Monday 16 October 2017

Sunday 15 October 2017

New Blog?!?!

Recently I reached out to some young birders and naturalists to see who would be interested in collaborating with me to create a blog where young people with interest similar to mine could come together and post about the stuff they've seen and the photos they've taken. I really don't know how this will turn out, but I'm sure that it will only get better as we go along!

Right now we are only in the early stages, but I hope to go public is a couple days, hopefully sooner. The biggest obstacle we are facing right now is picking a good name for the blog. If you wish to give us suggestions (I encourage you to), please comment below. Anything helps! The name should reflect the age of our authors (younger than most) and our interests (birding, nature etc.) Thanks in advance!

I will post the link here once we launch it, and watch for it at the side in my blog list!

If you know any young birders or young people interested in just nature in general, who would be interested in contributing, than have them contact me at 

This blog is still my primary place that I will post, and I won't be posting less on here because of the other blog (however, I might write about the same event!). I hope to see everyone over there!

Good birding,

Saturday 14 October 2017

Hard-Pressed in Hamilton

Today I joined Owen and a couple other young birders for a few hours of birding along the Hamilton waterfront. The winds were not on our side, and we saw NO pelagic birds, however there were a few quality birds to be seen, but we had to work hard for them!

We started at Windermere Basin, where sparrows, especially White-throated, were plentiful.

Other sparrows included White-crowned, Song, Dark-eyed Junco, American Tree, and an Eastern Towhee.

We couldn't find the Hudsonian Godwit, but there were a few shorebirds to be found such as both the yellowlegs, a group of peeps, and three Black-bellied Plover.

Ducks were fairly easy to find, the most common being Green-winged Teal and Northern Shoveler. Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Wood Duck, Ruddy Duck, and Northern Pintail were also present, although in smaller numbers.

We checked out Van Wagner's beach after, but the only thing of note here were Surf Scoters and a Peregrine Falcon! If the winds has been blowing the right way, I'm sure we would have seen something!

The canal was next, but other than a Merlin is was pretty quiet. The ever present Double-crested Cormorant was there as well.

The others had to go grab a jacket that was forgotten at Windermere, so my dad and I waited in the canal parking lot for them to come back so we could got to our next destination. After about 5 minutes I got a text that said "There is a Brant here!"

After my dad and I got to the spot, we were told that the Brant was hiding, so we began looking for a vantage point to spot it. After some struggle (which is a story for another time) we finally saw it. It was a lifer for me, and my 250th bird this year in Ontario. Jeremy is only beating me by 80-ish species :-)

Also present was a few pigeons. This is actually the first time I've bothered to photograph them! I guess you could call it a photographic lifer!

The same ducks as earlier were there, including this (blurry) Gadwall.

Just before we said our good-byes, this Leopard Frog was spotted by Owen. They are my favourite species of frog!

Although it was a very slow day, the "Great Brant Chase" (again, a story for another time...maybe in six months) made up for it. Who said birding can't be exciting?!?!

Monday 9 October 2017

Nemesis No More: American Avocet

This morning I chased one of my nemesis birds. An American Avocet, which is rare to Ontario, was spotted in Blenheim over two weeks ago. I have dipped on avocets on many occasions, one of the most recent being back in April when I missed them at Hillman (but I did end up seeing Willet and Black-necked Stilt, so not all was lost.)

The bird was hanging out in the Blenheim Landfill, and it was very easy to find. In fact, the first bird I laid my eyes on was the avocet!

We watched the bird feeding for about 25 minutes, and at one point it flew a short distance.

Also present were a few Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

After the landfill, we made a quick stop in Erieau. I had a feeling that I could possibly turn up something decent.

There were plenty of gulls, but when I was scoped them out the only "good" thing I could find were a few FOY (!) Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

I turned my attention to the lake, and soon found Great Black-backed Gulls, Bonaparte's Gull, and a Common Tern.

Ring-billed Gull

I was losing hope when WAAAAAY off into the distance I spotted a Little Gull flying with some Bonaparte's Gulls. They have been scarce this year, and this bird was actually my first of 2017!

The only shorebirds I could find were Sanderling, Dunlin, and Killdeer. The first two were very photogenic.




The fish die off often attracts Turkey Vultures. Usually I see carp, so this Northern Pike was a bit of a surprise!

It was a short outing, but I accomplished what I set out to do. I can't wait to get back to the Rondeau area!

Saturday 7 October 2017

Photos from the ON Youth Summit

Two weeks ago I went to the Ontario Nature Youth Summit in Orillia. It was extremely fun and rewarding! Although I had brought my camera, I didn't get much use of it as I was just too busy! I managed to get a few photos with my cell which highlight some of the more stationary things seen (or caught!) I am also including all my eBird checklists from the weekend...I saw an amazing 70 species of birds!

I would like to thank Nature London for sponsoring me to participate. If you are in the London area and are interested in the natural world, I would definitely check them out!

Fox Snake (captive)

Warbler (?) nest

Red-backed Salamander

Leopard Frog

Painted Turtle (I managed to catch it!)

Blue-spotted Salamander

Eastern Screech-Owl (captive)

Raptor presentation by

Gyrfalcon (captive)

eBird Checklists:

September 22nd:

September 23rd:

September 24th:

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Algonquin Landscapes

The scenery in Algonquin Park this past weekend was quite something. In my previous post I forgot to include my scenic shots (which aren't the best quality as they were taken with my phone), so here are some of my favourites!

The fall colours weren't as spectacular as we thought they would be, mostly because of the frost and the heat wave stunting their colour change. Nevertheless, it was still nice to look seems that there isn't a single place in Algonquin Park that isn't breathtaking!

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Algonquin Adventures

This past weekend, my family made the trip up to Algonquin Provincial Park for a weekend of exploring one of my favourite places. Due to the recent weather, bird life was at a minimum, but I still managed to find over 45 species, which is decent given the time of year.

We drove up on Friday, so Saturday morning I awoke in Dwight at the hotel (Mom doesn't like it when there is no running water readily available!) I did a little bit of birding around the property, and I came up with a decent list.

Rusty Blackbird

Once in the park, we stopped by the Old Railway Bed first. We didn't bother to walk very far as there were just too many people using the trail!

There was a tame Common Raven near the parking lot (if you can call it that!) One would wonder if it is the same bird as the one hanging around the Art Centre in July.

There was also a tame Red Fox along the road. Apparently he is over 12 years old!

The ONLY Gray Jay of the weekend was seen along the road near the fox. It was the only Algonquin speciality I saw all weekend. Quite ironic actually, as last fall it was the only one I DIDN'T see!

We stopped by the Visitor Centre after the railway bed. It was packed! The line for the restroom was out the front door, there was a 30 minute wait time for the restaurant, and the observation deck was shoulder to shoulder if you even wanted to attempt to look off of it. It certainly was not fun!

The only good things reported in the sightings log was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker seen by Blake, and a Red Squirrel seen at someone's campsite.

Birds were far and few between at the VC, but I did see a late Eastern Phoebe and some Pine Siskins.

Beaver Pond Trail was perhaps the most eventful trail walked.

Although it started out slow, it wasn't long until birds starting popping up, including Red-breasted Nuthatches and my first Rusty Blackbirds for the park.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

American Pipits covered the exposed mud, and I counted over 50.

A single Green-winged Teal caused some confusion, but I was eventually able to ID it from photos.

Crossbills weren't as plentiful as I thought they would be, but they were present. There was a pair of Red Crossbills that allowed for close study. White-winged Crossbills flew over at one point as well.

Red Crossbill

Later in the evening, I went to the Old Airfield. It was quite quiet except for an American Woodcock.

Wolf Track

I birded the hotel property again the next morning. I found a few more species than the previous day.

Palm Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Driving in the park to our next location, there was a Great Blue Heron on a rock in Lake of Two Rivers. It was quite a spectacular sight.

Opeongo Road was more or less disappointing. I hiked back into a spruce bog along the road hoping for a Spruce Grouse, but one never materialized. I did however find a trio of late Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. They were the only birds here that would pose for a photo!

After Opeongo, we visited the Spruce Bog trail. Red-breasted Nuthatches were common.

I gave up on finding grouse, and decided to focus on finding sparrows in the grass. I walked to the edge of the open bog, and then started slowly making my way through the grass, stopping to pish every so often. Swamp Sparrows responded immediately.

I heard some insect-like chips, and my mind instantly went to Le Conte's Sparrow. So for about 15 minutes I stood shin deep in water and mud, pishing and wading through the grass hoping to flush something. That I did...a grasshopper!

I guess I must have disturbed this Great Blue Heron.

After Spruce Bog, it was time to head home, but not before spotted my only Common Loon of the weekend!

It is always a thrill and an adventure to visit Algonquin. I hopefully will be back soon!