Sunday 27 January 2013

Beware of Raptors

Today I joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists club on a search for hawks and other fun birds in the area.

Red-tailed Hawks appeared to be the most numerous at the start of the day, being the first hawk species to break the 10 individuals mark. Gradually Rough-legged Hawks started to catch up, and eventually had established a strong lead with 19 vs 14 individuals when we were well on our way home. Red-tailed Hawks tried to make a last ditch effort to re-claim their lead with an additional 5 being seen while we were in the last 2km stretch of the trip. But that wasn't enough as 1 RLHA venturing unusually close to the urban city managed to seal the deal with 20 RLHA to 19 RTHA!

Other interesting statistics from the day:
- I submitted my 600th ever sighting of a Mallard to eBird :p

- And submitted 298th checklist for the year already!

Many of the trees were iced over in the morning:

One of the main highlights from the day was a Lapland Longspur that I found feeding within a flock of Horned Larks and Snow Buntings. Unfortunately only a few people got to see any of the 3 LALOs that we found today.

Later down the road, a large flock of approx. 1000 Snow Buntings was fun to see. The flock also included a hand-full of Horned Larks and at least 1 Lapland Longspur.
Can you find the somewhat obstructed LALO in this photo:

Only 1 Northern Shrike today - at least it was patient enough to allow everyone to see it:

On our second try we found the Red-shouldered Hawk that has been over-wintering at Hawkesville since December 2003! That makes it the 10th consecutive year it has been hanging out in this area.

Red-shouldered Hawks have been known to live until 26 years of age. So this bird may be here for yet another few winters!