Monday, August 28, 2017

Fall movement, August 27-28, 2017

Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Northern ('Yellow-Shafted') Flicker Colaptes auratus
Magnolia Warbler Setophaga magnolia
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
   I didn't have time for a thorough survey of the cemetery, just a quick walk-through today. Some signs of fall migration today in the form of an uptick in Northern Flickers, single Tennessee and Magnolia Warblers, and an Ovenbird at the summit. A Common Nighthawk was spotted roosting on metal scaffolding near the Westmount summit, but I couldn't get a decent angle on it, photographically. In the 1980's, their calls were a common summer sound in my neighbourhood - I haven't heard one in a very long time.

Best picnic spot ever
distant Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
juvenile Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
Spring Peeper Pseudacris crucifer
male Monarch Danaus plexippus
  Took a Sunday trip up to a quiet trail near Mont-Tremblant, with a quiet beaver pond as the ultimate destination. A pair of Hooded Mergansers, a Belted Kingfisher, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk fed around the pond, and a small warbler wave came through at one point, seemingly mostly composed of Yellow-rumped Warblers.
  Small numbers of Common Yellowthroat, Magnolia, PineBlack-throated Blue, and Black-throated Green Warblers were encountered in the woods, along with a young Hermit Thrush.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

"Historical posts"

View from my apartment, Gimpo, 2005
View from my apartment, Seogwipo, Jeju Island, 2009
Trying all the hand gestures while in search of Fairy Pittas with Tim and Youngho, Jeju Island, 2010
  It’s a birding time warp! I started this blog in 2012 to record my birding adventures while in Korea, and wherever else my binos happened to find themselves. I began birding in Korea in 2005, and it’s always bugged me that those earlier sightings and experiences weren’t on Snowy Owl Lost. Because I’ve got some time on my hands, I’ve started working on “Historical posts,” in an effort to consolidate my early birdventures from the various blogs and websites where they reside.
  While the majority of these have been culled from the “Archived Bird News“ section of Birds Korea’s excellent website (, I’ve been scouring many other sources as well, including my old ‘non-birding’ blog, several newspaper articles I wrote, my birding notes (when I can find them), emails and messages, and a large and scattered collection of photo folders (useful for digging up contemporary habitat shots). I’ve even recently unearthed old picture CDs (CDs!) from the 2005-2007 era, when I was attempting to photograph birds with an old point-and-shoot camera - that oughta be good for a laugh.
  For a lot of the older images, the original files were lost during the infamous computer crash of 2011, so many pictures will be lamentably poor-resolution screensaves. Some of these lost images are on a broken external hard drive that I may get fixed one day.
  Wherever possible, I’ll try to add some depth to the often pithy bird reports in the form of my contemporary musings, or current recollections. Rummaging through these old images has definitely stirred up a boiling pot of forgotten memories - of the birds, people, and experiences involved in my decade of Korean birding. I’d forgotten about many of these, and preserving birding memories is precisely what this blog is all about.

  The “Historical posts” tab can be found at the bottom of this post, and also on the right-hand side of the page under “Labels” (then of course, clicking on “Older Posts” at the bottom of the page sends you further down the rabbit hole). Another way to browse these posts is by clicking on “2011” or an older year (currently working through 2010 posts), in the “Blog Archive” column, also on the right-hand side of the page.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Boozed-up Whistlepig, and other cemeterial delights

Merlin Falco columbarius
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
Nashville Warbler Leiothlypis ruficapilla
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerine (picking on something its own size)
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
  A surprisingly birdy Sunday in the two cemeteries, at an interesting time of year, with plenty of juveniles still around, but with signs of autumn migration already underway. This was most evident with an Olive-sided Flyatcher sighting, and the feeling continued with Wood-warblers - in a quiet corner of the NDN Cemetery, I encountered three species in the small patch, and had to knock the dust off my ‘warbler brain’ in a hurry.
  The Magnolia Warbler definitely had the feel of migration about it – it fed in a pine for about 20 minutes, before it launched itself up past the highest treetops and winged south with purpose. Also interesting to see a Nashville Warbler, although perhaps trickier to guess if it was on the move or a summer local. Nearby, spotty juvenile Eastern Bluebirds perched in a dead tree like listless ornaments, and it was amusing to witness a Chipping Sparrow grappling with a cicada.
  I watched a flowerdrunk Groundhog repeatedly take pratfalls down a hill and thought I was getting great video clips, but apparently I still don’t know precisely what all the buttons on my camera do. Next time, you hilarious tipsy rodent, next time.

NDN and Mount Royal Cemeteries, August 13, 2017
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk-1
Ring-billed Gull-1
Chimney Swift-2
Downy Woodpecker-1 juvenile
Eastern Wood Pewee-1
Olive-sided Flycatcher-1
Eastern Phoebe-1
Red-eyed Vireo-4

Warbling Vireo-1
American Crow-7
Black-capped Chickadee-15+
White-breasted Nuthatch-2
Red-breasted Nuthatch-1
House Wren-1 juvenile
Eastern Bluebird-4 juveniles
Gray Catbird-1
Cedar Waxwing-9
Nashville Warbler-1
American Redstart-2
Magnolia Warbler-1 male coming out of breeding plumage
Indigo Bunting-2 females and 5 juveniles
Northern Cardinal-1 male
Chipping Sparrow-25+, evenly split between adult and juvenile birds
Song Sparrow-2 adults, 3 juveniles
Baltimore Oriole-1

American Goldfinch-4

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Northbirds of August

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
adult Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
juvenile Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
juvenile Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Rang Ste Marie
Rang Ste Dominique
That's what an agricultural ditch oughta look like
Leisurely backyard summer birding with Joey
  Spent the weekend chilling and birding up north. Notable at Joey’s place in Prévost was a Black-and-white Warbler (difficult to divine from online data if it was a local breeder or an early migrant), and several Warbling Vireos
  It was interesting to survey the same slice of agricultural habitat in summer where we had Snowy Owls and Snow Buntings this past February ( We didn’t spot any Bobolinks, Savannah, or Vesper Sparrows in the fields of Mirabel, but I could smell them in the fresh winds. There wasn’t time for a detailed accounting, but the small wooded areas and lush ditches merit more attention, as they surely contain skulking avian revelations.

Rangs Ste Marie & Ste Dominique, Mirabel, June 5, 2017
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier-1
American Kestrel-at least 10 (a seemingly healthy local population)
Killdeer-25+ milling about on the fallow fields and gravel lots
Mourning Dove-2
Eastern Wood-Pewee-1 heard from a wooded area
Eastern Phoebe-3
Eastern Kingbird-1
Warbling Vireo-1
Red-eyed Vireo-3
American Crow-75+ feeding in a grassy field
Barn Swallow-3
Cliff Swallow-10+
Tree Swallow-15+ (most hirundine action was focused around one damp field, featuring an old barn apparently used for nesting/roosting)
American Robin-4
European Starling-20+
Chestnut-sided Warbler-1
Song Sparrow-8+
Red-winged Blackbird-12+
Common Grackle-4
American Goldfinch-6+
Finch sp.-several dark, chunky finches seen at a distance, possibly House Finch