Yard birding - Oct 16 - 27th

- Oct 16

A rather pleasant morning weather wise, sunny with a warm breeze from the southwest. The birding wasn't that great though - 32 species during my morning watch. Morning flight was OK numbers wise, no big highlights but it was still fun birding. totals listed below;

- 2 Eastern Bluebirds

- 70 American Robins

- 20 American Pipits

- 13 Purple Finches

- 45 Pine Siskins

- 2 Lapland Longspurs

- 2 Chipping Sparrows

- 1 Eastern Meadowlarks

- 600 Red-winged Blackbirds

- 55 Rusty Blackbirds

- 300 Common Grackles

- 70 Yellow-rumped Warblers


There was also a Fox Sparrow singing.. kinda cool.

- Yellow-rumped Warblers

- Eastern Meadowlark


- Oct 17/18

writeoff.. out of yard both days


- Oct 19 

Pretty similar to the 16th in terms of species diversity (as I got 32 species again), but the overall numbers were a lot lower. The birding felt pretty slow,  but still a decent morning flight for late October. Totals listed bellooowwww........

- 3 Horned Larks

- 17 Eastern Bluebirds

- 8 American Robins

- 5 American Pipits

- 3 Purple Finches

- 35 Pine Siskins

- 2 Lapland Longspurs

- 1 Fox Sparrow (a rather uncommon morning flight bird)

- 4 Eastern Meadowlarks

- 150 Red-winged Blackbirds

- 26 Rusty Blackbirds

- 300 Common Grackles

- 16 Yellow-rumped Warblers

- Pine Siskin

- Rusty Blackbirds

- Rusties


- Fox Sparrow


A lingering Black-throated Green Warbler was the highlight of the morning.

Black-throated Green Warbler


- Oct 20

The day started off with a singing Fox Sparrow, so I took that as a good sign for my morning. The wind had shifted overnight and was predicted to be coming from north all day, so I had high hopes for some migration action. One of my first morning flight birds was a Common Redpoll, which was new for the yard yearlist. Another half hour of blackbirds and pipits passed before my next highlight... which came in the form of a lone Evening Grosbeak heading south. Shortly after that I had 5 more, then another 2 later in the morning, the finches are moving! The biggest surprise of the day didn't come until later though, when I looked up to see a Northern Shrike fairly high up bombing south! I've never seen this species actively migrating before, so I was quite excited. I whipped my camera up and rattled a few shots off before it disappeared over the treeline. I started getting a few migrating raptors around 10am, so I decided to stay out until noon to see if a flight got going. It kind of fizzled out around 11am, but I saw 25 raptors so I was happy enough. Totals from the morning flight listed below;

- 6 Mallards

- 1 Northern Pintail

- 8 Sandhill Cranes

- 2 Common Loons

- 2 Northern Harriers

- 7 Bald Eagles

- 9 Red-tailed Hawks

- 7 Rough-legged Hawks

- 2 American Kestrals

- 1 Northern Shrike

- 350 American Crows

- 15 European Starlings

- 40 American Robins

- 25 American Pipits

-8 Evening Grosbeaks

- 1 Purple Finch

- 2 Common Redpolls

- 150 Pine Siskins

- 18 American Goldfinches

- 600 Red-winged Blackbirds

- 15 Rusty Blackbirds

- 900 Common Grackles

- 2 Yellow-rumped Warblers


One of the best mornings I've had this month for sure!

- Northern Shrike





In the evening I was outside and heard the distinctive tooting of a Northern Saw-whet Owl, not a bad way to end a great day! Oddly enough, I had a NSWO on October 20th last year too..

Owl recording here

- Oct 21
Rainy/no birding to speak of.


- Oct 22
Some Fox Sparrows, a Winter Wren and a Northern Harrier were the only birds of note.


- Oct 23
A rather crazy weather day for late October... 20° C!! The wind was very strong out of the south, so ear birding was pretty challenging. I only tallied 19 species during my morning watch, with the only highlight being large American Pipit numbers (270).
- American Pipit



- Oct 24
I woke up to what I'd call ideal weather for fall birding here.. sunny and light north wind. The first bird of the day was a drumming Ruffed Grouse, which  was a nice start. I then spotted a late Nashville Warbler in a tree beside my house, so that was cool. There was a crazy number of Fox Sparrows hopping around in leaves in my front yard, I ended up with a conservative count of 21! 
Morning flight took a bit to get going and was dominated by blackbirds and Pine Siskins. American Crows were pushing south all morning, and I ended up recording close to 1000 by the end of the day. Redpolls were also moving through, although still in quite small nunbers (groups of 2-4). Raptors started moving around 10am, but then a few bands of light rain came through and shut down the flight. Luckily the sun came back out by 11am and the raptors started up again. The numbers weren't great.. but the diversity was nice so I'm not complaining. My biggest highlight of the day came around 9am though, when a flock of Canada Geese went over with 4 white geese mixed in with them. 2 were Ross's Geese (yard lifer!) and the other 2 were either Ross's or SnowxRoss's hybrids, I just didn't see them well enough to be sure. I ended up recording 52 species, one of my best late October days by far.
Morning flight/hawkwatch totals below.
- 2 Ross's Geese 
- 2 white goose sp
- 360 Canada Geese
- 25 Mallards
- 3 American Black Ducks
- 11 Sandhill Cranes
- 3 Greater Yellowlegs 
- 1 Common Loon 
- 4 Turkey Vultures 
- 6 Northern Harriers
- 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks
- 8 Bald Eagles
- 1 Red-shouldered Hawk
- 15 Red-tailed Hawks 
- 4 Rough-legged Hawks
- 1 Merlin 
- 800 American Crows 
- 5 Horned Larks
- 30 American Robins
- 15 American Pipits
- 1 Evening Grosbeak
- 14 Purple Finches 
- 14 Common Redpolls
- 270 Pine Siskins
- 1 Snow Bunting
- 400 Red-winged Blackbirds 
- 35 Rusty Blackbirds
- 800 Common Grackles
- 3 Yellow-rumped Warblers 

- 3,495 individual birds

Not a bad morning!

Ross's and Canada Geese



- Rough-legged Hawk

- Nashville Warbler

- Red-tailed Hawk

- Northern Harrier

- Red-shouldered Hawk

- Common Redpoll

- Rough-legged Hawk

- Canada Goose pretending it's a Sandhill Crane

This "abieticola" Red-tailed Hawk was a nice treat too.
- abieticola Red-tailed Hawk




- Oct 25
Out of the yard all morning..nothing to noteeeee.


- Oct 26
A damp, rainy morning.. only highlight was 65 Evening Grosbeaks at my feeder. Later in the day I had a Pine Grosbeaks down the road from my place... so close, yet so far.
- Evening Grosbeak


- Oct 27
Another rainy morning. Only noteworthy birds were; Evening Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, Fox Sparrow and Northern Cardinal (4 cardinals!! Highcount for my yard..).
Later in the afternoon I was outside doing chores when I heard Bohemian Waxwings calling above me! I whirled around to see a flock of 21 waxwings circle a few times, then land beside a stand of junipers. I ran inside and grabbed my camera, and luckily the birds were still there when I came back. They didn't seem to mind my presence at all, I was able to approach fairly close for photos. Then, as quickly as they appeared, they took off and headed north. I've only had BOWAs once before here, so I was pretty stoked to see these birds.

- Bohemian Waxwings




- Snow Bunting



That's a wrap for this post!

New additions to yard yearlist since my last post; 
- Common Redpoll
- Evening Grosbeak
- Northern Saw-whet Owl
- Ross's Goose
- Bohemian Waxwing
 Yard yearlist a October 27th -173

Yardbirding: October 1 - 11th

I haven't done one one of these posts yet this month, so I'll do one now before I get too backlogged.  The birding has been quite good in my yard this October, although I haven't added many species to my yearlist. 
I've always enjoyed October on the Bruce, the biting insects are gone, the days are a nice and cool and it's one of the better months for overall bird numbers. Most of the warblers are gone, but the massive nunbers of waterfowl, blackbirds and sparrows make up for that. 

There have been a lot of finches migrating recently, with Pine Siskin stealing the show by far. Some days I've had over 300 flying south over my yard and I hear their calls almost everywhere I go in Bruce. Weird to think that my first Bruce bird for 2020 wasn't until July.. now they are abundant. I saw a term coined "pismig" on Facebook (short for Pine Siskin Migration).. so if you see that in my posts from now on that's what it means..

Anyway on with the post!


- Oct 1 
I only birded the yard for about 25 minutes in the morning (as I had to go out), but it was decent and I ended up with 26 species. Highlights were;  Blue-headed Vireo, Lincoln's Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird, Tennessee, Orange-crowned and Magnolia Warblers.
I was back home after lunch, but there were hardly any birds around as it was windy and overcast. Around 3pm the wind shifted to north and the sun came out, so I went out for an impromptu skywatch to see what was around. In the hour I spent in my yard I tallied 35 species, which was way more than I was expecting for this time of day. I had a small burst of raptor activity and saw the following;
- 25 Turkey Vultures 
- 1 Osprey
- 3 Northern Harriers
- 3 Sharp-shinned Hawks
- 1 Cooper's Hawk 
- 1 Red-tailed Hawk 
- 7 Bald Eagles
- 1 Merlin
- 1 Peregrine Falcon 

- Pine Siskim

- Bald Eagle 

- Bald Eagles

- Northern Harrier 


Not a bad afternoon!


- Oct 2
I was up at sunrise and out in the yard to find a chilly (7°C) morning waiting for me. Despite the brisk wind out of the north, it was quite a beautiful morning and was mostly sunny. I ended up spending over 4 hours outside, simply because the birding was so good I didn’t want to go in. I ended up with a respectable 56 spices, not bad for my yard in October!
Vismig (short of visible migration. aka birds actively migrating overhead) was very good, totals listed below..

- 160 Canada Geese
- 80 Mallards
- 1 American Black Duck
- 3 Sandhills Cranes
- 7 Common Loons
- 3 Double-crested Cormorants
- 1 Great Blue Heron 
- 8 Turkey Vultures
- 3 Northern Harriers
- 5 Sharp-shinned Hawks
- 2 Cooper’s Hawks
- 4 Bald Eagles
- 2 Red-tailed Hawks
- 1 Yellow-bellies Sapsucker
- 4 Northern Flickers 
- 1 American Kestrel 
- 35 Blue Jays
- 7 Red-breasted Nuthatches
- 65 American Robins
- 12 Cedar Waxwings
- 35 American Pipits
- 14 Purple Finches
- 65 Pine Siskins
- 1 Lapland Longspur
- 2 Chipping Sparrows
- 5 Red-winged Blackbirds
- 410 (!!) Rusty Blackbirds
- 60 Common Grackles
- 1 Nashville Warbler
- 8 Palm Warblers
- 1 Orange-crowned Warbler
- 85 Yellow-rumped Warblers
- 1 Wilson’s Warbler

- 1,244 birds total 

Pretty insane for a morning here, and Wilson’s warb was new for the yard yearlist so that was bonus.. I thought I was going to miss Wilson’s as it was getting late in the season.

Some photos from the morning..
- Red-tailed Hawk

- Rusty Blackbird

- Great Blue Heron 

- One of the White-throated Sparrows that was hopping around my yard all morning.

- Orange-crowned Warbler 

- American Robin

- Red-breasted Nuthatches

- Dark-eyed Junco 

- Rusty Blackbirds 

- Yellow-rumped Warbler 



- Oct 3
Out of yard all day..


- Oct 4
A wet and rainy morning.. Swamp Sparrow, Blue-headed Vireo, some pipits and a Ruffed Grouse.. nothing crazy.
I successfully chased a Loggerhead Shrike in Bruce that afternoon though, so I can’t complain.


- Oct 5
Up at sunrise to one of those crisp fall mornings I love so much. Marginally warmer than the 3rd at 9 degrees, but I was bundled up so it wasn’t that bad. The sun came out around 9am so that warmed things up. Like the 3rd I put in about 4 hours, and while my species total was lower this time (41 vs 56) the birding was still very productive and it was just a fun morning to be out. Vismig was decent again.. with totals listed below..
- 25 Canada Geese
- 2 Common Loons
- 45 Turkey Vultures
- 3 Sharp-shinned Hawks
- 1 Cooper’s Hawk
- 1 Bald Eagle
- 1 Red-shouldered Hawk
- 2 Red-tailed Hawks
- 1 Peregrine Falcon
- 80 European Starlings
- 16 American Robins
- 135 American Pipits
- 22 Purple Finches
- 1 White-winged Crossbill
- 160 Pine Siskins (lots of pismig!)
- 5 Lapland Longspurs
- 1 Eastern Meadowlark (rare for the yard)
- 5 Red-winged Blackbirds
- 25 Rusty Blackbirds
- 90 Common Grackles
- 2 Palm Warblers
- 118 Yellow-rumped Warblers

- Red-tailed Hawk

- Bald Eagle

- Peregrine Falcon 


- TVs

- Yellow-rumped warb

- Red-shouldered Hawk 

- bad Lapland Longspur photo

- Common Loon


- even peregrines gotta poop!



- Oct 6/7
Not really sure what happened, but I didn’t really bird the yard these days.


- Oct 8
I was up at sunrise, but the sun sure wasn’t! It was overcast all morning with a few brief bands of rain passing overhead, which made for a rather wet and uncomfortable hour of birding. There was still some vismig action though, so that helped me take my mind off the lack of feeling in my fingers. Totals listed below;
- 6 Green-winged Teal
- 3 Sandhill Cranes
- 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
- 1 Horned Lark
- 1 Eastern Bluebird
- 45 American Robins
- 35 American Pipits
- 5 Purple Finches
- 80 Pine Siskins
- 4 Lapland Longspurs
- 140 Red-winged Balckbirds
- 15 Rusty Blackbirds
- 5 Common Grackles
- 3 Palm Warblers
- 120 Yellow-rumped Warbler

- Lapland Longspur 


On my way inside a nice rainbow came out, so that was cool..



- Oct 9
Out of yard again..


- Oct 10
An absolutely terrible morning.. rainy with VERY strong west winds. I went outside fot 20 minutes that morning and I only saw 7 birds.. that's individuals too, not species..


- Oct 11
Much better than the previous day, although that was a pretty low bar! It was a sunny morning with wind out of the east, and although the species total was low (29 species) the overall movement was decent. Morning flight mainly consisted of Pine Siskins (much pismig), but there were a few other things mixex in. Totals below; 
- 11 Sandhill Cranes
- 2 Turkey Vultures 
- 2 Eastern Bluebirds
- 60 American Robins
- 1 American Pipit
- 14 Purple Finches 
- 260 Pine Siskins
- 3 American Tree Sparrows (my first of the season)
- 60 Red-winged Blackbirds 
- 12 Rusty Blackbirds 
- 20 Common Grackles 
- 17 Yellow-rumped Warblers

Some pismig photos below



New additions to yard yearlist since my last post; 
- Wilson's Warbler
 Yard yearlist a October 11th -167  



That's it for this post :)

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