Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yard bird species #53

A wild turkey just ran through our yard. It was in the corn field behind our house, and came right past the house. No picture, because it's almost dark, but still - species #53! :)

Monday, January 16, 2012


I finally decided to make the trip down to Kingsville to see the Great Grey Owl that's been causing such a commotion for the past few weeks. And guess what? I didn't see it. Apparently it was seen briefly Saturday morning, before I got down there, and hasn't made an appearance since.

I can't even tell you how disappointed I was. When I headed down there Saturday morning, I told myself I'd be thrilled if I came back with even one frame-worthy shot. By Sunday morning, I would've been happy just seeing the bird. But after a total of 13 hours of driving (3 hours each way, then driving around the back roads trying to track down the owl), I didn't come home happy. :(

I really hope the bird's just moved on to better hunting grounds, and it hasn't been hit by a car or taken out by a local to get rid of all the annoying tourists clogging the roads. A few of the people I spoke with while I was there said visitors had been getting increasingly loud and the poor thing was having trouble hunting.

So yes, I missed out on an incredible opportunity, and I'm even more jealous now of my friends' incredible pictures. I just hope this gorgeous owl is safe wherever it's moved off to.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Uncommon visitors

For the past week or so, I've been reading about people in my general area finding a female Mountain Bluebird. Now, this is a highly unusual sighting in South-Western Ontario, as the Mountain Bluebird is usually found West of the Rockies in the US and Canada. So, just for kicks, the hubby and I decided to go out yesterday afternoon and try to find it.

Fortunately, fairly detailed directions had been provided as to the usual location of the bird, so that got us to the right area... and the dozen or so cars pulled over to the side of the road left very little room for wondering where the bird was displaying herself.

A small grey-blue bird sitting on a grey board fence with a bunch of grey trees behind her didn't make for pictures worth sharing, but we saw her! And I got an ID shot, though you can barely tell what she is. ;-)

This seems to be a good winter for unusual sightings in Ontario. For the past two weeks there's been a Great Grey Owl down in Kingsville, near Point Pelee National Park (one of the top birding spots in North America during spring and fall migrations). I'm so, sooooooo jealous of all the gorgeous shots I've been seeing of this magnificent bird. It's apparently been putting on an amazing show, hunting and landing right in front of groups of observers, sometimes 75 people at a time. If it wasn't a nearly four-hour drive from here, I'd venture down, but... that's a lot of driving, and I'd be beyond disappointed if I got all the way down there and wasn't able to a) find it, or b) get at least one really good picture of it. So I think I'll sit tight for now, and hope one decides to visit my area. ;-)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Happy New Year!

Yeah, I know, it's been a while. The problem is, I haven't had anything of any interest to tell, really. Other than the Cooper's Hawk taking out a bunch of our feeder birds (including a Blue Jay, which made me sad), things have been quiet.

Actually, this morning we had another bird of prey in the yard. I came home around 9:00 AM to pick up my hubby (his truck wouldn't start in the cold, so I left work, picked him up, dropped him at his office, and came back to work), and there was either a Sharpie or a Merlin on a kill in the front yard. I didn't get a good enough look at it to tell which it was, but I think it had taken down a Junco (which also made me sad, because I love those little guys), and it was struggling to fly around the side of the house with it in its talons. So it was small, for sure - definitely not the Cooper's.

This past weekend, my hubby and I went out looking for Snowy Owls, and we managed to find our first once since 2010. Yay! It was a male, and waaaaaaaaay out in a field, so no pictures, but still! And Dave made a great spot - a Short-eared Owl perched on a fence post, hiding within a tree. Neither of us had ever seen one of these guys before, so it was pretty cool. I managed a couple of ID pictures, and I'll post them in the next day or two, even though they're kinda crappy.