Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Quick Winter Update

Winter Update
We're already in the second month of 2015... time goes by fast.  Since my last post was over 4 months ago, I decided I should do a quick update. 

What happened in the last 4 months?  Winter happened.  One thing you can count on here in Northern Ontario is winter.  It's a cold one (OK, maybe not as cold as last winter, but close)

We've been seeing lots of Redpolls at our feeders as well as some Pine Grosbeaks and a couple of Evening Grosbeaks.  We have flocks of 30 to 100 redpolls every day in the neighbourhood.  For the first time since I've lived here, we have a Pileated Woodpecker visiting the suet feeder.  But then again, I've only had a suet feeder since last winter (I started putting it out last year to help our rare visitor, the Red-bellied Woodpecker, survive winter.  He successfully survived our harsh climate.  He stayed from November 22, 2013 to May 23, 2014).  Now the Pileated shows up every day so I have to make a new batch of home-made suet every week!

Pileated Woodpecker / Grand Pic
South Porcupine (February 2015)
Timmins Christmas Bird Count 2014
On December 20th, Gary and I participated in the 21st Timmins Christmas Bird Count.  It was a beautiful day.  It was sunny and -20 Celsius so it was a perfect day to be out there looking for birds.  We did some fields around Timmins.  We also did some of the beautiful trails at Hersey Lake Conservation Area, where we saw this Black-backed Woodpecker. 

Black-backed Woodpecker / Pic à dos noir
Hersey Lake Conservation Area, Timmins (Dec 2014)

Dominican Republic
We went to the Dominicans from December 27 to January 3rd  to attend my cousin's wedding. It was our first time in the Dominicans.  We were a group of 39 and I didn't have time to do any birding side trips like I had hoped... but our resort was still pretty good for birds because it had some naturals ponds and streams right on its grounds.  One pond was blocked off by trees but we still found a way to get to it almost every day.  I got to see 32 species, 19 of which were life birds for me.  I got to observe this Black-crowned Night-Heron on my birthday… they can be seen in Southern Ontario sometimes but I had to go to Punta Cana to see my first one. 
Black-crowned Night-Heron/ Bihoreau gris
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (Jan 2015)
I didn't take a lot of photos (there was sand in my camera so it wasn't working so good)  You can view a few more photos I took in the Dominicans here:  Some of my Dominican Republic Birds on Flickr

I finally saw my first snowy owl. For some reason, they never seem to come to the Timmins area.  We've been scanning fields for years and we never saw one here.  On January 23, we went to Kapuskasing for my sister's birthday dinner and we saw one just before arriving in town (I didn't have my camera)  It was pure white, perched on a telephone pole.  There are no words to describe how beautiful these owls are.

On the 27th of January, I had to go back to Moonbeam for a meeting and I saw another one.  It was a different bird.  I had my camera that time but I was 300 meters away from it so it's not very clear.  So far, Snowy Owls have been spotted in the Kapuskasing, Moonbeam and Cochrane area but none have been seen near Timmins yet.

Snowy Owl / Harfang des neiges
Moonbeam, Ontario (27 Jan 2015)