fly? Black-necked Stilt? SWAINSON'S Warbler?!

Bird is the word....

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ok back to the birds

Work is fun and all (see above) but it's time to get back to some spring birding!!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pelee Apr 27

Some highlights and personal FOY's at Pelee:

BT Green Warb - 5+

Yellow Warb - 4+

Nashville - 1

Louisiana Waterthrush - 2 (new from yesterday - 4 total in under 24 hours!)

Grasshopper Sparrow - 1 (Solar Panel)

Clay-coloured Sparrow - 1 (Delaurier)

Red-headed Woodpecker - 1

Red Crossbill !! - I heard some call notes - never saw it...

Thought we "found" it - until you get to the book and notice it was first reported 3 hours earlier... Oh the joy of Pelee... 


Peregrine - 1

Kestrel - 1

Merlin - 2

Broad-wings - 10/15 adults


Coopers - 1


Harrier - 1

Sandhill Cranes - 4 (low and close several times)

B. Eagles - 2/3

Leps - pale form Question Mark! (pic)

Left around 3:30pm for work... boo! Back in a few days

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pelee Apr 26

Got to Pelee in the mid afternoon - birded till dusk.. Here's what my Dad and I had


Pelee Apr 26:

2 Louisiana Waterthrush  (one a male 15-20 feet away!)

3+ Chimney Swift

4-5 Eastern Kingbird


Common Yellowthroat

Blue-headed Vireo

Tilbury SL:

Lots of Ruddy Ducks

Cliff Swallows

Hillman – awesome habitat at the bridge.. Lots of shorebirds and Teal

Wheatley – still stinks

Louie lookin good and strut'in!

Leps - Red Admirals (Dad), Spring Azures, Mourning Cloak

Odes - 2 Green Darners, one getting eaten by the BH Vireo ! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The time is nigh!

For the past few years I've tried making a new version of this..... Haven't liked any of them, so time to bring back the old...

We're darn close to a warbler tidal-wave...... Rarities have broken our borders.... Exciting times!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cackling Goose record photos!

Two near Kingston a week or three ago:

A SOLID flock of 21 from Lake Superior in the third week of September in 2012..

A SOLID flock of 3 from the same day as above (at the end of the day, I had 24 CACG and 1 Canada as a day total!) 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A photo I'm happy with - but - WARNING - Disturbing photo (people may find upsetting)

Disclaimer: If you've clicked on the post from another blog, you can probably see a tiny thumbnail below... Read the paragraph below first...  Don't click on it if you don't want to see the larger image...


Another photo I really like...

But for the first time ever, I'll add a break to a blog post...

Why? Cause it's graphic..... It's a deer stuck in the ice... If you don't want to see a very unfortunate deer, don't click (there's some blood etc)... A new filter put in place for my Mom. (Hi Mom!) .... But yeah, it's not your typical "animal getting eaten" graphic photo...

If you want to see, you have to click on the subject line of the post, where it'll load a new page and you can view it.... Nature in action... I really like the photo... Just don't click if you don't like that sort of stuff...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Condo + Beamer last weekend

Apr 14th at the Condo! Scored two new "Patch" birds... One was a Broad-winged Hawk (sa-weeeet!) and the other was a Tundra Swan that was swimming way out on the open water of Lake Ontario...

Question is - what the heck was that TUSW doing out there?? I figured I had missed them for the spring (in the patch) - but there ya go... I took some pics, but don't have them ready..

Why not post a pic of a Red-shoulder from the Condo (with my point-and-shoot) from late March??

Perfect lead-in to the next day - Apr 15th at Beamer!

Turkey Vulture 192
Osprey 3 
Bald Eagle 1 

Northern Harrier 5 

Sharp-shinned Hawk 222 

Cooper's Hawk 6

Red-shouldered Hawk 4 

Broad-winged Hawk 4 
Red-tailed Hawk 33 

Rough-legged Hawk 1 

American Kestrel 22 

Merlin 3 

Peregrine Falcon 1


13 species! Only missing Golden and Goshawk whilst I was there... It was sweet to get some good looks at Shoulders and Broad-wings on the same day. Also the falcons put on a show - with darn good looks at the Peregrine (adult)

Other highlights were three uber-low (treetop) Sandhill Cranes that flew right overhead! And a calling Evening Grosbeak that flew east over the tower --- I'm not sure I've ever had this species at Beamer before...

Overall it was a great (freezing cold) day!


Wonder when this will happen?? 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rare bird outlook

The next few days will be interesting. Thursday/Friday is a big southerly flow and mega-warm temps... I feel like we're at a point in time where some really notable birds could arrive.

What will it be? Black-necked Stilt? More Avocets? Yellow-throated Warblers? Glossy Ibis? Little Blue Heron?

Or something really crazy like a Townsend's Warbler? 

Those of you reading from Nova Scotia -- (anyone? Anyone?) Have a really awesome setup from this system:


For additional reading - check out this awesome documentation of a Gadwall/Northern Shoveler pairing:

Bruce Mactavish does a good job explaining the story on his blog - check it out! --- 


Random bird photo:

We're so darn close... I can personally say I haven't had nearly the same  "building anticipation" as past years - with this freezing cold weather - but we're so darn close... 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Old OBRC Reports! - Netitishi Edition

A while ago I decided to put some of my all time fav's online (of self found OBRC birds/reports)... Good idea? Bad idea? I'm not sure... But I did it....

For fun blog filler/reading material: two reports of some mega rares from Netitishi Point!

Sooty/Short-tailed Shearwater:




So yeah... Interesting read? Maybe?  I'll get them all onto my "articles" page in the future (on my main website)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New species online - ever

A PIWO from Manitoulin Island this winter... This is the first time I've ever uploaded this species to my website.... 

Probably because my best pic of the species was this crummy flight shot from Florida in 2009 (prior):

And for the first time ever, I have a pic of a Ruffed Grouse online:

From Thunder Bay!

Don't get me wrong, all of these pictures are pretty poor in my books - but they're better than nothing! Right?? 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Condo Birding Update. Apr 13 = awesome

I watched fairly steady from the condo from 10am-6pm yesterday... This recent low pressure system that passed through did a really good job of bringing some birds with it! The highlights:

2 Osprey
2 Merlin

4 Wood Duck (new)
1 Northern Shoveler (new)
30-40 Red-necked Grebes
15+ Common Loons

5+ Barn Swallows
500-1000?+ Robins

Yet it was the gulls and terns that stole the show! Huge numbers on the move today. I managed to pick out:

4 Glaucous Gulls (2 juv, 2 adult)
4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (1 juv, 2 second ba's, 1 adult)
2 Thayer's Gulls (adult, 2nd ba) (new)
1 Iceland Gull (adult)

50-ish Bonaparte's Gulls (one big flock, then 3-4 times I had single birds)
1 Common Tern (ties record early for Hamilton according to the birds of hammer) (new)

+ 1 freakazoid probable hybrid gull (dark mantle)  - that I'm guessing was a Herring X Great black-backed of some sort.. But I'm not sure (pic below)

Freak Gull

Not to mention the "daily" stuff like all 3 Scoters! And other assorted fowl... Patch list is now at 90 species!

Some pic highlights:



Lesser B Backed

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Condo birding update - best decision ever.

Apr 7th - blistering SW winds and warm temps greeted me for 45-ish mins prior to leaving for the OBRC meeting.... Birds were pouring along the shore (blackbirds, robins etc) - then a juv male Peregrine Falcon arrived on the scene and made 12 (TWELVE!!) high-speed stoops on unsuspecting migrants over the next ~40 mins - and was still going when I had to leave.... Having the ability to watch the action as he rode the updrafts and made attacks at break-neck speeds darn-near brought a tear to my eye.... Pic below:

Apr 8th - After hearing reports of some Red Crossbills in my patch - I walked out my front door (after some morning surveys) and walked to the far west end of my patch where I had unbelieveable looks at a male and female RECR... Fantastic!

I also scored some new condo/patch birds in: Northern Flicker (some flying by my window @200ft up), Eastern Meadowlark (5 past my window @200ft), Northern Rough-winged Swallow, YB Sapsucker, E Phoebe and Hermit Thrush!

Apr 11th: after a stretch away from home - I got back around dusk where I had the chance to glimpse the lake with 50kmh NE winds before it was dark. Big numbers of gulls and Caspian Terns on the move.

Apr 12th - the lift bridge recorded a 70+kmh NE gust just prior to dawn. I was home all day, and watched on/off for several hours as the winds went light... Not a lot of highlights in the really windy period but I did get a Glaucous Gull, the first condo Green-winged Teal - and finally my first condo (overdue) Lesser Black-backed Gull in a 2nd basic bird! Sa-weeet!

DC Corms on an angry lake... 

Find the out of focus Glaucous Gull... 

--- In the late afternoon the winds had totally died - then switched SW and started increasing as the low passed by... A BIG Accipiter right out my window passed by too quickly for and ID... I nailed my first condo Barn Swallows and Osprey in a surprising late-day migration of various bird species. More awesomeness! Also had a Merlin that looked BLACK... tried to take record pics but they stink...

Record photo of first condo OSPR

Pretty awesome overall... Cormorants are really back now... It's also great to see Common Loons on the go... Hopefully over the next 2ish days I'll get back out and around the patch for some woodland birds!

My latest disaster

Friday, April 12, 2013

weird weather (and maybe not in a good way)

Weather be crazy..

As storm tracks pass very close to us in Southern Ontario - it makes is VERY difficult for forecasters to figure out if we're going to be warm or cool - slight changes in direction of the low pressure centre can mean we're warm and +15 or windy and +2 on any given day. Pretty much the only guarantee is precipitation (of some sort) when that happens...

This situation can be seen well in the 6-10 day outlook:

What we know - rain 

What we don't know - cold air above - warm below... Slight shifts could put us on either side (or maybe both for a day or two each)...

The 8-14 day outlook is finally starting to look at "Prime Time" - as the end (day 14) is roughly Apr 26th - right when things can REALLY start getting REALLY crazy (if the weather is right)...  Any do you know what I see in the long-range? More of the same - with less certainty. 

Cold to the north - but only a 30-50% change for our area 

Regardless of what happens -we'll likely see more "April Showers" later in April. 

Overall I'd say the forecast is looking poor for late April (right now).. But god knows the confidence in the longer-range weather right now is really low... 

Below is the GFS outlook for the end of the medium-range outlook (last 10-ish days of April) 

Looks like they're expecting below average from Texas to Pelee and beyond... 


In the short-range weather forecast, we're finishing up with a strong low pressure system that passed below us... For the most part, all of March/April has been some of the best damn weather you could ask for - in fall migration........... And this storm fit the bill with a +70kmh NE wind gust recorded at the lift bridge this morning... 

Let's look ahead a few days:

SATURDAY - I'll be staying indoors.... 

SUNDAY: this looks like a great March set-up for a decent migration and a good day of hawkwatching at Beamer C.A. with high pressure below us: 

But being mid-april, we'll have to cross our fingers the birds don't get up too high - or that there are even birds to see at any height... 

MONDAY - low pressure flies back into the picture. This time they're calling for it to pass overhead (hopefully it doesn't change) and 15-17+ degrees on Monday... That will be another "flood" per-say of migrants into the southern reaches of the province overnight - ready to be found on Monday or Tuesday... I may have Monday off, so perhaps I'll have to do some work in my patch!?

See map below:


Look at that beauty southerly flow moving into Ontario! 


Overall I feel like Sunday/Monday would also be a fantastic 2 (or 3 - Tuesday) day trip to Point Pelee... Both days will have migrants all over the Pelee circle from waterfowl to gulls to shorebirds to passerines... Mornings at the tip should produce some neat reverse migrations... Heck - the photography might even be pretty good...

If I wasn't so lackadaisical about birding still - I'd seriously consider going! But I'll probably stick around home and do some "easy-going" birding at my patch and/or Beamer...