Franklin's Gull at Kincardine

 Two days ago (Sept 15th) Dustin Young found a Franklin's Gull at the Kincardine Harbour. This bird represents the 2nd record for Bruce County, with the first coming from the same location in 2014.

I was down to check it out the following morning and arrived at the harbour mid-morning. I dipped on the gull unfortunately, but there were 2 Black-bellied Plovers on the pier..

That evening the bird was refound, which made missing it earlier in the day even worse! The gull was only seen after 6pm on both days, when it would come in with the large flocks of Ring-billed Gulls that feed in farm fields all day. There are numerous fields favoured by gulls in the area, so I felt it would a better idea to go to the harbour in the evening and wait for it to come in.

I arrived shortly after 5pm this evening and joined a few local birders in the search. We scanned the gulls for at least a hour and a half and didn't see the bird in question. I did find a Great Lakes Gull though (herring x great black-backed hybrid), which was kind of cool. 

It was just before 7pm and we were getting rather desperate, when Bob Taylor spotted Frank land on the end of the pier. Success! I walked down to the path adjacent the gull and rattled off a few photos before a boat flushed everything. This was my first Bruce lifer since June, so I was pretty stoked see this western species.. and I really didn't want to dip twice ;)

Some of the better pictures below

Yardbirding: August 30th - September 6th

After a few days of good weather, migration has really been ramping up around here and it's beginning to feel like fall. 

I also joined a "yardsquad" challenge last week, which is as close as you can get to a competitive team sport in birding. There are 7 teams, each with 11 players scattered around the world. The goal is to see as many species as possible in your radius (up to 5 miles), between August 24th and the end of October. Your eBird lists are shared to a joint team account and the team with the highest collective species list at the end of the challenge wins.
To make the teams a sorting algorithm that uses eBird data made a "predicted species list" for each player, which is meant to even it out. My area was predicted to have 94 species during the challenge.. and I passed that in the first week haha. My goal is to got to 150, which is totally possible I think. Below I included a link to the the "scoreboard"..

It's something fun to do this fall anyway!

Now on with the post..

- Aug 30th 
I was out in the yard from sunrise until 08:30ish. It was a fairly cold morning (well relatively, 16°C) and the birds seemed to take awhile to "wake up". There weren't a ton of birds around, but I still managed to get 39 species while I was out. Highlights were Philadelphia Vireo and a lone Pine Siskin that flew overhead.. only my 3rd one in Bruce this year actually. 
Other sightings included;

- 2 American Black Ducks
- 2 Rock Pigeons (very uncommon for the yard)
- 2 Eastern Wood-pewees
- 1 Cape May Warbler 
- 2 Bay-breasted Warblers
- 2 Scarlet Tanagers
- Philadelphia Vireo 

That evening I had a few Common Nighthawks, an Eastern Screech-owl and a big (over 60) flock of Bobolinks...

- Aug 31
Up at sunrise and again I stayed out until around 08:30.. and I got 39 species again!
Kind of weird.. different birds than the previous day though, including a nice Olive-sided Flycatcher. There was also a bit of a morning flight going on, so that was cool. 
Highlights listed below;

- 6 Ring-necked Ducks (early and rather random)
- 1 Rock Pigeon (getting common!)
- 2 Sandhill Cranes
- 1 Red-tailed Hawk
- 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
- 16 Purple Finches
- 2 Black-and-white Warblers
- 16 Tennessee Warblers
-  5 Cape May Warblers 
- Olive-sided Flycatcher 

- Sept 1
Out at 06:40.. which seemed early to me, since I had been up late the previous night listening for flight calls. I recorded 41 species on my morning watch, but it felt slow compared to the last few days (even though I had more species). Oh yeah, there were also swarms of blood thirsty mosquitoes that chased me all morning.. the worst they've been all year actually.. fun...
Highlights included;

- 16 American Black Ducks
- 8 Wilson's Snipe 
- 1 Common Loon
- 1 Great Blue Heron 
- 1 Osprey 
- 1 Cooper's Hawk
- 1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (singing!)
- 16 Bobolinks 
- 8 Tennessee Warblers 
- Great Blue Heron 
- Tennessee Warbler 
- Osprey 

Not too shabby I guess. 

- Sept 2
It was raining in the morning so I slept in and didn't really go outside until the afternoon.. when I saw a grand total of 13 species (nothing exciting besides more mosquitoes).
That night was more productive however, as I heard a Barred Owl, an Eastern Screech-owl and my first Veery of the fall.

- Sept 3/4
Away from the yard for both days..

- Sept 5
I was out before sunrise and was greeted by the nocturnal flight calls of Swainson's Thrushes, not a bad start to the day. I missed Swainson's in the spring, so this was a new addition to the yard yearlist! It was a cool morning (16°C), which seemed to have a negative impact on the mosquitoe numbers and I was barely "bugged" all morning. I ended up staying out until 10:00, as the birding was productive and the weather was nice. There was a decent morning flight, my best this season in the yard and I ended up with a solid 51 species. 
A Sharp-shinned Hawk spent most of the morning playing hide-and-seek with the local Blue Jays, but it seemed like nobody could figure out who was "it"
Instead of highlight birds I'm going to list my morning flight totals, because that was the highlight for me..

Species | number of individuals 
Mallard - 2
American Black Duck - 1
Common Loon - 1
Blue-headed Vireo - 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 11
Swainon's Thrush - 2 
Cedar Waxwing - 25
Purple Finch - 11
Pine Siskin - 1
Bobolink - 1  
Red-winged Blackbird - 6
Common Grackle - 4
Ovenbird - 1 
Black-and-white Warbler - 3--
Tennessee Warbler - 12
Nashville Warbler - 4
American Redstart - 3
Cape May Warbler - 4
Magnolia Warbler - 4
Northern Parula - 1
Bay-breasted Warbler - 9
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1 
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 3 
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1

Not a bad count for my yard!
- Blue-headed Vireo
- Red-breasted Nuthatch
- Black-throated Blue Warbler 
- Blue Jay
- Sharpie

- Sept 6
As usual, I was out in the yard from sunrise - 8:30. The morning flight was pretty blah and I only had about 15 warblers (mainly Bay-breasted and Yellow-rumped), as well as a lone Common Loon. I was surprised to see I ended up with 40 species, but they really add up quickly this time of year. 
The big highlight of the morning was the Purple Finch movement however. I usually see about 5 or 10 a morning, but on this day I had 68 birds! Besides the 2 "locals", they all appeared to be actively migrating south ~ I guess the finches really are moving!  

 New additions to yard yearlist since my last post;  
- Lesser Yellowlegs
- Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 
- Swainson's Thrush  
  Yard yearlist at September 6th - 161

 Also I was mainly doing What's This Bird Wednesday as a way to put content out over the summer.. so, I'm going to do it once a month now.

What's This Bird Wednesday

Last weeks answers;
#1 - Black Tern
#2 - Eastern Pheobe
#3 - Common Raven
#4 - Sandhill Crane 
#5 - Red-throated Loon
#6 - Grey-cheeked Thrush
#7 - Black-crowned Night-heron 

Now for this weeks quiz!
# 1

My 2022 Big Year From a Stats perspective

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