Sunday 28 February 2021

Middlesex Biggish Year: February Update

Another month has come and gone! I find February to typically be the most boring month birding wise, but this past one had been fairly good. The cold snap this month brought in plenty of ducks, but certainly halted the arrival of several typical late February migrants.  After month #2 of my "Middlesex Biggish Year" my year list stands at a respectable 93 species after accumulating 11 new species, roughly 75% of the species reported in the county so far in 2021. My biggest misses this past month were White-winged Scoter (which I probably would have gotten if I hadn't missed the call by 20 minutes) and Western Meadowlark (which I did end up seeing, but it was a couple hundred meters on the wrong side of the county line!).

The breakdown: 

Code 1: 64 species (4 new)

Code 2: 17 species (3 new)

Code 3: 7 species (3 new)

Code 4: 3 species

Code 5: 2 species (1 new)

Up until this weekend (Feb. 27/28), the only code 1 I had added to my list was American Coot. Several have been reported on the Thames this year, and I finally caught up with a couple on the 24th. On the 27th, I had the first Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds of the year, and then on the 28th I got my first Common Grackles. 

The freezing of the great lakes brought in three new code 2 birds. Redhead, Greater Scaup, and Ruddy Duck all appeared in decent numbers throughout the month along the Thames.

Ruddy Duck

It was nice to get three code 3 birds out of the way, even though I will probably see some more of at least two of them later this year. The first was a Trumpeter Swan, which is not always a lock for a Middlesex year list. The others were a Long-tailed Duck and a few Canvasback.

Long-tailed Duck

I didn't get any new code 4s, but I did see a code 5; the second Middlesex record of Spotted Towhee! I first saw this bird on Valentine's Day, and have since then been back a few times to enjoy this rarity. I imagine that it will be around for awhile yet. I already "ticked" it last month, but the Harlequin Duck had still been around as well, and I have seen it on a couple different occasions. 

I think I am off to a pretty good start. I'm excited to see what else will show up! 

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