Monday, May 16, 2011

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (180 km) across the water

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Some interesting birds are turning up around Lake Superior. On May 12, this Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was found at the Copper Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula (a mere 180 km sw of Marathon). Thanks to Max Henschell for sharing the photo. You can see more of Max's photos of rarities from Michigan's upper peninsula here.

Closer to home, we're enjoying a slow trickle of more familiar migrants. Saturday's Friends of Pukaskwa/Thunder Bay Field Naturalists bird walk in the Town of Marathon turned up seven warbler species: Tennessee (1); Orange-crowned  (2); Nashville  (3); Northern Parula (1); Cape May (1); Yellow-rumped (14); Black-and-white  (2). The male Cape May Warbler, perched at eye level in the sun, provided great views for the birders standing only six metres away.

A total of 39 species were tallied. The only shorebird seen was a Solitary Sandpiper at Penn Lake. The four Lapland Longspurs were perhaps notable.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Meadowlark, Baltimore Orioles and some other migrants

This afternoon in the Town of Marathon I found a Meadowlark (unknown sp.) as well as Yellow-rumped (10), Palm (1) and a Nashville (1) Warblers.
Yesterday a Clay-colored Sparrow joined White-crowned (~20), Chipping (~15), White-throated (~10), Lincoln's (3), Song (2), American Tree (1) and Savannah (1) Sparrows in our yard where, today, we also saw our first-of-season Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1) and Baltimore Oriole (1).
From nearby Terrace Bay, Valerie Gerlach also reported a Baltimore Oriole and an Indigo Bunting, present for the last two days.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Least Tern in Atikokan!

Dave Elder of Atikokan (Rainy River District) made an amazing find on May 10 while paddling in Sawmill Bay of Lower Steep Rock Lake, about 3 km. west of Atikokan.

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Dave writes:
It was a “found bird” first seen after a 3km. walk down train tracks, a walk back, get another guy, load the canoe, paddle across a lake and miracle of miracles, find the bird again. Seriously lucky!
If accepted by the Ontario Bird Records Committee, this will be only the fifth record for Ontario and the first for northern Ontario.

In the North American interior, the Least Tern nests in small numbers in the upper Mississippi basin, along the Missouri River. The closest population, about 100 breeding pairs, is in North Dakota, ~740 km to the WSW of Atikokan.

Congratulations on the great find Dave!


Clay-colored Sparrows

Today, our backyard assemblage of migrating sparrows - Song, Lincoln's, American Tree, Chipping, Savannah, White-throated and White-crowned - was joined by this handsome Clay-colored Sparrow.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A bike ride through Neys Provincial Park

I swung through Neys Provincial Park for a few hours this morning. The gate was closed so I was obliged to cycle from the CPR tracks down to the beaches (about 4 km). The woods were full of the songs of kinglets (both species) Yellow-rumped Warblers and White-throated Sparrows. Four Palm Warblers brought the warbler species count to an unremarkable two.

Mottled Snowshoe Hares and female Ruffed Grouse foraged along the roadsides. Male Ruffed Grouse could be heard drumming from within the forest at several places.

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A nice surprise was a male American Three-toed Woodpecker that was noisily foraging on a spruce trunk in the camp ground (site 80e if you must know). I don't see many of these outside of winter.

Here are the bird totals as processed through eBird.

Location:     Neys Provincial Park
Observation date:     5/10/11
Number of species:     29

Bufflehead     5
Common Merganser     2
Ruffed Grouse     8
Common Loon     3
Great Blue Heron     1
Sharp-shinned Hawk     1
Broad-winged Hawk     3
Ring-billed Gull     3
Herring Gull     2
Mourning Dove     1
Downy Woodpecker     2
American Three-toed Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     2
American Crow     12
Common Raven     3
Boreal Chickadee     1
Red-breasted Nuthatch     13
Golden-crowned Kinglet     10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     35
American Robin     1
Yellow-rumped Warbler     18
Palm Warbler     4
Chipping Sparrow     2
Song Sparrow     4
White-throated Sparrow     17
White-crowned Sparrow     2
Dark-eyed Junco     2
Red-winged Blackbird     1
Pine Siskin     1

Sunday, May 8, 2011

More new arrivals

At last it's starting to look and sound like May. In our yard this afternoon a Rose-breasted Grosbeak joined a flock of (100+ and growing) Purple Finches.

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Yesterday at the mouth of the Pic River there were 30 or so Green-winged Teal, a pair of Blue-winged Teal and two male Redheads. On Heron Bay Road there was a lone Broad-winged Hawk
A Greater Yellowlegs was the only shorebird evident in Peninsula Harbour yesterday morning.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Iceland Gull in Peninsula Harbour

After being away in the US southwest for the last few weeks, I'm just getting caught up with the changing season here on the north shore. The most unusual bird I found today was a first spring Iceland Gull in Peninsula Harbour in the Town of Marathon.

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