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Monday, September 1, 2014

Condo Birding Update - 25-30 August 2014 (Long-tailed & Parasitic Jaegers, Sabine's, Black Tern, Peregrine)

What a great time of year!

25 August (before work) - calm...

5 Common Loon
30 Long-tailed Duck
1 Belted Kingfisher
22 Common Terns (18 in a "migrant flock")
2 Green-winged Teal

27 August

2 Common Loons (I wasn't really home)

28 August - take it away, ebird! (great evening) -blogg

Mallard 20
Green-winged Teal 5
White-winged Scoter 17
Long-tailed Duck 27
Common Loon 2
Cooper's Hawk 1
Long-tailed Jaeger 1 int. juvenile seen for ~7-8 minutes, classic in every way (lemon hindcollar, reduced white flash, white on upperside of primaries limited to extreme edge of wing, gentle flight, only chased Common Terns during entire observation (and only limited chasing), etc etc etc. Close enough to be ID'd with binoculars (but observed with scope)
Sabine's Gull 1 juvenile seen well - bold brownish/black/white pattern on wings (triagular) - small gull (size of BOGU)
Bonaparte's Gull 2
Black Tern 1 non-breeding (juv?) garb inside flock of 30+ Common Terns - seen well through scope for 2 mins. Noticably smaller than COTE with dusky slate colour overall.
Common Tern 70 - very large numbers, in "migrant flocks" - probably over 100 around

Great day! Long-tailed Jaeger, Sabine's Gull and Black Tern! All after work! 

29 August - thanks ebird! - take it away: 

American Black Duck 2
Green-winged Teal 18
White-winged Scoter 12
Long-tailed Duck 20
Common Loon 3
Osprey 4
Parasitic Jaeger 1    -   light morph adult around 5pm

Long-tailed Jaeger 1    -   One of the most stunning Jaeger's I've seen in Ontario. Adult with full tail streamers (8+ inches?), extensive dusky gray belly, cold gray tones to upperside with "two toned" blackish flight feathers vs. gray body feathers. Observed for over 5 minutes as it lazily flew westwards at roughly 200ft above the water (practically eye level for me)

Sabine's Gull 1    -   juvenile
Bonaparte's Gull 5
Lesser Black-backed Gull 3    -   all born this summer.
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Common Tern 5
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Wilson's Warbler
1 Bay-breasted Warbler    -   (new for my condo itself / # 176) 

Had watched all day and it felt rather slow, other than that insane Jaeger! What a bird!!!

August 30th - calm early, blistering SW in the afternoon

2 Great Black-backed Gulls (1 an adult! Haven't seen one of those for a few months round here)
2 Osprey
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (both juvies, one may have been the same as yest)
1 Great Egret
1 Merlin
1 Peregrine Falcon (unbanded juvenile male)

2 "strange" sightings as well.

#1 was a Common Spreadwing (odonata) ended up INSIDE my condo! On the 17th floor!

#2 was a PURE flock of EIGHTEEN albino Pigeons!!! They raced along the lake (going west) and weren't seen again. I'm guessing they were released at a wedding (or something?) nearby, but who knows...

More to come!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

RARITY ALERT - more interesting weatha!

Tis the season - and I told ya'll ;)

Let's take a look:

Saturday! (yesterday) - strong south winds pushed into Ontario - and they stretched a long way (fairly long);

Tropical moisture invading on Sunday?! -

Hot pink areas drawn by me: here it shows the tropical moisture at 2pm Saturday 

8pm Saturday - moisture moving north 

2 am sunday - moisture practically at (or over) Lake Erie already - looks pretty cool!

Then on Monday - fairly large storm over far NW Ontario, that could still bring us a few goodies... 

Sub 1000mb

None of these events are really mind-blowing, but it's great weather for unusual birds to show up - and I'm sure a Limpkin or Reddish Egret would really make it all feel worth-while ;) 

NOT taken in Napanee! It's not worth making a blog post about - I got a little over-confident and went for the White Ibis for dawn the day after it was reported.. I didn't get it... 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fireball over Guelph - 25 August 2014

Wow! There we were (my lovely ladyfriend and I) - swinging on the swings at a local park in Guelph, when she spotted it!

A meteor/fireball streaking across the sky!

She saw it better than I did, but I caught the last second or so as it "broke up" and fizzled out high overhead. The time was 8:35pm... Looking like some sort of oversized (and silent) firework that put on quite the show during the breakup - and reasonably colourful as well...

The next day she sent me a few links that told us we were not the only ones to observe the excitement:

Ontario, Canada Fireball Meteor 25AUG2014:


Latest worldwide reports: (check Aug 25) -


As you can see by the reports of others - it was darn impressive! A quick wikipedia search on the correct technical terms gave me this passage:

fireball is a brighter-than-usual meteor. The International Astronomical Union defines a fireball as "a meteor brighter than any of the planets" (magnitude −4 or greater).[26] The International Meteor Organization (an amateur organization that studies meteors) has a more rigid definition. It defines a fireball as a meteor that would have a magnitude of −3 or brighter if seen at zenith. This definition corrects for the greater distance between an observer and a meteor near the horizon. For example, a meteor of magnitude −1 at 5 degrees above the horizon would be classified as a fireball because if the observer had been directly below the meteor it would have appeared as magnitude −6.[27] For 2013 there were 3556 fireballs recorded at the American Meteor Society.[28] There are probably more than 500,000 fireballs a year,[29] but most will go unnoticed because most will occur over the ocean and half will occur during daytime.
Fireballs reaching magnitude −14 or brighter are called bolides.[30] The IAU has no official definition of "bolide", and generally considers the term synonymous with "fireball". Astronomers often use "bolide" to identify an exceptionally bright fireball, particularly one that explodes (sometimes called a detonating fireball). It may also be used to mean a fireball which creates audible sounds. In the late twentieth century, bolide has also come to mean any object that hits the Earth and explodes, with no regard to its composition (asteroid or comet).[31] The word bolide comes from the Greek βολίς (bolis[32] which can mean a missile or to flash. If the magnitude of a bolide reaches −17 or brighter it is known as a superbolide.[30][33]

According to that text, I would say we could be fairly confident in calling our observation a "bolides" - as it was exceptionally bright (considering it was still twilight - no stars yet visible) - and we could see it "break up" as it ended...

Anyways - that's all I can really write! It was freakin cool, although (as you might expect from a swingset observation) - I don't really have any photos or anything to accompany this post.

Never ending excitement in this world!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Condo Birding Update - August 14 to August 24

August 14: NW winds! Highlights:

Willow Flycatcher
Hairy Woodpecker (NEW for the patch/condo! Where the HK did it come from?)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Kingbird (1 high flying migrant)
Puddle Duck Sp - 7 (high flying migrants)

Not exactly NW wind lakewatching birds, but I'll take the new patch bird (HAWO=198) - it's also #174 for my condo proper.

August 15:

Great Egret - 1
Bobolink - 1 --- NEW condo/patch bird! (175/199 respectively) - flew over my building (calling) at 11:20am!
Brown-headed Cowbird - (one notable "lost" (?) juvenile - circling around the top of the other condo building and chased by a House Sparrow... I was all excited for nothing!)

August 18:

Home late in the day - 10 Bonaparte's Gulls on light NE winds were my first of the fall (and a good sign!)

August 19: NE winds!!! Yeah!!!! Tis the season - almost?

Common Loon - 5    (all in basic-type garb??)
Baltimore Oriole - 4   (3 high-flying migrants? - all singles)
Green Heron - 1
Osprey - 2
A Kestrel - 1
Bonaparte's Gull - 1
Great Black-backed Gull - 1
Common Tern - 21 (pure flock late)
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1 (1st alt/2nd basic) - at 7:30pm!

A major highlight was one of the flyby  Osprey - carrying a very large goldfish! If only I had a camera... No Jaegers though... I'm also not sure when it happens, but at some point - all the Common Terns seemingly vanish (the locals) and we get left with these rare sightings of wandering/migrant flocks. It has happened!

August 20: Not exactly what I wanted - but still fun! Light winds, E, S, SW, rain, sun, - everything

Great Egret - 1
Green Heron - 1
Osprey - 2
A. Kestrel - 2
RT Hummingbird - 1
Belted Kingfisher - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 13 (more high flying migrants)
Common Loon - 3
Mallard - 22
N. Shoveller - 2
Long-tailed Duck - 7
White-winged Scoter - 10

August 21 - didn't watch nearly as much as previous days

3 Green-winged Teal
6 Long-tailed Duck
1 Common Loon
1 American Kestrel

August 23 - birds! weather! winds!

1 Peregrine Falcon
2 Osprey
1 Common Loon
4 Common Terns
1 Red-necked Grebe
1 Bonaparte's Gull

Long-tailed Jaeger!!!!!!! But not at my condo... My lovely ladyfriend and I stopped at Van Wagner's (Lakeland) for 60 seconds before a juv LTJA flew right down the beach and directly over everyones head. Awesome!!! (10-15 feet away!)

August 24- moar east winds!!!!

But first, songbirds were evident from my balcony early. I scored:

1 Gray Catbird
1 Eastern Kingbird
1 Trail's Flycatcher
1 Warbling Vireo
1 Cape May Warbler (new for my condo proper)
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Least Flycatcher

- all darn good things from 160ft in the air!

Then, the "other" stuff! -

10 Common Loons
2 Osprey
1 Bonaparte's Gull
1 Great Egret
1 Belted Kingfisher
1 Common Nighthawk (dusk)
1 Peregrine Falcon
1 Black-legged Kittiwake
1 Forster's Tern

Pretty sweet stuff!!! The Kittiwake was exciting as my first "pelagic" of the season, whereas the Forester's Tern is actually a much rarer bird for Hamilton at the time/year - but lets be honest - the Kittiwake was pretty freakin great.

More to come! Tis the season!