I'm back!! Yes, after 2 weeks of being home during the holidays, I'm back in Toronto with wireless internet (= more posts...it just doesn't happen with dial-up, which I was forced to use at my parents' house). Thought I should provide a few updates to start off 2008. It's always exciting to begin a new year. You get to finalize your year list for the prior year (a 2007 list is on its way), you get to start a new year list, and yes, spring migration is just around the corner.
Due to scheduling conflicts, Marianne and I were not able to be the first to Point Pelee on January 1, 2008, however, we were some of the last people to be at the tip in 2007 as we went to the park on December 31. Well, there wasn't much activity but we quickly met up with Adam and Rosa Lee Hall and Adam Pinch in Sparrow Field where we saw Red-bellied and Downy Woodpecker and a few flocks of Cedar Waxwings (no Bohemians, which I was really hoping for). I didn't write anything down from that day, though, so I can't remember if we had anything else. At the tip, we had the regulars; a few Bonies, Herring and Ring-billed, and Great Black-backed Gull as well as Mergansers, Bufflehead, and a single, female Black Scoter. Later, after a short visit with Henrietta O'Niell, who informed us that she had not found any owls across from the Dunes picnic area, we had a single Common Redpoll flyover. On Christmas Day, at my aunt and uncle's house in Sarnia, I saw about 30-40 Redpolls at their backyard feeder.
Also during the break, I had great luck with raptors. In total, I had 6 species including Northern Harrier, Cooper's, Red-tailed, and Rough-legged Hawks, American Kestrel, and Bald Eagle. The Bald Eagle was a juvenile bird lacking the white head and tail of the adults (which eagles acquire in their 4rth year). Kestrels are still easy to find along country roads and Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks are easily found along the 401 (I saw both species along the highway while I was riding the Greyhound home). One of the Rough-legged Hawks between Windsor and and Comber on the 401 was a dark morph adult. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, that this was a first for me, possibly second. I wish I could have got a better look than the one I got (125 km/hr through a frosted window). The only other sighting of note I can think of right now was on January 2nd, when I had an American Coot at the warm-water outlet pipe at Muddy Creek.
In other news, I added 2 more books to my field guides collection: The Peterson Guide to Gulls of the Americas and Shorebirds of North America: The Photographic Guide. I haven't had much time to look through them yet but I do have to study my gulls a bit before my next outing, a trip led by Glenn Coady along the Toronto waterfront to spot gulls.
I'll be updating much more frequently as I start to check out my Toronto haunts again (Humber Bay Parks, High Park, and the Waterfront for gulls). Oh, and I just remembered my last bit o' news: I'll be a Toronto Ornithological Club (TOC) member by March of this year...which is kind of ridiculous considering I might be moving back home to Leamington in April, but I want access to the ROM!
Happy New Year!