Saturday 30 December 2017

Toronto Twitches...and Dips

Yesterday I went to Toronto to hopefully catch a few of the rarities that have been reported.

My first stop was Colonel Sam Smith park, where I met up with Jeremy and Tim, who were looking to add a reported Purple Sandpiper to their Ontario Big Years. I also was able to finally meet some young birders with whom I have been communicating with online. Unfortunately, the Purple Sandpiper never showed itself, but we did see this Snowy Owl!

I checked out Rotary Park after for the reported Tufted Duck, but saw that the raft of scaup were in fact the next park down the shoreline. I did see a few ducks around this park though.


I went to the next park over, just to realize it was actually the NEXT park over...

I finally arrived at the right park, and carefully scanned the scaup, and guess what? I couldn't pick out the Tufted Duck! No doubt he is still there, but I just couldn't find him!

I went to Tommy Thompson Park to meet up with yet another young birder, Owen Strickland. We tried for Long-eared Owls, but couldn't find any! We did hear from another birder that he had what was most likely a PURPLE SANDPIPER!!! After a quick call to Jeremy, we spent the next two hours trying to locate the sucker along the shoreline. Unfortunately, we had to abandon the search due to a sudden snow squall, but at least we can say we tried! The Snowy Owls we saw along the way were a decent consolation prize.

I was almost out of the park, when I looked over and in the fading light, saw what appeared to be a Northern Shrike about 20 feet away from me. "Great", I thought, and snapped a few photos. Imagine my surprise when I checked the photos to see how they turned out, and realized that it was not a shrike, but my Ontario lifer Northern Mockingbird!

I managed to snap a few more photos before it flew away, which I though turned out pretty nice considering that there was very little light left. It was a pretty darn good ending to an otherwise "slow" day!

I can't believe that the year is almost over! Thanks to everyone who made this year super special, and I can't wait to have an even better (and bigger :p) year in 2018!!!