Sunday, December 22, 2013

Timmins Christmas Bird Count

Yesterday, December 21st, marked the start of longer days.  Finally!  It was also my first participation in a Christmas Bird Count and I loved every minute of it.  The sun was shinning and the temperature stayed between -18 and -16 Celsius with minimal wind, which is as good as it gets here in Northern Ontario!  
December 21, 2013 -  Timmins, Ontario
As you can see, It was a beautiful day.  Since Gary and I covered a region with lots of fields, I was hoping to see a Snowy Owl.  Southern Ontario and the eastern provinces have been seeing a large number of these gorgeous birds but so far, they haven't been spotted near Timmins.  

The Christmas Bird Count is a great way to spend the day outside while contributing to science.  I didn't take many photos but here are a few of our sightings.

Pine Grosbeaks - Dec 21, 2013
Timmins Christmas Bird Count
Ruffed Grouse - Dec 21, 2013
Timmins Christmas Bird Count
American Goldfinch - Dec 21, 2013
Timmins Christmas Bird Count
Blue Jay - Dec 21, 2013
Timmins Christmas Bird Count
To learn more about the Timmins Christmas Bird Count, visit Timmins Christmas Bird Count Page and the Oxygen Grows on Trees Page.

December 21, 2013
Timmins, Ontario

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Grimpereau brun

Read post in english: Creeper

Samedi dernier (14 décembre) la température était de -24 C (Température ressentie -31 C) selon la station météo.  Après plus d'une heure à l'extérieur, j'avais la sensation que la température était plus près du -40 C; il n'y avait personne dans le sentier sauf Gary, moi et quelques oiseaux qui ébouriffaient leur plumage pour conserver leur chaleur. 

Mésange à tête noire
South Porcupine (14 décembre 2013)
Du coin de l'oeil, j'ai vu un petit oiseau qui montait le tronc d'un arbre; il grimpait en petits sauts rythmés.  C'était un Grimpereau brun!  J'ai essayé d'obtenir une bonne photo mais mon appareil photo et mes doigts menaçaient de succomber au froid.  J'ai obtenu cette photo juste avant que mon appareil photo cesse de fonctionner.  Cette photo démontre à quel point le Grimpereau est parfaitement camouflé ... il ressemble à un morceau d'écorce!   Le voici…complètement dissimulé:

Grimpereau brun
South Porcupine (14 décembre 2013)
Observer un Grimpereau brun lorsqu'il escalade un tronc d'arbre, c'est fascinant!  Il se nourrit d'insectes et d'araignées qu'il trouve dans l'écorce.  Il s'agit d'un oiseau qui porte très bien son nom:  il grimpe et il est brun! 

Voici une photo que j'ai prise au mois d'avril 2013… on peut voir son profil et son bec courbé.
Grimpereau brun
South Porcupine (avril 2013)


                                             Lire en français: Grimpereau brun

Last Saturday, Dec 14, the temperature was -24 (feels like -31 C) according to the weather network. After over an hour outside, it felt more like -40, which is probably why there was no one on the trail other than Gary and I and a few birds that were fluffing up their feathers to try to keep warm…

Black-capped Chickadee / Mésange à tête noire
South Porcupine (14 Dec 2013)

We were watching Chickadees and Nuthatches while trying to listen for some woodpeckers when I noticed a small thing crawling up a tree trunk near us.  It was moving steadily up the trunk in little bursts all the way to the top; I knew it had to be a Creeper.  When he flew back down to start his climb on the next tree trunk, I tried to get a decent picture.  Unfortunately, my camera was in direct competition with my fingers to see who would succumb to the cold first; they both gave up at the same time.  I only got this blurry photo, but it shows just how well the Brown Creeper is camouflaged… he basically looks like a piece of bark.  

Can you spot it?

Brown Creeper / Grimpereau Brun
South Porcupine (14 Dec 2013)

It's a lot of fun to watch their methodical climb when we're lucky enough to spot one.  They actually eat insects and spiders from the bark.

Here's a photo I took in April 2013… we can see its profile and curved bill.  

Brown Creeper / Grimpereau Brun
South Porcupine (25 April 2013)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pine Grosbeaks and Red-bellied Woodpecker

Weekend update…

Sunday, December 8, I saw the Red-bellied Woodpecker again.  He's been hanging around this South Porcupine neighbourhood (since at least the 22nd of November).  I find it surprising that he sticks around in spite of the freezing temperatures.  From what I've seen, he seems to like hanging around birch trees, especially the stumps where branches have been broken off.  (Although the first time I spotted it (Nov 22) it was in a thick spruce tree seeking shelter from heavy wind and snowfall.)   I managed to get this photo through my window yesterday.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
South Porcupine (December 8, 2013)

A beautiful photo of this Red-bellied Woodpecker was also featured Saturday on the Weather Network.

Pine Grosbeaks…
Saturday was a beautiful sunny day.  The temperature was -17°C,  -24°C with the wind.  Gary and I walked part of the Bart Thompson Trail at the end of Legion drive in South Porcupine where we saw Gray Jays, Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches.  Near the start of the trail, I saw 4 Pine Grosbeaks (first sighting since last spring); they were flying from spruce tree to spruce tree, feeding on cones.   I managed to get only a couple of pictures.  I wish I could have kept my hands out of my mitts longer but after 30 seconds, I couldn't feel my fingers anymore. 

Pine Grosbeak
South Porcupine (Dec 7, 2013)
Pine Grosbeak
South Porcupine (Dec 7, 2013)

On Sunday, we ran into some very friendly Nuthatches down the trail...

Red-breasted Nuthatch
South Porcupine (Dec 8, 2013)

They would not come to me but they seemed to love Gary's thick gloves!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Red-bellied Woodpecker in South Porcupine

This morning, I was submitting a late eBird report for the 18th of November; American Goldfinch, Chickadee, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, Gray Jay, Dark-eyed Junco... As I pressed on the submit button, I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed: with the arrival of winter, the sighting lists are getting shorter.  So I was thinking "I'm just starting this bird discovery adventure thing and I don't want to slow down now… spring is so far away. From now on, the daylight starts disappearing at 4h30pm, the snow is pilling and the freezing temperatures are turning our fingers blue...  and there's going to be less opportunities to see new bird species…" 

And then, I turned around and everything changed.

Red-bellied Woodpecker / Pic à ventre roux
South Porcupine, ON  (22 Nov 2013)

Right there in front of me, in our big spruce tree.  At first, I thought my mind was playing tricks on me (because I was just thinking about putting my life list away until spring... and things don't usually happen that way in real life!) A Red-bellied Woodpecker in South Porcupine on a snowy cold November morning.  Luckily, my camera was right next to me. I watched this beautiful bird for as long as I could.  It stayed there for about 10 short minutes.

I know this bird is common in the South of the province but not here in the North! ... I was really excited about this find for 3 reasons:   a) I never thought I would see a Red-bellied Woodpecker here.  b) I get very excited every time I see a bird…any bird.  c) I get even more excited when I see a bird for the first time.

Red-bellied Woodpecker / Pic à ventre roux
South Porcupine (22 Nov 2013)

The Red-bellied Woodpecker's normal range is the South East of North-America (Southern Ontario and Eastern United-States.)  According to the data on eBird, there's only one record of this bird in the district of Cochrane (in Moosonee, 1983).  Other than that, there's a Red-bellied Woodpecker that was sighted in Englehart, (Timiskaming district) from March to May of 2012.  It certainly doesn't mean that Red-bellied Woodpeckers were not spotted here... it just means that they weren't reported.  What an unforgettable sight.

So if you live in the area, hang your suet and keep an eye out for this striking bird.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Été 2013 Parc Prov. René Brunelle / Summer 2013 at René Brunelle Prov. Park

Les gens aiment séjourner au Parc Provincial René Brunelle pour plusieurs raisons; les sites sur le bord du Lac Rémi, la pêche, les plages, les couchers de soleil, etc.  Pour ma part, j'adore ce parc pour toutes ces raisons... mais ce qui m'attire particulièrement, c'est l'abondance des oiseaux chanteurs.

There are lots of reasons why people love to camp at René Brunelle Provincial Park; the campsites on the shores of Remi Lake, the fishing, the clean facilities, the beaches, the sunsets, etc.  As for myself, I love this park for all the above reasons but what brings me to this park is much smaller and colourful: it's the abundance of songbirds.

Paruline Flamboyante - Parc Provincial René Brunelle (Juillet 2013)
American Redstart - Rene Brunelle Provincial Parc (July 2013)
Paruline à croupion jaune - Parc Prov René Brunelle (Juillet 2013)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Rene Brunelle Prov Park (July 2013)

Cet été 2013, c'était une saison spéciale pour le Parc Provincial René Brunelle puisque notre gouvernement a tenté de le fermer.   Grace aux effort de nos représentants locaux et de la population local, le parc est resté ouvert pour un essai de 2 ans. 

This summer was a special summer at René Brunelle Provincial Park because it was scheduled to be shut down by the Ontario Government.  Because of the efforts of local representatives and local population, it was given a 2 year 'pilot project' status.  

Parc Provincial René Brunelle (Moonbeam)
René Brunelle Provincial Park (Moonbeam)
J'ai eu la chance de passer environ 25 jours dans le parc où j'ai essayé de noter et de photographier plusieurs espèces d'oiseaux.  J'ai pris plus de 3000 photos sur lesquelles on peu voir surtout des branches d'arbre vides (les parulines bougent beaucoup trop vite!) Après des tas de piqures de maringouins et des regards perplexes venant des gens qui se demandaient ce que je faisais (l'observation des oiseaux n'est pas commun ici!) j'ai fini avec un torticolis et quelques photos.  Mais... ça a valu la peine.

I was lucky enough to spend around 25 days camping in the park where I tried to note and photograph lots of bird species.  I took over 3000 photos (most of them showing bare branches because those little warblers move too fast).  After tons of bug bites from standing still and lots of questioning looks from people who were wondering what I was doing (birding is not common here!), I ended up with 'warbler neck pain' and a few photos.  But it was totally worth it.

Paruline à collier - Parc Prov. René Brunelle (Juillet 2013)
Northern Parula - Rene Brunelle Prov. Park (July 2013)

Paruline du Canada - Parc Prov. René Brunelle (Aout 2013)
Canada Warbler - Rene Brunelle Prov. Park (Aug 2013)
Paruline à poitrine baie - Parc Prov. René Brunelle (Juillet 2013)
Bay-breasted Warbler - Rene Brunelle Prov. Park (July 2013)
Paruline noir et blanc - Parc Prov. René Brunelle (Juillet 2013)
Black-and-white Warbler - Rene Brunelle Prov. Park (July 2013)

Paruline à gorge orangée - Parc Prov. René Brunelle (Juillet 2013)
Blackburnian Warbler - Rene Brunelle Prov. Park (July 2013)