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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pick 'n' Mix

A mixed bag presented here; the slim pickings from the last few days. This was the most exciting thing I saw, if only because in obtaining a photograph I was finally able to put a name to a a darner other than a Green. It is a male Shadow Darner, seen today in Burlington.

A little montage of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the feeder mounted conveniently outside our kitchen window. Last year very few visited, but over the last couple of weeks there have been almost daily records, often late in the evening.

A young House Wren which drew my attention with its scolding from the roadside shrubbery and finally a few sub-par raptor silhouettes. Raptor migration is well underway, with the first big movements of Broad-winged Hawks being noted along the north shore of Lake Erie this week.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.

Same bird, different angle.

Merlin.

Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lake Ontario & Kittiwakes

Despite being almost 600km from the nearest open ocean, the west end of Lake Ontario does surprisingly well for several species of migratory 'sea' gulls and jaegers (skuas). Over the past three weeks there have been some impressive tallies. These have included at least 2 Pomarine Jaegers, 7 or more Long-tailed Jaegers and in excess of 45 Parasitic Jaegers! In addition, at least 10 Sabine's Gulls and 5 Black-legged Kittiwakes (in one flock) have been recorded. Throw in the odd Red-necked Phalarope or Surf Scoter and you have the kind of list most actual seawatchers would be proud of. Ok, so you're probably not gonna see any shearwaters or auks - or whales for that matter, but in terms of anticipatory excitement, it's hard to beat. Don't competely rule out those real seabirds either, there have been recent records of Manx Shearwater, Black-capped Petrel, Gannet, Wilson's Storm Petrel, Fulmar, Razorbill and Ancient Murrelet!

Most of the birds seen during lake-watches are well beyond my camera's reach - for some fine jaeger shots by a proper photographer, have a look here. However, this weekend's influx of five Black-legged Kittiwakes have been much more photogenic. The last few days they have been cruising along the shoreline, often within 15 metres of the beach. This one was at Confederation Park today.