Recent Trip Reports

January 1 2019 (Tuesday) Peterborough Area

Leader: Dave Milsom, Matthew Tobey.

15 birders attended our annual OFO outing on January 1st.

Despite the icy conditions, 40 species were recorded. Temperatures ranged from -1 to -3 c.

Best finds were 70 Bohemian Waxwings close to the Otonabee River just south of Lakefield; 70 Evening Grosbeaks at various feeders near Petroglyphs Provincial Park; 2 flocks of Common Redpolls in the Peterborough area, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches, a Northern Shrike off University Road, American Kestrel at the airport, several Common Ravens, 2 Bald Eagles at Lake Katchewenooka near Lakefield, 3 Red-tailed Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Great Horned and Northern Saw-whet owls in the Peterborough area.

Many waterfowl included a long-staying male Wood Duck at Lakefield lagoons, 2 Redhead in a large flock of Greater Scaup, Black Ducks, Long-tailed ducks, Bufflehead and Red-breasted Mergansers at Port Hope.

Many thanks once again to my able co-leader, Matthew Tobey.

December 9 2018 (Sunday) Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: John Schmelefske.

December 9 2018 (Sunday) Toronto Lakeshore

Leader: John Schmelefske.

Somewhat surprisingly, the weather for this year's outing was mild and pleasant! 24 participants enjoyed a relatively balmy day on Saturday, visiting both Humber Bay and Colonel Sam parks. Nothing particularly rare was seen, but we had great views 41 species including Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren, Mockingbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-winged Scoter and a quite late Gray Catbird. Special thanks to Marvin Medelko for compiling the trip list. It was fun to have such an eager and inquisitive group of birders come out!

December 8 2018 (Saturday) Barrie Lakeshore

Leader: Jim Coey.

Eighteen hardy birders met at Dock Road in Barrie at 9 a.m. December 8 for a series of stops along the south shore of Kempenfeldt Bay in Barrie. Snow fell heavily at times making visibility poor, down to 100 metres at times, and covering binoculars, cameras and scopes with light, white flakes. The snow finally ceased at about noon as the trip was ending at the Barrie Marina. I was the substitute leader and relied heavily on Chris Evans for local knowledge and eBirding. The participants were able to see 8 species of waterfowl and five species of gulls, For those looking for close up views of gulls, the marina at the west end of the bay is a wonderful spot. We had several Glaucous Gulls in various plumages and at least one first winter Iceland Gull. Bonaparte's Gulls were notable by their absence. We saw or heard very few passerines on the morning.

December 2 2018 (Sunday) Niagara River Gull Watch

Leader: Josh Vandermeulen, Jeremy Bensette, Marcie Jacklin.

Yesterday was another great time at the annual OFO Niagara Falls Gulls trip! We did not take an exact count of attendees, but we estimate that this event was attended by approximately 100 birders. This was a bit less than last year, likely due to the rainy weather forecast for Sunday morning. That rainy weather ceased before we started, and the sun even came out for a good portion of the day! Eight species of gulls were identified by the group, despite high temperatures and high water level above the falls.

We started the day at 9 am at Sir Adam Beck Generating Station, where we enjoyed at least two Iceland Gulls and a Great Black-backed Gull among many Herring and Ring-billed Gulls. We also saw an adult Little Gull among a flock of Bonaparte's Gulls at the Roosting Rocks a few hundred metres up river. We stopped briefly at the Whirlpool, where we watched a flock of a few hundred Bonaparte's Gulls resting and a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a very low branch, seemingly watching the turbulent river.

By late morning most of the group made it to the Upper Falls viewing area, where we were granted views of an immature Glaucous Gull, a probable hybrid Glaucous x Herring Gull, a couple more Iceland Gulls, multiple Lesser Black-backed Gulls of various ages, and many Great Black-backed Gulls. Non-gull highlights above the falls included as many as three Harlequin Ducks and two Dunlin perched between the rapids above the falls, a local breeding pair of Peregrines occupying a high ledge overlooking downtown Niagara Falls, and a Black-crowned Night Heron perched very close to the driveway in Dufferin Islands Park.

We did not visit the Queenston boat launch area as a group this year because of the high volume of boaters using that area lately, but many individuals who did check out this spot were rewarded with a few Little Gulls. Also, it was reported that 7 Little Gulls flew by with around 1400 Bonaparte's Gulls at the mouth of the Niagara River at Niagara-on-the-Lake around sunset.

We would like to thank everyone who participated in this fun and social birding event, especially Justin Peter and Mark Peck for Saturday's ID workshop, and the various great people who helped with organizing the weekend. Have a great winter birding season!

Caspian Tern
with Black-crowned Night-heron
Photo: Sam Barone

Golden-crowned Sparrow
1st basic
Photo: Mike McEvoy

Clay-colored Sparrow
Photo: Saul Bocian

Long-tailed Duck
Photo: Mark Peck

Purple Sandpiper
Photo: Brandon Holden