|This is a Red-tailed Hawk - one of my favourite common species in Ontario. It was not new for |
my Big Year, but was still very exciting to photograph from the passenger seat of a friend's car!
|This is an immature Red-tailed Hawk in flight.|
|Brown-headed Cowbirds and starlings, anyone? This photo represents approximately 1 or 2% of each |
of the massive flocks we've been seeing at grain storage yards in Essex County this winter!
WEPbirds (Windsor-Essex-Pelee Birds) is a google group created by my good friend Kory Renaud and moderated by Jeremy Hatt, Kory, and I. We use this site to post uncommon and rare bird sightings, and trip lists, and also welcome discussions and questions so the local birding community can connect and grow with each other. If you enjoy birds in southwestern Ontario you may find WEPbirds rather interesting! Also, Kory and his great family run a couple of very cool blogs that can be found at:
Now back to my story! I asked my friend Kit if he wanted to do some birding in the Leamington area on January 8, and he was already out this way so we met up after lunch and hit the backroads. We first tried a yard with bird feeders near a grain storage area in Staples where I had seen a Yellow-headed Blackbird a couple of years ago. There were probably 500-1000 House Sparrows there - so many in fact that I might go back there this winter to see if I can turn up anything rare! Aside from the House Sparrows and a few European Starlings, Cardinals, and Dark-eyed Juncos there were virtually no other birds at these feeders on this visit. We saw a couple of Cooper's Hawks taking turns attempting to hunt this large flock - always a treat to see.
|This is a photo of an immature Cooper's Hawk similar to the ones I |
mentioned above, also found hunting in Essex County this winter.
- Brown-headed Cowbirds - about 7000 individuals
- European Starlings - about 1000
- House Sparrows - about 100
- Red-winged Blackbirds - about 50
- Common Grackle - 10
- Yellow-headed Blackbird!!! - **1**
|I was very satisfied with the photos I captured of the Yellow-headed Blackbird on my second visit!|
|It took a few tries to get a few decent photos of the Yellow-headed Blackbird in flight, but there|
were ample opportunities because of how restless the flock was with so many raptors around!
|This is the Merlin that was bombing on the blackbird flock repeatedly during our |
second visit. This fellow really shook things up while we studied the flock!
That sums up my week or two of birding spent (mostly) at home. My next trip should be pretty exciting and contain a bit more travelling than necessary during my Ontario Big Year. Thanks for reading!