Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Bits and Bobs - before the rush?

January - March 2014

As the title suggests this is really just a catch-up on some of the highlights of the winter so far. I say 'so far' because there's still a foot of snow (or more) in the back garden. The first few Spring arrivals have been showing up over the last week but there's certainly not a great deal to be singing about just yet.

To kick off, this is how cold it was. Brrrr...

It's cold out!
However, there have been some birding highlights of course and to get the ball rolling is this Great Grey Owl I saw in Prince Edward County back in January. It hung around for a few days but was apparently quite elusive at times for others trying to find it.

Great Grey Owl - Wellington, Prince Edward County, ON
And staying on the owl theme, this Snowy Owl up near Perth certainly wasn't elusive and, in fact, put on bit of a show. Shame the weather was so poor...

Snowy Owl - Perth, Lanark County, ON
Waterfowl have been understandably scarce due to the extreme cold but a few goodies still managed to be found. The highlight for me was 4 King Eider at Prince Edward Point that were present for about 2 weeks from late February. It has been over 27 years since my first (and only) King Eider at Scolt Head in the UK!
King Eider (immature male) - Prince Edward Point, ON
King Eider (2 of the 3 females) - Prince Edward Point, ON
King Eider (immature male and female) - Prince Edward Point, ON
King Eider (immature male) - Prince Edward Point, ON
This next one though was a lifer and one long overdue. This male Barrow's Goldeneye had been hanging out near Bate's Island in Ottawa for most of the winter so James Barber and I trundled up there in late January and were rewarded with good looks at both the male and a female. Unfortunately, the female was more camera shy, though James did manage to get a shot of her in flight.

Barrow's Goldeneye (male) - Bate's Island, Ottawa, ON
Barrow's Goldeneye (male) - Bate's Island, Ottawa, ON
The following Red-tailed Hawk is, I believe, of the 'Northern' subspecies. Now whether B. j. abieticola is actually valid as a subspecies is currently a topic of debate but this bird shows all the described characteristics (extensive belly band and dark throat, just for starters).

Red-tailed Hawk (B. j. abieticola) - Amherst Island, ON
Well, that's all for today. Hopefully the southerlies we're currently experiencing will bring in more than just snow...

'Till next time,


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