North American Birds

VOLUME 68 NO2 2015

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/502371

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V O L U M E 6 8 ( 2 0 1 5 ) • N U M B E R 2 211 Ontario the Great Lakes, ducks concentrated wherever open water could be found. Numbers of Long- tailed Ducks built up on the St. Clair River, Lambton to an unprecedented 35,000+ on 16 Feb (BAM). Additionally, Long-tailed Ducks were reported inland along open rivers in Brant, Kawartha Lakes, Middlesex, Oxford, Perth, Peterborough, Waterloo, and Wellington. The 6000 Common Goldeneyes on Lake Erie off Hillman Marsh 26 Jan (AW, WGL) established a record-high count for Point Pelee. Eight Bar- row's Goldeneyes were reported: 4 females and one male on the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers, Ot- tawa through the period (m.ob.) and singles at Kingston, Frontenac 15 Dec (per RDW), Prince Edward Point 4 Jan (RDW), Washago, Simcoe 23-28 Feb+ (DLG, RCG), and South Bay, Prince Edward 14 Jan (PMSS). Gray Partridges remained elusive through- out most of Ontario; however, small numbers were seen s. and w. of Ottawa throughout the period. Rare for Toronto was a male Ring- necked Pheasant at Scarborough 2 Jan (MAK). Details are incomplete, but good numbers of Willow Ptarmigan were reported from along the s. shores of James Bay by late winter (fde CJN), representing the largest fight in some time to this area. One specifc observation per- tained to 40 birds along the e. side of Hannah Bay, Cochrane in late Feb (JJGI et al.). Providing the frst winter record for Middlesex since 1898, 2 Red-throated Loons were at London 11 Feb (PR). A total of 30 Red-throated Loons at Niag- ara-on-the-Lake, Niagara 1 Dec (JHS) made a good count for Dec. Red-necked Grebes were widely displaced due to the extensive ice cover on the Great Lakes. Stranded birds were dis- covered in many areas, while other individu- als were found on inland rivers. Notable both for the inland location and time of year, an Eared Grebe remained at Puslinch, Wellington 1-12 Dec (CGE, MDC, CC, BKW). An American White Pelican at Bel- leville, Hastings 2 Dec and Frank- ford, Hastings 6-8 Dec was likely the same bird that had been seen at Shannonville, Hastings and at Napanee, Lennox and Addington since 4 Aug (fde RTS). Black Vul- tures continue to be seen along the lower Niagara River, Niagara; up to 5 birds were reported from Queenston, Niagara 1 Dec–28 Feb+ (m.ob.). Rare for Chatham- Kent was a Black Vulture at the Blenheim landfll 25 Feb–4 Mar (KJB). Even with an extremely harsh winter, Turkey Vulture sightings remained regular. No- table were 18 roosting near Dun- Point Pelee (Point Pelee Birding Area, a stan- dard C.B.C. circle centered just n. of Point Pelee N.P.); S.L. (Sewage Lagoon). Ontario is divided into northern and southern regions by 47º N latitude. Place names in italics refer to a county, district, or regional municipality. WATERFOWL THROUGH WOODPECKERS An ad. Greater White-fronted Goose at Hillman Marsh, Essex 21 Feb (AW) and 4 at Shrews- bury, Chatham-Kent 22 Feb (JTB) were very early spring migrants. Ross's Goose sightings continue to increase throughout Ontario; this season saw seven reports of 9 total birds. Forty- fve Trumpeter Swans at Scarborough, Toronto 5 Jan (RBHS, DBW) set a new high count for Toronto. Mute Swan numbers continue to rise; 824 made a new high count for the Presqu'ile C.B.C. 15 Dec. Several early spring migrant waterfowl species were observed throughout sw. Ontario in mid-Feb, including Gadwall, American Wigeon, and Northern Pintail. A male Wood Duck at Point Pelee N.P., Essex 22 Feb (BAM) was very early. Notable for the inland location were 18 Canvasbacks at Lon- don, Middlesex 28 Jan (LF). Small numbers of King Eiders were seen this winter around the w. end of Lake Ontario. A female on Lake Erie at Hillman Marsh 6 Dec (MBR, RAR) was a local rarity for Point Pelee. A imm. male and female at Prince Edward Point, Prince Edward 27 Feb (CH, SD) remained through the period and were joined by 2 more females in Mar. The frst borealis Common Eider recorded in On- tario was a female at Fifty Point C.A., Hamilton/ Niagara 2-23 Dec (JAT, CL, m.ob.). Harlequin Ducks were widespread, with 10 records total- ling 22 birds noted, most being reported from Lake Ontario. Due to extensive ice cover on Joshua D. Vandermeulen ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– T he winter of 2013-2014 was one of the harshest in recent memory across Ontar- io. Below-average temperatures arrived in early December and continued throughout the month. This limited the number of linger- ing warblers and other passerines and signalled an early exit for waterfowl species. Winter fnches and Bohemian Waxwings were very scarce this winter due to the abundant food re- sources in the north. As a result, only 195 bird species were reported throughout the province during the period, down from 217 and 224 species during the previous two. Snowy Owls moved southward in large numbers across eastern North America. This ir- ruption was well observed throughout Ontario, and many areas saw record-high numbers. Be- ginning in late January and continuing through February, waterfowl such as grebes, loons, and diving ducks began appearing on inland rivers or wherever they could fnd open water. These birds were likely displaced due to the very high ice cover on the Great Lakes, which by early March had peaked at 91%. A brief mild spell in mid- to late Febru- ary encouraged the arrival of several early migrant waterfowl species to the extreme southwest of the province—the only re- spite from the harsh wintry weather. Species in boldface are reviewable by the Ontario Bird Records Committee (O.B.R.C.). Several notable rarities for Ontario were reported during the season, including borealis Common Eider, Thick- billed Murre, Anna's Hummingbird, Clark's Nutcracker, Spotted Towhee, and Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch. Abbreviations: G.T.A. (Greater Toronto Area); H.S.A. (Hamilton Study Area); Great Gray Owls remained in the north for the most part during the winter of 2013-2014, though this individual was enjoyed by many during its stay in Brooklin, Durham Region from 12 (here 19) January through 13 February. Photograph by Joshua D. Vandermeulen.

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