Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grousing in Pukaskwa

I came upon both grouse species - a pair of each - in the front country campground of Pukaskwa this weekend. The two male Spruce Grouse were involved in a very lengthy border dispute that involved much strutting and clucking.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Harris's Sparrows passing through (updated Sept 23)

The Harris's Sparrow is something of a novelty to birders in southern Ontario where the species is very rarely seen. According to Alan Wormington, the species is a regular autumn migrant from Marathon westwards.

Yesterday, two were found in Marathon. One was (and remains) in our yard in the company of a loose flock of 100+ sparrows (White-crowned, White-throated, Chipping, Clay-colored & Lincoln's). Our friend Nolan also found one in his yard. Gary Emms reported another, a beautifully marked adult, at his feeder in Longlac.

Adult in Longlac, Sept 20. Photo courtesy of Gary Emms.

Update: Sept 23

The juvenile, present at our feeder since September 19, was joined today by a more boldly marked adult. 

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some autumn colour

This is Viburnum edule (Michx.), also known as squashberry, mooseberry, lowbush cranberry or pimbina. It occurs at higher latitudes than its congeners and is said to be tastier than the other viburnums - sweeter after the first frost.

Learn more about this plant from Natural Resources Canada.

Migration continues

A tailless Clay-colored Sparrow joined the throng of White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows in our yard yesterday. Also present are single Lincoln's, Song and Savannah Sparrows.

From the post office parking lot this morning I heard/saw three Sandhill Cranes flying south, out over the big lake.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Some Superior birds

There was a good mix of birds in Peninsula Harbour this morning. Horned Larks and Rusty Blackbirds were new arrivals. The only shorebird present was a Semipalmated Plover.

As I photographed a flock of Horned Larks, a young Sharp-shinned Hawk scattered the group and engaged one bird in an erratic, twisting chase just off shore. The Horned Lark eluded the accipter, which flew back to shore and landed about 6 m. from where I was sitting. Nice.

There also were several high-flying, southbound flock of Canada Geese, totaling ~120 birds. A lone Snow Ross's Goose accompanied one of the "V"s (thank you, Alan Wormington, for the correction).

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Western Kingbird at Marathon

I swung by the boat launch in Jellicoe cove this afternoon to look for shorebirds. While I panned my binoculars across the open water a songbird flew across my field of view and landed about 50 m. away.

Western Kingbird! My first in Ontario.

It flitted about on the wind-buffeted rocks and shrubs for about ten minutes before it flew northwards along the rocky shoreline.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Milbert's Tortoiseshell

This colourful Nymphalid basked in the sun on a log at Port Munroe, just west of Marathon, this afternoon.

More on the species here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Marathon (updated Sept. 3)

Not far from the rocky point where I encountered the Baird's Sandpiper last week, I found this Buff-breasted Sandpiper this morning. Migrating Buff-breasted Sanpipers are more typically found in drier, more upland habitats.

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Update: Sept. 3.

I relocated the bird just down the beach from where I found it yesterday. The waypoint is 48.72327, -86.38535.

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