I am now frantically trying to get caught up on my blog from the past few weeks before leaving for a couple of days on Amherst Island with Ann, as we all know what that means!
Late last week, John, Doug and I scoped out parts of Durham Region for the Pickering Naturalists' Feeder Tour (the same one that got semi-snowed out in the end) but this Barred Owl was an absolute treat to see at last, a first for me so close to home:
A week ago today I saw these locals down by the lake, beginning with a Song Sparrow:
A pretty White-throated Sparrow with snow on its beak:
A male Northern Cardinal enjoys a sunflower seed...
...as does a female:
So you know that I was off to a slow start if I was photographing feeder birds, right? Well, that all changed fairly quickly as I left Hall's Road, catching a glimpse of a Rough-legged Hawk on the wing coming in for a landing right next to where I was parked!
It always amazes me how they can balance themselves so precariously on these tiny branches, but of course they weigh a lot less than one would think:
...settling in at last for better views of the hunting grounds:
Could it get any better? Yup. My final stop for the day in south Whitby included Northern Harriers, both males and females:
I thought yet another Harrier had joined in on the action, flying straight at me, when I realized it was a young Red-tailed Hawk!
Due to my incredible photographic skills By some miracle I succeeded in getting both of them in focus, and in the same frame now that will NEVER happen again
...the Red-tailed Hawk eventually landed on the top of the pole right next to my car:
So the day wrapped up with lots more action in the end for what started off as a slow day!
This past Tuesday I bit the bullet and hauled myself over to Second Marsh in Oshawa to search for the Barrow's Goldeneye that had been reported for almost a month now. It was quite the trek along the creek in the snow and ice ssshhhhhh, but it paid off in the end as I found
the sucker my latest Lifer out on the lake all by my lonesome, amongst dozens of Common Goldeneyes. Fortunately I took Skip's advice that he had learned from Geoff: instead of looking for the white crescent marking in front of the eye (versus the round one on the Common), focus on the bird with the different back and sides. The Barrow's Goldeneye is blacker above with white spots, with a black spur at its shoulder. The advice worked like a charm and I easily picked it out of the crowd, thanks, Skip and Geoff!
My next stop was at Oshawa Harbour where I ran into Jean, and it was from here on that we played tag for the rest of the afternoon as we both followed the shoreline of the lake back to Whitby. Jean found the King Eider for me she is truly amazing! amongst the Canada Geese at the north end of the channel, and we grumbled to each other as we did our best to enjoy distant views of him through our scopes, but at least it warranted a "tick" for a year bird.
Also in the channel was a White-winged Scoter for the year...
...and of course several Long-tailed Ducks:
Jean and I connected again at the harbour in Whitby, but I missed her at Hall's Road. Too bad for her, because on my way out the Rough-legged Hawk was in its usual tree, what a thrill, as well as an ahah moment for me! This time I witnessed its take-off, versus its landing from last week:
...all of these photos are worth double-clicking on to enlarge to see more of this beautiful raptor in all its splendour!
My final Local Lovely for the past few weeks is this Northern Mockingbird thanks, John that's feeding on buds:
My 2011 Year List is now 58, and my Winter List at the midway point is 77 species.