January 12 2020 (Sunday) Detroit River
Leader: Kory Renaud, Jeremy Hatt.
Today, Kory Renaud and I led the Detroit River OFO Outing, which started at Lakeview Park Marina in east Windsor and continued w/ Little River Corridor Park, the Ambassador Bridge, and ended at Ojibway Park. 19 participants joined us for the first part of the outing and 13-14 continued on for the rest of the day. The day started off cold and cloudy but by late morning and into the afternoon, there were periods of sun making birding quite comfortable. Temperatures ranged from -4C in the morning to -1C in the afternoon. We tallied 43 species for the day.
Lakeview Park Marina: w/ such mild temperatures so far this winter in the area, the waters of Lake St. Clair remain open so birds were not as concentrated at the Detroit River mouth as they sometimes are (the Detroit River mouth stays open year-round). We still managed to find some highlights, however, including a continuing male Wood Duck at Lakeview Park Marina, large rafts of Common Mergansers and Canvasbacks, an adult "Kumlien's" Iceland Gull, and a handful of Bald Eagles on Peche Island.
Little River Corridor (south of Lakeview Park Marina): during colder temperatures and lake freeze, Little River stays open due to the neighbouring pollution control plant letting out warm water. Since there is currently no lake freeze, waterfowl were in short supply along the river but other highlights here included a Belted Kingfisher and American Robin.
Ambassador Bridge: perhaps the best experience of the outing was seeing the resident Peregrine Falcons in action at the Ambassador Bridge. One bird caught a Rock Pigeon and perched on the bridge where we had excellent looks at it feeding on its prey. Thanks to Jeremy Bensette for getting it in his scope so everyone could really enjoy the view including a few curious members of the public.
Sprucewood Avenue west of Ojibway Parkway: this area of industry along the Detroit River can be quite birdy and highlights today included a flock of 8 White-crowned Sparrows and another hunting Peregrine Falcon.
Ojibway Park: a favourite winter location for many local birders, we finished at Ojibway Park where we enjoyed plenty of White-breasted Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, and others at the park's feeders.
Thanks to everyone who attended the outing, Jeremy Hatt & Kory Renaud
January 4 2020 (Saturday) Tommy Thompson Park / Leslie Street Spit, Toronto
Leader: Dan Riley, Garth Riley.
Saturday proved to be a very nice and mild day for birding Toronto's "Urban Wilderness" The Leslie Street Spit. Fifty-five participants took advantage of the spring like conditions and joined me for a nice long walk and a rewarding outing. The total number of species seen by the group was 36. Additionally two individuals separately observed an American Kestrel and a Northern Flicker. Passerines were scarce but their was an excellent variety of waterfowl, including Canvasback, Tundra Swan, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveller and Surf Scoter. The highlight and a lifer for several participants was a very co-operative but distant Red-shouldered Hawk. The group was able to have excellent scope views of this lovely adult bird. Here is a link to the entire ebird checklist :https://ebird.org/checklist/S63011087Much thanks to Nancy McPherson for compiling the list.
Garth Riley Etobicoke, Ontario
January 1 2020 (Wednesday) Peterborough Area
Leader: Dave Milsom, Matthew Tobey.
13 birders enjoyed a mild day birding the Peterborough area, Port Hope and Cobourg harbours. Highlights included 6 Bald Eagles along the Otonabee River corridor, Rough legged, Red-tailed hawks, American Kestrel, Merlin and Peregrine falcons. Also found 2 Northern Shrikes, the long-staying male Harlequin in Port Hope harbour, adult Glaucous and Iceland gulls, a leucistic Herring Gull, White-winged Scoter, Cedar Waxwings, Robins, and a Cackling Goose at Garden Hill.
Dave Milsom & Matthew Tobey