Sunday, 19 February 2012

Odd Bird, Young Bird and the Bird on the Bridge

Another day following in the footsteps of greatness.  Or at least other great Birders.  Sue and I decided to spend Sunday Burl-Oak Birding.  Sue wanted to see the Saw-whet in Oakville's Bronte Creek Provincial Park, I had seen earlier in the week, and we both wanted a look at a fancy hybrid duck under the Burlington Skyway and a First Winter King Eider in Burlington's Lasalle Park Harbour.  I was just hoping to add one new bird today, but as it turned out, Sue got six birds for her year and I did get one.

We started at Bronte Creek where it was a short walk to the tree I had seen the Saw-whet Owl in on my last visit.  There he was, cute as ever, wondering what all the fuss was about.  I'm sure if the owl had been counting, he'd have a life list of over a hundred humans by now.  We got our look and moved on in search of other owls.  We did find an owl pellet under a tree near the Frisbee Golf Course, but that was it. We walked a large portion of the park and saw quite a few species, including Robins, Black-capped Chickadees and an Eastern Blue Bird.  We also saw pigs and goats in the children's farm.

From there it was down to Bronte Harbour in search of the Snowy Owl, but the owl was MIB,(missing in Bronte).  So, after a brief lunch break, we headed to the Burlington Skyway where Barry had seen, and  Jean Iron had reported the Golden-eye/Hooded Merganser Hybrid.  Very odd looking bird, with a big greenish head and gold eyes.  As we parked below the Burlington Lift Bridge, we got our first look at the Peregrin Falcon who roosts near the top.  And, as an aside, bird number 206 for my year.  But we were more interested in the hybrid and who was there with his camera, but Barry, my birding acquaintance from Bayfront Park.  He had his eye on the bird and with his direction I got my scope on the odd duck.  Sorry I don't have a photo, but I was enjoying the view so much, I forgot to snap a shot.  We dubbed it an Uncommon Hooded-golden-eye.

Back in the car and off to Lasalle Marina to see if we could find the First Winter King Eider, Jean Iron had reported yesterday.  And, for a change, the bird was quite accommodating and was hanging out close to the shore with some Gadwalls and a Canvasback, close to where the honking, snorting Trumpeter Swans congregate.  We got some good looks and photos and then moved on to one last bird.  An Eastern Screech Owl that was supposed to be in Woodland Cemetery.  And I am sure it is, most of the time.  But by the time we arrived, it was either in a different tree from where we were instructed to look, or just out and about, for an early dinner.  So, a miss on owl number 8 for the year, but all in all a fun day of birding, with temperatures just high enough to make the time outside quite bearable, at least for a little winter wuss, such as myself.

Thanks again to OntBirds and all the Birders out there that make it such a pleasure to be out on a cold day in February.

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