Compiled by Eamon Corbett
As I write this, 2012 is ticking away, with just over five hours left for birders to add to their year lists before they begin anew next year. The five young birders featured in this post certainly made the most of the final month of 2012, seeing what I consider “typical” winter birds like Bohemian Waxwings, Red Crossbills, and Short-eared Owls, as well as some less standard species for the colder months, like shorebirds and Yucatan Poorwills (the latter obviously far from the snow we have here in New York).
Back on December 2 I joined a group of hardy birders on the annual "Purple Palooza" up at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, hosted by Doug McRae. The goal of the trip is mainly to find Purple Sandpipers, which we had success with - along with the bonus of three other shorebird species! Not something that happens often in the winter in Ontario!
The snapping of cones being disassembled surrounded us. They had come as an eruption from the North. They had arrived at East Beach by wing, a bad cone crop was all it had taken to send the two species wheeling out of control and spilling them across the country.
Two posts from across the Atlantic caught my eye this month. On Midlands Birder, Craig Reed describes watching a flock of Waxwings (Bohemian Waxwings to us American), and presents some excellent photos of these spectacular birds eating rowan berries:
With no news having emerged from Hartlebury trading estate, we decided to bite the bullet and visit anyway, And it was as we were pulling up to 'Hatts Kitchens' that i quickly noticed a bird perched on top of the adjoining silver birch, and a scrum of photographers/ Birders watching a yellow berried Rowan.
Lens and camera both safely back in hand, where better place to get back into the swing of things than the luscious, rolling countryside of Staines, where no fewer than four Short-eared Owls have been kicking about Staines Moor- real gem of a urban patch- situated in the shadow of the roaring M25.
And if you can stand the jealousy, be sure to check out Ethan Kistler’s accounts, part one and part two, of birding on the Yucatan Peninsula on Nomadic Birder. He and a few other young birders have escaped the cold and are seeing some great birds in Central America:
Behind our camp, we heard this odd noise…perhaps a frog or insect. I was creeping around very slowly in thick vegetation trying to track down the culprit. Just before turning around and giving up, I noticed two eyes staring at me – Yucatan Poorwill!