Sunday, January 8, 2017

Fowl highlights from CBC season on the Bruce Peninsula

Winter so far has offered a few goodies for the many birders who ventured out on any of the five Christmas Bird counts on the Bruce Peninsula. A highlight for me was this lovely male Common Goldeneye x Hooded Merganser hybrid found at the the Sauble River mouth by Jarmo Jalava on the December 22nd Wiarton CBC. What a beauty! Needless to say, this was a count first and indeed the first such county record in eBird.
January 1, 2017.
January 1, 2017.
There have been other noteworthy ducks. An immature male King Eider, a species uncommonly seen on the upper Great Lakes, was first reported by Andrew Keaveney on New Year's eve day. It's been present at the Sauble River mouth for several weeks although it can be tough to observe in a big swell.
January 1, 2016.
January 3, 2017.
January 3, 2017.
The Bruce Peninsula National Park CBC, held on December 14, may be remembered by most for the punishing winds and blinding squalls. Two waterfowl species - a Green-winged Teal hunkered down in the Crane River and a flock of Tundra Swans flying south over Tobermory - were count firsts.

Tundra and Trumpeter Swans typically don't overwinter on the Bruce Peninsula. A mixed trio, again at the Sauble River mouth, has provided a great opportunity to compare the two species.
January 3, 2017.
January 3, 2017.
January 3, 2017.
The town of Lion's Head, which falls just outside of the recently inaugurated Pike Bay and Cape Chin CBC circles, has hosted a confiding Ruddy Duck since December 23rd,  providing a first winter record for the Bruce Peninsula.
December 23, 2016.

December 30, 2016
Northern Pintail have been reported from scattered locations.
January 1, 2017.
Somewhat surprisingly, the species richness in waterfowl hasn't been matched by an increased abundance. For example, the two Common Goldeneye reported on the Bruce Peninsula CBC was a record low for this long-standing count.

No doubt, some good winter birding remains for those with a set of snow tires and the gumption to trudge through a squall or two!
December 14, 2016.