Yard Birding: Arpil 24-28


April 24 -

Pretty quiet day, highlights would probably be Hermit Thrush and Common Loon. I also had a cooperative Yellow-rumped Warbler flycatching in front of my house, which provided me with a nice photo opportunity.
- Yellow-rumped Warbler



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- April 25

Because it looked to be a decent morning for weather, I got up early (6:30am) and tried a skywatch. There weren't that many birds moving, but the birding was pretty decent and it turned out to be worthwhile to wake up. Highlights were;

- 2 American Black Ducks
- 4 Wild Turkeys (surprisingly rare in my yard)
- 3 Great Blue Herons
- 1 Northern Goshawk
- 2 Rusty Blackbirds

The Northern Goshawk was definitely the highlight if the morning. I was watching blackbirds flying over and was just about to calls it quits and head inside, when a freaking adult goshawk ripped out of the forest beside me and flew right overhead! Unfortunately my camera response time was a bit slow and I only got pics of it flying away..
- Northern Goshawk 

- Goshawk of the north 
- Great Blue Heron 

- Rusty Blackbird


Nothing else of note all day besides a Red-shouldered Hawk that drifted over in the afternoon.

New additions to year yearlist;
- Wild Turkey 
- Rusty Blackbird
Yard yearlist total at April 25th - 84
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- April 26

The day started off rather cool with NE winds, so I didn't really bird in the early morning. I did try a skywatch around noon, which turned out to be fun even though there weren't that many birds. Birds seen included;

- 1 Common Loon
- 1 Northern Harrier
- 2 Broad-winged Hawks
- 3 Belted Kingfisher
- 1 Barn Swallow


The Broad-winged Hawks appeared to be the pair that nests in my neighbourhood and they were displaying over my yard all day. It was my first time hearing BWHA call this spring and it was exciting to watch the pair soar and dive over the forest all afternoon. A few times they came close enough for some pictures..
- Broad-winged Hawk 

- BWHA

- Belted Kingfisher 

- BEKIs
- Common Loon 
New additions to year yearlist;
 - Barn Swallow
 Yard yearlist total at April 26th - 85
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- April 27

I didn't really do a dedicated skywatch as I was fairly busy all day. Highlight would probably be a flyover Common Merganser.


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- April 28

For the first time in what seemed like weeks the forecast looked promising (S winds, warm temps), so I woke up at 6:20am and went outside to see what was moving. It turned out to be a decent morning and I had 40 species by 8:00am (it started raining then so I called it quits). Highlights were;

- 150 Canada Geese
- 2 American Wigeon
- 2 American Black Ducks
- 3 Green-winged Teal
- 10 Double-crested Cormorant
- 1 American Kestral
- 1 Lapland Longspur (yard lifer!)
- 280 Red-winged Blackbirds
- 18 Rusty Blackbirds

The day was pretty quiet after the morning, but I did have a group of Northern Pintails flyover in the evening.
- Northern Pintails
New additions to year yearlist; 
- Northern Pintail
- Lapland Longspur  
Yard yearlist total at April 28th - 87
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That's it for now!

Yard Birding: April 14-23


I was planning on updating this every few days, but the last week has been horrible for weather & I've hardly taken any photos. Things look like they will improve in the next week though, so I'm just going to write a quick post so I don't get too far behind ..

- April 14


April blizzard time! There was wet snow/strong wind all day, so birding wasn't very good. The sun came out briefly in the afternoon, so I went out for a quick skywatch.
Link to my eBird list Here

That was it for birding!

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- April 15

Even less noteworthy than the 14th. The weather was slightly better than the previous day (not hard), but it was still cold and birdless. Highlight was either a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker or a a White-throated Sparrow at the feeder.

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- April 16th

Still cold (high of 2°C) & birdless (seems to be a theme). Highlight was either hearing a Common Loon calling from the wetland down the road, or flushing an American Woodcock in my yard,

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- April 17th

Quite balmy outisde compared the previous day, it was almost t-shirt weather when the temp peaked at 6°C in the afternoon.
In the morning I biked down the road to the local wetland, where I saw 38 species including my first Blue-winged Teal and American Bittern of the year. Some other highlights were;  Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Great Egret & Wilson's Snipe.

The yard was fairly quiet all afternoon, with the most notable birds being Tree Swallow and Winter Wren.

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- April 18th

Finally some South winds! I woke up early for a skywatch, which turned out to be pretty dead.. Highlights were Common Loon and Belted Kingfisher. The afternoon turned out to be decent though and I had some flyovers including;

- 9 American Black Ducks
- 1 Green-winged Teal
- 1 Killdear
- 1 Common Loon
- 1 Great Blue Heron
- 3 Bald Eagles
- 2 Red-tailed Hawks
- Great Blue Heron 

- Bald Eagle


New additions to Yard yearlist: Green-winged Teal
Yard yearlist total at April 18th - 78


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- April 19

The day started off rather cold/birdless, but things started picking up around noon when the sun came out and I turned out getting my highest species since before 14th. My best birds were;

- Sharp-shinned Hawk
- Tree Swallow
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- Hermit Thrush
- Yellow-rumped Warbler

New additions to Yard year list : Hermit Thrush

 Yard yearlist total at April 21st - 79


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- April 20

Since it was warm(ish. 4°C), I got up early again for a morning skywatch. It was fairly quiet, but I did have 2 Common Loons 5 Yellow-rumped Warblers fly over. There was a big push of northbound Canada Geese (600) just after sunrise, but unfortunately there weren't any other goose species mixed in with them. Also of note were 2 Fox Sparrows below my feeder.
- Yellow-rumped Warbler 
- Canada Geese

I had a decent skywatch around noon, with the best bird being a Eastern Bluebird (full list here).

The best birding of the day actually was in the evening however, when I did some yard birding from 7-8pm. Some of the highlights were;

- 2 Wood Ducks
- 2 American Black Ducks
- 5 Bufflehead (BUFF is surprisingly rare for my yard, I've only had them a few times.)
- 4 Greater Yellowlegs
- 1 Common Loon
- 2 Great Egrets
- Bufflehead 

- Greater Yellowlegs 


- Great Egrets 


 New additions to Yard yearlist: Bufflehead, Greater Yellowlegs  
 Yard yearlist total at April 21st - 81

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- April 22

Back to cold weather! The wind shifted from South to North overnight, which sadly killed the nocturnal migration. I didn't bother getting up early and basically didn't do any birding until noon, when I decided to do a quick hawkwatch when the sun came out. I was surprised to get birds with the N wind, although the movement was kind of odd (all birds west/south). My raptor tally is listed below

- 7 Turkey Vultures
- 4 Northern Harriers
- 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
- 1 Cooper's Hawk
- 3 Bald Eagles
- 1 Broad-winged Hawk (weirdly enough, I've seen my first Broad-winged Hawk of the year on April 22nd three years in a row!)
- 2 Red-tailed Hawks
- TV

- Sharpie

- Cooper's Hawk 

- Northern Harrier 

- Broad-winged Hawk

 New additions to Yard yearlist:  Broad-winged Hawk  
 Yard yearlist total at April 22nd - 82

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- April 23

Decent birding in the morning, even though there weren't any new migrants around. Just going to link my eBird list below.

eBird list 


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Anyway that's in for now, just thought I'd write a quick update. The next few days look to be ok for weathee (9-11°C), however the wind is still northeast so I'm not expecting too much in the way of migrant. Tuesday next week could be good though! If the forecast holds (lol), we might actually get some real south wind for a change.
(Windy.com)

Yard birding : April 11-13th


April 11th

The day started off cold and overcast (1°C) and there weren't many birds around. The sun came out around 11am though and activity started to pick up soon after that. I went outside for a quick skywatch and saw the following;

- 1 Common Loon
- 26 Double-crested Cormorants
- 50 Turkey Vultures
- 1 Northern Harrier 
- 3 Sharp-shinned Hawks
- 1 Cooper's Hawk
- 2 Northern Goshawks
- 17 Bald Eagles 
- 1 American Kestral

- Northern Goshawk (this continues my pattern of bad gos pics)

- Sharp-shinned Hawk 

- Double-crested Cormorant 

The wind shifted just after 1pm and it clouded over again, so that was it for hawkwatching. I did hear a Great Horned Owl in the evening, which was my first one in a few months.

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April 12th 

Got up early to see if anything new was around, but didn't turn up anything besides a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Since I was already up, I decided to walk down the road to Kiah's Marsh to see if there were any new arrivals there. Again it quiet for birds, however I did have my first Greater Yellowlegs of the year fly over. 

Mid-afternoon the wind shifted to the South, so I decided to skywatch for a bit. It turned out to be fairly decent and I ended up with 44 species for my effort. Not overwhelming numbers, but it was nice just to see migrating birds. Highlights below..

- 3 Tundra Swans
- 10 American Black Ducks
- 1 Pied-billed Grebe (yard FOY. Heard calling from Kiah's Marsh)
- 2 Sandhill Cranes
- 1 Killdeer
- 1 Common Loon
-  32 Turkey Vultures
- 4 Northern Harriers
- 4 Sharp-shinned Hawks
- 12 Bald Eagles
- 2 Red-tailed Hawks
- 2 Belted Kingfishers
- 2 American Kestrals
- 3 Merlins
- 2 Tree Swallows
- 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
- Tundra Swans


- Bald Eagle 

- Northern Harrier

- TVs

- American Kestral 

- Yellow-rumped Warbler 


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April 13th

A huge low pressure system swept through Ontario with winds up to 100 kph all day, so I was hoping some birds got blown up with the storm. I got up early and birded around the yard for a bit and while it was quieter than I had hoped, I did see some new migrants including; Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Fox Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow.

- Chipping Sparrow 

- Northern Flicker


It rained on and off all day and the temperature slowly dropped, so birding wasn't very pleasant. I tried skywatching a few times, but didn't see much besides a Great Egret.

I added 7 species to my yard yearlist over the weekend, bringing me up to a mighty 77.
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That's it for now! This week looks like it'll be cold with N wind.. so I probably won't see many new birds.. Hopefully the weather improves soon!

Yard birding: April 8th & 9th

Just a quick update with recent sightings..

April 8th

Woke up at sunrise to see if any bird were around.. as it turned out, not really. After an hour of birding I had seen 31 species, but only a few of these were actually migrating. There were hundreds of geese and blackbirds flying north, but not much else on the migrant front. Some of the mornings highlights below;

- Common Goldeneye
- Great Blue Heron
- Sandhill Crane
- Common Loon (3 north in a group)
- Belted Kingfisher
- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (FOY)
- Great Blue Herons 

- Common Loons

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April 9th

The wind was north/northwest and the sky was overcast in the morning, so I didn't bother waking up early. I walked down my road to "Kiah's Marsh" and found 2 Tundra Swans and a flock of American Wigeon, which was nice. I honestly was expecting the day to be a bust for birds, in the early aftenoon the sun came out and I noticed a few vultures flying north. I grabbed my camera and bins and walked out in my yard for a quick skywatch, hoping to get one raptor if I was lucky. I ended up spending over an hour hawkwatching as it was fairly productive. Highlights listed below;

- 3 Sandhill Crane
- 1 Common Loon
- 11 Double-crested Cormorant (yard FOY)
- 14 Turkey Vulture
- 1 Northern Harrier
- 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
- 2 Bald Eagle
- 1 American Kestral
- 1 Merlin
- 1 Peregrine Falcon (yard FOY, and only the 5th one I've had in my yard)

Some pictures below..
- Sandhill Cranes

- Turkey Vulture 

- TV

- Northern Harrier 

- Peregrine Falcon 

- Peregrine Falcon 


The next few days call to be cold with strong north wind.. so I'm doubting I will add much here.

Bruce migration update: Late March

It's been awhile since my last post about Bruce County, and since then lots of birds have arrived. Another new development since my last post is COVID-19 in Ontario.. which has certainly changed a lot in a few short weeks. My usual April birding experience invloves quite a bit of birding in the southern part of the county and outings with the Bruce Birding Club, both which will not be happening for me this year (Just to clarify, there are far more dire impacts of the virus than missed birding, but since my blog is about birds, that's what I'm focusing on). Anyway this means I'll be birding my yard and 5 Mile Radius a lot more than usual this spring (Edit - down to my yard/road now..).
I am participating in a few challenges for yard/patch birding already, so I decided I'm going to attempt a yard/5MR big year. For now anyway, this will be much easier to accomplish than my seemingly annual Bruce Big Year. My goal is to tie or pass my current all time yard/5MR lists, which sit at 171 and 210 respectively.. before next year. This will be hard to accomplish, but it'll be fun to have a challenge to work at and will help keep me busy during the pandemic. To keep content up on my blog, I'll try to do posts frequently about new additions or just good days of birding. Let's see if I can keep it up.

Anyway on to the point of this post, recent migration in.

Raptor migration has picked up in the last week, however the winds haven't been favorable so I haven't had a good hawk flight yet.

To date my raptor numbers are;

Turkey Vulture – 31
Northern Harrier – 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Cooper's Hawk - 5
Northern Goshawk – 1 (+1 adult that's been wintering around here)
Bald Eagle – 48
Red-shouldered Hawk – 3
Ret-tailed Hawk – 4
Rough-legged Hawk – 6
American Kestral - 3
Merlin - 4

So yeah, not too bad.. but still quite low for number so far. Hopefully it'll pick up in the next week or so. Some raptor pictures below..

- Bald Eagle

- Bald Eagle

- Red-shouldered Hawk

- Rough-legged Hawk


- Merlin  

 As the inland lakes and rivers open up again, the waterfowl have started to return in mass. Ring-necked ducks are abundant, with smaller numbers of both scaup species of Redhead hanging around.
- Ring-necked Ducks 

 On the puddle duck front;  Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, American Widgeon and Northern Shoveler have all returned in the last week and Wood Ducks are starting to trickle through as well.
I've had a few Great Blue Herons flying over my house in the past few days, which were my first ones this year.
- Great Blue Herons

American Woodcocks are displaying almost all night now and it's a fun daily activity to watch them in the evenings. I tried taking a video a few days ago and got ok results.

 Tree Swallows, Northern Flickers, Belted Kingfishers, Fox Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers have all arrived in the last week and lots of new migrants will be here every day now.
- Belted Kingfisher 

Spring migration is upon us!


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