April 10th - HUGE blast of southerly winds. SOO warm. I was up at 7am and at the window. I "worked from home" for the day, and kept tabs on what was happening. Interestingly, the morning flight was slow but exciting. The afternoon was downright dull at times, until the evening where I had a few more cool birds...
Some morning highlights:
2 LITTLE GULLS (different adults) - a superb bird for Hamilton. (see above)
~150 Bonaparte's Gulls
1 Glaucous Gull
2 Great Black-backed Gulls
3 Common Loons
2 Great Blue Herons
2 Belted Kingfishers
1 American Kestrel
3 KING EIDERS (flyby flock!)
10 Tundra Swans (late?)
7 Wood Ducks
All 3 Scoter species (still numerous)
Eastern Bluebird - 4
~40 Tree Swallows
Northern Flicker - 3
Rusty Blackbird !!! - 1 --- this is a NEW condo/patch bird. I have probably seen hundreds, but this is the first time i've been totally confident to ID one flying past...
Two snaps of the King Eider "flock"
Throughout the day, I had high hopes for a hawk migration along the shore in the strong SW winds. It didn't happen... (The afternoon shift) -
1 Northern Harrier
2 American Kestrel
1 Rough-legged Hawk (light ad male)
2 Red-tailed Hawk
5 Sharp-shinned Hawk
1 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
2 Blue-winged Teal - NEW condo BIRD(s)!!! Overdue, but I'll take it!
1 Wood Duck
2 Great Blue Herons
1 Common Tern (!!!) - this is EARLY
Thankfully I had another pulse (mainly the non-raptors above) of activity in the late afternoon...
April 11th - I wasn't home! Although I did hear a Woodcock in the dark....
April 12th - calm winds! Warm temps! It was awesome! I did a solid morning watch and was thoroughly rewarded... First up, I might as well cover the "sketchy" bird sighting of the day:
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE - 2 !
I picked up on these two small geese - flying waay out over Lake Ontario (going east)... I snapped three photos (shown above) and looked at them in my scope. Only one problem - they just looked dark in the crummy light! I could tell they weren't Canada's - and didn't look great for Cackling either... After a very limited amount of research, I figured they weren't Cackling or Brant due to their long necks (both species have very short necks)... A bit of a stretch I guess, but what the heck - it's just my patch list.
CACKLING GOOSE - 2 (above photo) - flew past close to shore with a decent flock of Canada's mid-morning...
KING EIDERs - 6! (yes six) in a single flock feeding offshore of LP Sayer's park. 2 young males, 4 females!
Tundra Swan - 15
Great Egret - 1 !
Peregrine Falcon - 1 beauty of a juv female (unbanded) spent over an hour hanging around the buildings. Some remarkably good/close looks (down to 20 feet!)
Purple Martin - 3
Barn Swallow - sev
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - sev
Northern Flicker - 100+ !!!!!!!
Northern Mockingbird - 1 (flying 150 ft in the air, going west, during the "morning flight" !!!!!!!!!!)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 1 (same as the NOMO! Fresh migrant male!!!)
Rusty Blackbird - several!
Other migrants that were "new" a week ago were downright common - Caspian Terns, Tree Swallows, etc. Still huge numbers of blackbirds and Robins on the go... Some photos from the morning:
Nothing like a morning with a Peregrine "hangin out" - we could see it during breakfast from the table! This guy shown had no idea what was above him...
Another highlight (per say) was this Pigeon! It was up high with a mixed flock of migrants - moving steadily westwards along the Lakeshore. It looked too "slim" to be a Rock Pigeon at first, and I snapped photos. I think I can see a band on the leg, and it looks like something tried to take a chunk out of its belly... I can only assume it is someones "pet" pigeon (racing/homing or something)... I could really tell the difference from the "local" pigeons - and sure got my hopes up (briefly) for a rarity...
I was expecting a blast of warm air in the morning, but it was COLD with gentle NE winds... I also woke up an hour later than the previous day, so I can only assume I missed something... The highlights:
FORSTER'S TERN - 1 !!!!! New condo bird!!!!!
LITTLE GULL - 1 (adult!)
Peregrine Falcon - 1 un-aged female flew due east. (Same bird as yest? who knows?)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 3 (flybys - down low - from the condo!)
Fox Sparrow - 1 (same as the sapsuckers)
E. Phoebe - landed on the roof of the next condo building!
Bank Swallow - 1
Northern Flicker - hundreds... I would guess they were averaging 1.5-2 per minute, for 4-5 hours straight in the morning... That's easily over 300 birds! 400 wouldn't be crazy, based on the numbers - but I had no desire to sit and count flickers all morning! They are awesome to watch though - so colourful!
Once again, species that were notable just days ago (Barn Swallow, Common Tern etc) - were like an afterthought today... I listed species above like the Sapsuckers and Fox Sparrow - not because they're unusual - it was just unusual to see them flying past while inside my condo. Pretty fun! I could only imagine the nearby woodlots had a lot of birds! I also stopped keeping track of the ducks.. I had species like Scaup (big flocks) Pintail, Wigeon etc... My desire to check the woods panned out in the afternoon.
Walking from my condo down Van Wagner's Beach was the destination. Highlights were the migrants - Field Sparrow, Chipping Sparrows, Savannah Sparrow, White-throats, Towhees, Sapsuckers, Hermit Thrush, Swallows - and this beautiful Pine Warbler!
This was uber exciting on the 13th! I'm a little behind schedule with my reporting here, so a week later, it doesn't seem quite as exciting - but he sure was a beauty.
That evening I had another Forster's Tern do a few flybys - along with a few more migrants... It's almost "that" time of year!