Outdoor Ontario

Photography => Ontario Birds => Topic started by: Dinusaur on November 13, 2021, 04:19:22 pm

Title: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Dinusaur on November 13, 2021, 04:19:22 pm
Last couple of days I was on a roll - managed to see and photograph two Life Birds and then some. Here's how the story went.


The first Life Bird was a Little Gull at Barrie waterfront. I have visited the location many a time and always missed it. Interestingly I have seen and photographed a Pacific Loon there a few years back yet the Little Gull eluded me all these years. This time I was lucky to see three adults flying together with 150 Bonaparte's gull close enough to the shoreline to spot them with naked eye.


The second was a Sage Thrasher. Now this is a rare vagrant in Ontario as they are mostly seen out west. It has been around in Mitchell's Bay South Lake Shore (Nature) Trail in Chatham-Kent county since Nov 6. A very co-operative bird, most likely a juvenile. I was hoping that it would stay till Friday, Nov 12, my day off from work. Woke up early in the morning and debated over the prospect of a long drive (over 3 hours each way) and still missing out in case the bird left overnight. The overnight rain raised hope that it could still be around. And so it was. Forty five minutes after I arrived at the location it popped up in a berry bush. The considerate people identified the location of the bush with orange tapes around a stick in the ground - how convenient. All I had to do was wait there and hope.


And the remaining half life bird (if you can call it) is a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker. I have seen an adult a few years back in Ashbridge's Bay park but this is the first time seeing a juvenile. A friend of mine and I set out on Saturday morning to Hidden Valley Park in Burlington. It was cloudy and high ISO situation. After waiting for about half an hour it showed up in search of walnuts on the ground. Eventually it found one, flew to a nearby tree and devoured. It was fun to watch the squirrels giving it a chase as it looked for a suitable perch to hide the nut and eat.


1. Little Gull. First photo shows it flying in parallel with a Bonaparte's gull, the differences are clear.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51672669351_213681b099_c.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/60250038@N02/2M2737)
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51677409498_ee96c7dee7_c.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/60250038@N02/Z8MU38)


2. Sage Thrasher
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51677136196_19277bbcb4_c.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/60250038@N02/kEF4R8)
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51677136226_2efa70a33b_c.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/60250038@N02/z12Z5C)
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51678017760_5a8d6deaa2_c.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/60250038@N02/)


3. Red-headed Woodpecker - Juvenile
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51677131246_947ddd9ac7_c.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/60250038@N02/9Hb5LL)
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51677379178_7d59d5656e_c.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/60250038@N02/4f982S)
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51677803934_404a412f33_c.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/60250038@N02/567Jk9)
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Ally on November 13, 2021, 05:21:18 pm
Wow, what are feast! For the eyes and stories for the brain. Wonderful change for my all day reading of the textbooks.  Thanks~
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Shortsighted on November 13, 2021, 06:01:50 pm
Three hours of evil fuel consumption coupled with 500mm of pristine glass precisely arranged to impress and a Herculean ambition exploding from the only remaining photosaurus rex in existence have all intersected to deliver nature's wonders to those of your fans that are confined by circumstance and greeted with the exhilaration that those delights imbue. Great things happen to those with great ambition. It's no wonder that during moments of indecision some of us contemplate ... what would Dinu do? The Red-headed Woodpecker (juv) is absolutely magical. I will dream about it tonight.
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: alex on November 14, 2021, 04:09:16 pm
Excellent finds and great photos to boot!


What do you think my chances are of finding the red-headed woody if I trip out there? Do you think it’s from the area or just passing through?
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Axeman on November 14, 2021, 09:58:42 pm
brilliant pix....geez honestly on the gulls, they're like warblers to me....I can't tell any apart....nice work!
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Dinusaur on November 15, 2021, 05:54:38 pm
Excellent finds and great photos to boot!


What do you think my chances are of finding the red-headed woody if I trip out there? Do you think it’s from the area or just passing through?


It has been reported today and may continue. It is seen caching nuts in cavities, may decide to linger as a result. Good luck. Park you car in the lot along Unsworth Avenue just before the bridge. The bird is seen foraging on the opposite side of the road, sometimes seen on the ground collecting walnuts.
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: alex on November 16, 2021, 02:47:20 pm
Thanks for the tips!
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: alex on November 18, 2021, 08:26:38 pm
Success! I took the GO train to Burlington today and found the woodpecker exactly where you described. Thanks again for sharing! I need a new grail now  ;D
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Ally on November 19, 2021, 10:35:27 am
Thanks for posting! Now find a barn owl please~ We need more pics
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Shortsighted on November 19, 2021, 12:58:22 pm
Perseverance beyond all praise! You are certainly not subservient to obstacles. How did you get from the train to the site?A Barn owl ... I think not ... but maybe set your compass on a Great Grey Owl. Ally will appreciate even that. She just has to!
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: alex on November 19, 2021, 03:25:18 pm
I got off at Aldershot station and walked ~30 mins to the east entrance of the park, but there were bus options from the station.


The Nearby Royal Botanical Gardens/Grindstone Marsh were surprisingly lovely actually. Plenty muddy but quite serene.
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Shortsighted on November 19, 2021, 05:03:58 pm
Thanks for the reply. Aldershot? Really? Wow, right out of Sherlock Holmes. I love it. I like serene. I can do serene real good. Close your eyes now and mantra ... sssserreeen. Repeat ten times.  If I were a woman I would like to be named Serena and I would cultivate serenity.
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Dinusaur on November 20, 2021, 06:07:29 pm
Alex, congrats for making the trip and finding the bird. You should subscribe to eBird alert for your local area for rarities or even general bird sighting. There's also Ontario Birds on Discord for real-time alerts. Here's a link to the discussion on Discord in this forum:


New Birding App for Ontario Birders (outdoorontario.net) (https://outdoorontario.net/index.php?topic=17999.msg70951#msg70951)
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: alex on November 21, 2021, 10:16:16 am
Thank you, I will! Appreciate the link and advice.
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Axeman on November 22, 2021, 04:43:32 pm
Thanks for posting! Now find a barn owl please~ We need more pics


Has anyone on this board found a barn owl? Someone I generally accept as being knowledgeable about birding told me that there are 6 barn owl pairs in Ontario.....once going back a few decades I stayed at a resort on Manitoulin Island and they had a stuffed Barn Owl.....never got the story on it....at the time I had no idea that they were not abundant up here at all.
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Dinusaur on November 22, 2021, 06:38:28 pm
Thanks for posting! Now find a barn owl please~ We need more pics


Has anyone on this board found a barn owl? Someone I generally accept as being knowledgeable about birding told me that there are 6 barn owl pairs in Ontario.....once going back a few decades I stayed at a resort on Manitoulin Island and they had a stuffed Barn Owl.....never got the story on it....at the time I had no idea that they were not abundant up here at all.


Seeing a wild Barn Owl in Ontario will be a miracle. But people go to see a captive one in Canadian Raptor Conservancy in Vittoria near Port Dover after paying an entrance fee.
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: alex on November 23, 2021, 09:33:02 am
There was a Barn Owl in Mountsberg Raptor Conservatory in Halton also when I visited in the summer.


I have a hard time finding Screech Owls in the wild, let alone a Barn Owl!
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: lovemypt on November 23, 2021, 04:52:26 pm
Barn owls are extremely rare and not reported in Ontario due crowds they would cause... rumors of them being around Fort Erie area and down by Pelee persist.  There was an article couple years ago in  a paper about wind turbines being placed in a area which locals were protesting,  article seems normal ..until it was stated that the turbines could effect the nesting barn owls in a barn nearby..... the article still brought peolpe looking even thought it was determined the owls hadn't used the barn for several years
I was so determined to see a barn owl , I book a trip to Arizona to see them...but that has all changed due to covid now
Keep looking and maybe someday in Ontario.....last year one was spotted in Presquille park in Oct  for one day, drew crowds of 200 birders..I wasn't one of them , didn't heard until after and this year one was spotted and photographed up by Kincardine area/.... not sure if these birds were local breeders or just vagrants migrating
Title: Re: Two and half Life Birds
Post by: Axeman on November 24, 2021, 12:44:16 pm
Well it's on my list.....just after Ivory Billed Woodpecker......