Sunday 8 November 2020

Fanshawe Finches n' Stuff

I had been aiming to put out a post detailing the mothing in my yard this past summer, but given the great sightings I have had since my last birding post, seems that will have to hold off! 

Fanshawe Conservation Area is a spectacular birding location only about 10 minutes from where I live. I am looking forward to the breeding bird atlas, starting next year, as my London area square encompassed the conservation area. Should be good!

On Halloween, I started at "The Lookout", as I normally do. I find it can be a great spot to see a variety of waterfowl and other flyover birds. After about 40 minutes, I was quite delighted to see a Red-necked Grebe fly by and land in the north end of the lake! This was my first observation of one in Middlesex, and a species I had been hoping to see every time I had gone out to the reservoir. 

Also on the 31st, I had nine Evening Grosbeaks and another Red Crossbill. Certainly a nice finch year! eBird checklist (Oct 31)

The next few times I went out to Fanshawe (November 3, 4, and 7) weren't too eventful, other than adding Common Redpoll and White-winged Crossbill to my winter finch list for the location. I am not up to eight finch species there this fall, with hopefully still some Pine Grosbeaks and Hoary Redpolls on the way. I also continued to see Red Crossbills, with the largest group being 11 on the 4th. I still have not seen both crossbill species in one day though!

eBird checklist (Nov 3)

eBird checklist (Nov 4)

eBird checklist (Nov 7)

Today was certainly an exciting day as well. Not two minutes after getting out of the car, I found a Northern Mockingbird. Mockingbirds sightings are rare, but increasing slightly, in Middlesex. It was a new year bird for me. I thought for sure I had missed it!

I was a little disappointed that the rowing teams (Fanshawe is where they train) had beat me to the north end of the lake where all the waterfowl were. They flushed basically everything in sight! As such, I wasn't really expecting to see too much on the lake. Finches and other birds kept me entertained, and I had 25 Common Redpolls, as well as a Red Crossbill (type 10). At one point, I noticed a lone duck. I raised my binoculars and, could it be? I got my scope on it, and it sure was! A Black Scoter! A new Middlesex bird for me. I called Bill Lindley, who needed it for his big year, and he came and saw it shortly before it disappeared.

It hadn't been looking great for the county getting all three scoter species this year, even with all the effort put in. I believe that this is the 253rd species recorded in the county this year, incredible! The last record for Black Scoter in the county I can find is 2012, so it has been awhile!

eBird checklist (Nov 8)

Hopefully, we are just getting started! I am expecting some good things on the next cold front (but will it be bean goose good? Who knows)

(Another plug for Ezra's site, it's ready now!)

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