Ever since I got back from Nova Scotia, I have been chasing owls and trying, unsuccessfully to fill in my Canadian Owl Bingo Card. My first priority when I got back was to find a Boreal Owl in a Niagara area conservation area. Though there was no sign of the Boreal, I did get the Long-eared and Saw-whet. On Saturday evening I drove down to Haldimand County, a dependable spot for Short-eared Owl and they didn’t disappoint, appearing in a grassy field just as it was getting dark.
Then came the discovery of an even more rare owl. A Burrowing Owl in the Toronto area. So I spent a long, cold day with lots of other local and not so local birders searching for a great Ontario Lifer. Once again, a rare owl eluded my 10x42 binocuars.
It wasn’t a totally wasted day, because I got to spend it with many birders I have met and gotten to know over he past 10 years, and a few new ones. It was fun to share my plans for a Big Year. And, with the good eye of another birder, I was able to see my first Common Redpoll of the year. I’m only up to 76 species in the first 10 days of the year, but I’m still concentrating on quality over quantity.
However, way early on Wednesday morning, I am leaving on a week long driving adventure up through Algonquin Provincial Park, and into Quebec. I hope to add some good winter birds, including American Three-toed Woodpecker, Bohemian Waxwings, Gray Partridge, crossbills and winter finches, Snow and Ross’s Goose. If I am lucky, I can get Sharp-tailed and Spruce Grouse and hopefully Willow and Rock Ptarmigan. Every one of those birds I get in January will save me time chasing them later in the year.
Photos of some of the new Year Birds I’ve added the past few days of birding in Southern Ontario.
Rough-legged Hawk, on the Hunt:
Small Part of a Huge Raft of Redheads, hanging with
Greater Scaup and Mallards and Common Goldeneye:
Tundra Swan Family: