I went on my fourth field trip with the Ontario Field Ornithologists this past Sunday. En route to Cayuga with a fellow birder; we stopped and turned around after he noticed a Red-tailed Hawk. He also spotted a Pileated Woodpecker near the hawk (which I wasn’t able to pick out). Three Wild Turkeys appeared nearby while he scoped the hawks. We had another hawk, a probable pileated, a white-breasted nuthatch and a Downy Woodpecker in the same area; all before the trip had officially begun!
Our first stop, Ruthven Park, yielded some Eastern Bluebirds and a Tufted Titmouse; they’re so cute. Black-capped Chickadees and another WB Nuthatch were there as well.
Other great sightings that afternoon were: six (!) Short-eared Owls that were close enough, at one point, to be viewed without binoculars. They were splendid. A low-flying Northern Harrier was quite spectacular. One Northern Shrike was spotted by my passenger and a few of us were able to get good looks while the rest of the group kept going, unaware of our discovery. A juvenile Bald Eagle was another highlight, as was a great flock of Snow Buntings to round out the trip.
Another Northern Harrier was seen on the way home, quite close to the road! It was hovering quite close to the ground in the same manner as the first harrier we saw that day.
I haven’t been able to bird all that much this year, mainly due to the cold; I hope to rectify that in the coming weeks with the additional daylight and warmer (hopefully!) temperatures.