Saturday, November 10, 2012

A moment to appreciate the Pine Grosbeak

There's a decent movement of Pine Grosbeaks along the north shore this week. We have a dozen or so visting our feeders. Along the Lake Superior coast, they can be seen and heard flying northwest on most days.

Last year we had a bumper crop of Mountain-Ash fruit and we enjoyed an abundance of Pine Grosbeaks through the winter. This year during our drought, very little fruit was set and all of that has been eaten. I'll be surprised if any Pine Grosbeaks remain here for the winter.

The first photo was taken today - I've never noticed pink in the wing bars before. The others are older. What a beautiful creature...

Hornemann's Hoary Redpoll

We've had a mixed assemblage of 150+ redpolls in our yard for a few weeks. Most have been "Southern" Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea flammea) with a smattering of "Greater" Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea rostrata).

A couple of "Southern" Hoary Redpoll (Acanthis hornemanni exilipes) were joined today by a "Hornemann's" Hoary Redpoll (Acanthis hornemanni hornemanni). These photos give a sense of the larger size of Hornemann's Hoary Redpoll relative to the Common Redpoll in the foreground.

Over the previous two winters I've spent some time observing Ontario's four recognizable redpoll forms - you'll find notes, tons of photos and related links here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Summary of the 2012 North Shore Round-up

Once again Nick Escott and the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists coordinated the autumn bird round-up. Six parties spent at least part of Saturday (Nov 3) or Sunday (Nov 4) counting birds between Thunder Bay and Manitouwadge. Martha and I covered the Lake Superior coast between Rossport and Marathon.

A total of 77 species were tallied. Waterfowl viewing conditions were particularly good. While no real rarities were turned up, an ongoing Eastern Towhee was a good sighting in Nipigon. Many thanks to all who participated.

Here's the tally, posted per Nick's request.

Snow Goose 5 Downy Woodpecker 18
Canada Goose 347 Hairy Woodpecker 13
Wood Duck 3 Am.3-toed Woodpecker 1
Gadwall 2 Blk-backed Woodpecker 1
American Wigeon 7 Pileated Woodpecker 2
American Black Duck 35 Northern Shrike 4
Mallard 480 Gray Jay 14
Blue-winged Teal 1 Blue Jay 45
Green-winged Teal 1 American Crow 206
Redhead 6 Common Raven 250
Ring-necked Duck 20 Horned Lark 3
Greater Scaup 23 Black-capped Chickadee 425
Lesser Scaup 95 Boreal Chickadee 11
White-winged Scoter 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch 30
Black Scoter 1 White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Long-tailed Duck 17 American Robin 25
Bufflehead 114 European Starling 128
Common Goldeneye 159 Eastern Towhee 1
Hooded Merganser 162 American Tree Sparrow 13
Common Merganser 44 Vesper Sparrow 1
Red-breasted Merganser 18 Savannah Sparrow 1
Ruffed Grouse 32 Swamp Sparrow 1
Common Loon 4 White-throated Sparrow 1
Red-necked Grebe 2 White-crowned Sparrow 1
Horned Grebe 1 Dark-eyed Junco 19
Pied-billed Grebe 1 Bohemian Waxwing 10
Bald Eagle 54 Lapland Longspur 2
Northern Goshawk 1 Snow Bunting 279
Rough-legged Hawk 2 Red-winged Blackbird 1
Merlin 2 Rusty Blackbird 2
American Coot 13 Pine Grosbeak 103
Wilson's Snipe 4 House Finch 12
Bonaparte's Gull 35 White-winged Crossbill 10
Ring-billed Gull 240 Common Redpoll 364
Herring Gull 562 Pine Siskin 2
Thayer's Gull 1 American Goldfinch 6
Iceland Gull 1 Evening Grosbeak 30
Rock Pigeon 413 House Sparrow 30
Mourning Dove 8