Friday, January 31, 2014

April/May outlook

CPC's Three-month outlook (valid April-May-June) for temperature...

Looking above normal to our south and SE - meaning a storm track will likely be pushing through the Great Lakes...

It's a long ways away, but it looks good for some above-average May birding!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Storm Track Change?!

Low pressure arriving from our SW - in 66 hours - bringing a decent drop of snow (Saturday) - maybe 10-15cm? 

Monster "texas/colorado" low - 144 hours out (mid next week) - 15-20cm of snow??

Moster Nor'easter at 240 hours out (long ways away) - 5-10cm of snow? 

Long story short - are we in for less "very cold" weather - and more snowstorms in February as our weather patterns slowly start shifting? Or is the GFS "out to lunch" ?

Not as far away as you might think (or feel right now)... 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm out of blog material

I try to keep the blog updated, just to provide something fun to read on a semi-frequent basis... But I'm out...

It's a terrible time of year for birding (so I haven't been out) -and I've been focusing on working on the 2013 OBRC packages/report - which doesn't translate into anything I can post here...

Oh well... Here's some pretty bird pictures until I get around to writing something :) - I thought about doing a cold/snow themed series, but I think we've had our fair share of that - so I'll just post some photos with greenery in them...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Flatulent cows start fire at German dairy farm

If this isn't one of thee single greatest news articles ever written - I don't know what is! 

Flatulent cows start fire at German dairy farm
BERLIN (Reuters) - Methane gas from 90 flatulent cows exploded in a German farm shed on Monday, damaging the roof and injuring one of the animals, police said.

High levels of the gas had built up in the structure in the central German town of Rasdorf, then "a static electric charge caused the gas to explode with flashes of flames," the force said in a statement.

One cow was treated for burns, a police spokesman added.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pope Dove Attack!!!

One of the best stories I've read online in a while -

Not that I have any issue with the whole thing - I just think its awesome that those birds recognised a possible meal and went after them!

Oh, and if you're wondering - the gull looks like a Yellow-legged!



More often than not, there is a thin layer of ice off aaa_condo when I wake up in the morning. Strong winds today kept the ice at bay - and strong winds all week will likely mean the same... The area of "fast ice" (in gray) - has increased a lot recently. That's pretty much "solid" ice that is locked in place, unlike the red stuff which is subject to frequent changes.


COLD stuff - 

Hope you're enjoying the cold... These aren't "exact forecasts" but the GFS continues to hint that we're in for more and more blasts of cold air!!!

24 hours (away)

114 hours 

168 hrs


360 hours (away from now) - cold blast after cold blast!


Jan 26th - some Willow Pt's in Quebec - not much further north than Cochrane...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2013 OBRC report jazz!

Barb Charlton and I are busy working away on materials for the 2013 Ontario Bird Records Committee report - and I've got to say, I'm pretty happy with how things are looking....

We're pretty much set for documentation - so that's not what I'm going to harass you about!

What this is a call for - is corrections to past reports!!! - ever have something of yours go missing? Ever have a record that was published incorrectly??

I know I have...

Good news though - I'm writing the report for 2013!!! Which means, if you email me (to with any corrections (or even just beefs with anything to do with your record) - I can propose the change to the committee at some point over the next few months - and corrections will be published at the end of the 2013 report when it comes out later this year (hopefully August!)

Here are some samples of my own problemo's from the past - (to get you started) -

2007 Report (Ontario Birds 26:82-107)

· Under Henslow’s Sparrow, 12 May, Point Pelee National Park, change “(Eric W. Holden, also found by Brandon R. Holden)” to “(Brandon R. Holden, Eric W. Holden)”

Or this one... 

2002 Report (Ontario Birds 21:54-76)

· Under Henslow’s Sparrow, add “also found by Eric W. Holden, Susan K. Holden” after “(Brandon R. Holden)

Anyways - send me a line if you have anything (at all -- names, dates, plumages, missing info etc) to suggest! ( !!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Horn-tooting! Again!

I told ya I may bust out a few more of these as blog-filler...

Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching : Eastern Waterbirds in Flight

A guide that teaches birders how to effectively identify eastern waterbirds in flight using a method of identification that emphasizes birds' structure, behavior, and overall color.


I've been pretty lucky to get several images in the book - no small feat given how difficult I was to deal with for the authors... I typically had some sort of situation unfold where they would email me in late April... I'd then reply in late July... They'd reply in early August - and I'd reply in early December... What a pain!

I also tend to keep a fairly small collection of images... I enjoy high quality files - which means I end up deleting distant flocks of ducks. But the WHOLE BOOK is about identifying birds in that type of situation - so I wasn't really able to help that much with the grand theme...

What I DID do was provide some "glamour shots" here and there though - which I'm pretty proud of... Some, like this Kumlien's Iceland Gull (below) are used as the "title image" for the species account....

(pg 414)

Others, like this Parasitic Jaeger/Forster's Tern combo (below) were used at the end of the species account to provide some flair (at least, I'm assuming that was the goal)... 

(pg 377)

In the end, it's one of those awesome bird books that I would highly recommend to any avid birders (a "must have"), and I couldn't resit the urge to share a bit about some photos I was fortunate to have included. In fact, pages 456 and 457 are a two-page spread of one of my photographs - probably one of the most exciting images of mine I have ever seen printed. Woot!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fall 2013 - TICKS!

I can't believe, that the last time I did this, I called it "2012 ticks" - when it should have been 2013... Sometimes I wonder about, myself...


To the ticks!!!!

Deer tick from May 2013 (on my arm) - the only good tick photo I took all year... 

The breakdown: I keep three lists...

Ontario Life List

Ontario Self-found List

Ontario Photographed List

And that's pretty much it.. (I don't know what my life list would be)... It's kept in a 2006 OFO checklist of Ontario Birds - 3 of 5 columns used....

The ticks!!!!!!!

Common Eider - my bird at Netitishi counts as my first "self found" for Ontario and my first photographed in Ontario. Woot

Brown Booby - who didn't add this bad boy to their Ontario list!? It also counts as a "photo'd" bird - thanks to my TERRIBLE photos.. .

Snowy Plover - ohh, that's the best kind of tick... The fabled TRIPPLE TICK - a self found (and photographed) bird that's NEW for my Ontario list... Oh sweet goodness...

Elegant Tern - kinda like the Booby, wasn't it?

Black-backed Woodpecker - I took my first "record photos" ever of a BBWO in 2013 - so it's new for that list..

Brown-chested Martin - new for the self found and Ontario list - if only the photo'd......

Ohhh ya... That's the good stuff...

List updates - 

Ontario - 374 (or 375)... Or even 376 if Dave Bell gets his act together... 

Self found - 343 (or 344/5)...

Photographed - I've still been tooo lazy to count... But I know it's 6 more than the last time I was too lazy to count... Or is it 6 more + 1? ...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snowl Owls - AT NIGHT

I'm pretty happy with these...

So there I was, driving around county roads at sundown. I had just been inundated with Snowy Owls over the previous ~3 hours (22 birds) and was ready to drift off into some form of Snowy slumber... The sky faded to a pastel pink as I snapped my final images of a distant bird preparing for its evening hunt. 

It was at that very moment, that precise instant in time; that a very profound thought took focus in my mind. Is this how the PeregrinePrints ... Blog rolls? Is THIS how the ... Blog ROLLS?! I DON'T THINK SO!!!

Let's cut the lovey dovey stuff and get right into the facts. The sun was going down - but that wasn't going to stop me from enjoying Snowy Owls. This is the " ... Blog" gawd dang it! 


I noticed a few individuals perched high on telephone poles, many of which flushed as my car approached. They looked strong and alert, unlike the "roosting" individuals we typically see during the day. I know they are often referred to as a "daytime owl" - but years ago I began to think otherwise. The only reason we typically see them during the day is because they're so bad@ss, they don't really care who sees them sleeping. Eventually I approached a bird that was on a low fencepost - allowing for my first attempts at photography. 

I had a sneaky suspicion that this bird allowed for closer approach due to the fact that it probably had no idea what was approaching it. The near-blinding beams from my headlights allowed me to grab some images, but I could clearly see that my presence (in this manner) was changing the birds natural nighttime behaviour. After a few minutes, I left in search of new individuals. 


After more sightings of birds flying over the road, and a few that were likely flushed by my approaching vehicle; I lucked into a very tame individual sitting high on a telephone pole. I paused to observe its behaviour. Sitting upright, very alert, and seemingly using its massive eyes to see details I could never hope to see. I wondered what it would take to capture an image of the bird like this... I wondered....

Turns out it's ISO 12800, F 2.8 at 1/50 - with manual focus to boot (thank god for image stabilization). The above image was pretty much my first "trial run"... And it wasn't terrible... The really high ISO greatly reduces image quality, as does any kind of blur from movement with a very slow shutter speed. On top of that - even under the best circumstances - F 2.8 only allows for a very narrow pane to actually be IN focus at all!

All said and done, what I DID capture was a natural pose and a very alert bird. Using very little light from my headlights (I was pretty much below the bird, so the only light would be reflected up off the snow covered road), and all the light I could muster from a full moon - meant that the bird was dealing with the same conditions. The result - those big eyes!!! Wide open with massive pupils showing. I really wondered just how well it could see...

Prolonged viewing showed some exciting behaviour. It was hoping from pole to pole as it hunted - and I eventually decided to pull back (back away) a bit each time to get a better angle for photography. In the above image, the bird did a "false start" - where it got ready to take flight after some unknown prey - but quickly aborted the plan and stayed on the pole! 

The few times it did hunt, I was surprised to see it was dropping down into a hayfield, very similar to how I see Red-tailed or Rough-legged Hawks hunt. A quick glide closer, followed by a slight hover (or two or three) before dropping down. I didn't see a successful hunt, but I really couldn't see much at all. The below image was one of these forays into the night - 

Beyond that, my luck ran out with owls for the evening... I spent a few more minutes attempting to get a "sharp" image of the bird perched, but eventually left so it could hunt in peace. I found some deer under the moonlight, and the photographic results were considerably worse than trying for the owls. This photographers desire to create unique images decreases at a rate of 1.2% for every 1% increase in hunger, and before long I was heading home!

What big eyes you have! - the only other way (I can think of) to capture these big eyes - would be to hit the bird with a healthy dose of flash... Which just seems unpleasant for the bird (even if the effects are short-lived) so I'll have to stick with images of this quality! 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ice, Ice, Baby

It dun gon got cold out der 'gain!


An Arctic airmass has settled over Southern Ontario. The combination of cold temperatures and moderate northwesterly winds is expected to produce wind chill values minus 30 or colder. Areas east of a line from Port Carling through Haliburton and Kaladar to Brockville - Leeds and Grenville wind chill values could reach minus 35 or colder.

wind chill warning


That's what I like to see! Why? Because I'm crazy and I enjoy the cold weather :)

It looks like we may be in for a few more weeks of "cold air blasts" as well... As usual, I've been keeping tabs on the ice cover around the Great Lakes - and it looks like a fair bit survived our recent "warm spell".

This snap will not be as cold as the last, but the winds may also be quite a bit lighter which may aid in the formation of ice... Time will tell!


Someone who will enjoy the ice: 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Brown-chested Martin - my report to the ORBC

Here it is! I thought I had posted this already, but I guess not?!?! My OBRC report for the BCMA -

It's records like this that make me happy that I don't have to vote this year ! ;)

Think it'll "fly" ??