Two More to Go

I’m now sitting at 258 Essex County year birds!  After surpassing my original goal of 250, I’ve now got my eyes on 260.  I think it’s doable, but I just need some birds to show up when I’m around and have time to chase them.  Again, I’m not trying to set any record, just trying to learn everything I can.

Unfortunately for the latest birds, I didn’t get any pictures.  Mostly my fault for being a little lazy.

256 – Red Crossbill.  Being an irruption year, I’d really hope to come across this bird.  I’ve seen reports of single birds around in the area but I hadn’t been lucky enough to come across one until I took a quick lunch break at Cedar Creek Conservation Area.  The CA is about 5 minutes from my house so I grabbed a sandwich and headed out for a quick walk and I was rewarded!  I had been studying the calls of all the ‘types’ of Red Crossbills all Fall and that work payed off.  I heard the kip-kip flight call from a long way off and as luck would have it, it landed right in the heavily coned pine tree right above my head.  It gave me just enough time to get my bins on it for a good look but not enough time for a picture before it took off again – calling.  Lifer!

257 – Northern Goshawk.  I was worried I was going to miss this raptor for the year because I’ve seen the reports start to drop off.  It was my weekend to cover the hawk count at Holiday Beach and it turns out it was the perfect weekend to count – finally got it!  It was poor lighting for pictures so I didn’t even bring the camera up on the tower with me (lazy).  Learned my lesson on that one.  The Goshawk flew just north of the tower and gave me all of the ID features I needed.  Great bird on a quiet migration day!

258 – Le Conte’s Sparrow. Yes for real.  This one was completely by accident.  I wasn’t chasing it even though Alan Wormington and Michael Tate had reported seeing one a few days earlier in the tram turnaround area at Point Pelee.  I just happened to be walking back to my car after finding nothing in Sparrow Field when a “small sparrow” caught my eye.  I had a feeling I had to find that bird even though I wasn’t thinking Le Conte’s at the time, it was only because I wasn’t seeing much in the park! I had forgotten about the Ontbirds posting.  Got a little closer and there it was – just skulking around in the brush.  I got really good looks at the bird when I said to myself, “I should really take a picture.”  Camera was in the car less than 20 feet away so I ran over to car, but again my laziness burned me.  I couldn’t find the bird again.  Less learned again.

Just 2 more birds to go.  Hopefully some rare geese start showing up, or a gull, or anything I don’t already have.  I’m doing a few of the Christmas Bird Counts so who knows, maybe something will turn up then with everyone checking the county – as long as it’s before December 31 at 11:59pm!

I’d didn’t want to have a photoless post so here’s some yard bird shots (blurry because they were shot through the window).  The yard bird list is growing even though our neighborhood is pretty treeless — Reb-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Flicker, Purple Finch, and Yellow-rumped Warbler added so far this year.  

“Dave” The Downy – Outsmarted a
Cooper’s Hawk in the yard recently

Pine Siskens showed up for a few days

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