Monday, September 25, 2017

Bruce Mines Hawk Watch

Yesterday was a Sault Naturalists outing to the Bruce Mines area to look for some migrating raptors.  12 members of the club, including myself, made it out, despite the hot temperatures that were coming later in the day.

The first stop was just up Centre Line Road from Highway 17.  This open field area provided a great vantage point to see migrating birds.  The group leader, Mark Olivier, had apparently had great success here in previous years.  I arrived first and was able to pick up 11 species before anyone else arrived, but only one raptor, a Northern Harrier that was cruising over the field.  Not too long after everyone else arrived, a Turkey Vulture and two Common Loons flew over.  Mark then spotted our first of seven Sharp-shinned Hawks fly by.  The Northern Harrier, which appeared to be a juvenile, made a return appearance so that everyone could see it.  Two falcons flew by as well, a Peregrine Falcon followed by an American Kestrel.  The last new raptor was a Red-shouldered Hawk that flew right overhead of the group.  

We went to have lunch at the Bruce Mines Marina.  There we added a few more species for the day, but no raptors. 

The last stop of the day was the the Bruce Mines arena.  A Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawks and two Sharp-shinned Hawks greeted us right away.  A Bald Eagle, another Peregrine Falcon and another Sharp-shinned Hawk rounded out the raptors for the day. 

While we did not get the large numbers of raptors that we were looking for, we did manage 8 species.

The non-raptor species of the day were:

Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Sandhill Crane, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, European Starling, American Pipit, Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Common Grackle, and American Goldfinch.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sault Ste. Marie Ross's Goose

An email was sent out the SaultBirds listserv about a white goose at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.  I was just leaving Desbarats from work at the time, so I thought I'd go check it out.  I arrived and found it instantly, since a white goose really stands out among a flock of Canada Geese.  Thanks to Mark Olivier for finding and spreading the word about this bird!  I had one in the spring as well, but it was seen from a distance with no chance to get decent pics like the ones I got below of this one.

There have been two other reports on eBird of a Ross's Goose right in Sault Ste. Marie, one bird being in March 1995 and one being in April 2008.  Both of these birds were reported at a generic Sault Ste. Marie location though, rather than the actual exact location they were found.  Therefore, it's hard to say if this is truly the first Ross's Goose ever recorded within Sault Ste. Marie's city limits or not.  It's possible the previous two birds were found in the fields near the airport, which are technically not within city limits, ever though most people would still call the area Sault Ste. Marie. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Road Trip to Kenora

On August 25th, my girlfriend Lindsey and I packed up the car and headed off towards Kenora for a week long trip.  It was not a birding trip rather a trip home for Lindsey, but I hoped to get as much birding in as I could.

Before just we left the Algoma District, while stopped at the A&W in White River, four Red Crossbills flew over, calling away.

We broke up the trip and stopped in Terrace Bay for the night.  The highlights of the drive up there two bull moose near the side of the highway, a Common Nighthawk and a Red-tailed Hawk.  My Thunder Bay District bird list was seriously lacking, so I was able to add quite a few common birds to the list while driving.  I hoped to find some cool shorebirds down at the Terrace Bay Beach, but a Spotted Sandpiper was as much as I got.  By the time we left the Thunder Bay District, I was up to 41 species.  Quick stops at rest areas really helped get the smaller birds that would almost impossible to see while driving.

We entered the Kenora District, where my list was a little better, but definitely could be greatly added to.  Throughout the week, I was consistently able to find birds in between all the family visits and fishing on Lake of the Woods.  We went walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods our first day and we sure did well fishing.  Better yet, American White Pelicans and Bonaparte's Gulls were out and about on the lake.
American White Pelican

Bonaparte's Gull

Lindsey's dad lives on Rabbit Lake, a small lake at the north edge of Kenora.  While fishing on the lake, I was able to find plenty of small passerines and even a couple shorebirds.  A Boreal Chickadee was in with some Black-capped Chickadees and there was a variety of warblers. A Killdeer and a Semipalmated Sandpiper were chilling on one of the beaches before a dog came along and flushed them.

A trip of the Old Man Lake, probably an hour and a half north of Kenora, produced a Black-backed Woodpecker, an Olive-sided Flycatcher and two Gray Jays.  We pulled some nice bass out of  the water there too.

Not of the other species were really that exciting.  I was just able to find a decent amount of the common birds, despite really dedicating much time to strictly birding.

On the drive home, just before Vermilion Bay, a Black-billed Magpie flew up from the side of the road and into a tree.  In the fields just before Dryden, there was a Northern Harrier, some Savannah Sparrow and a Hairy Woodpecker, making my final Kenora District list for the trip at 90.  This gave me an even 100 species for my Kenora District Life List.

The drive back through Thunder Bay featured a crazy thunderstorm, with hail.  This greatly limited the birds sightings, of course.  We arrived in Nipigon for the night and her I was able to add a few more species.  Once we arrived back in Algoma, I was up to 49 species for the Thunder Bay District.  Not bad considering it was only at like seven before the trip.