Sunday, February 28, 2016

Brick Yard Bird

I had a target bird in mind for today, so the Warwick area was the destination.
Recently, a Gyrfalcon had been seen and photographed mainly along Brick Yard Line just north of the village of Warwick.
Back on January 29, the bird was well-photographed by Alexa Coupland, but it was not known to local birders until a bit later.
Last weekend, Dave Bourne of Sarnia managed to refind the bird and obtained some decent photos. So, it was still in the area!

And yesterday, Mike Bouman saw the bird again in a couple of different spots.  Good photos can be seen on his eBird report.

Photo courtesy Nethercott's

Needless to say, I wanted to see this rare bird for southwestern Ontario since I have not gone after one in 24 years!
After considerable driving around, I got a message from the Nethercott's that the bird was beside a house along Brick Yard Line.  I was not far behind, and drove to the site.  The falcon was perched atop a broken pine in a very inconspicuous location.  I managed to get some record photos.

It is not often a Gyrfalcon stays in one area for a length of time.  Some do though.  There was one at Beachville, Oxford for about a month in early 1992 (found by James Holdsworth).  Many went to see this particular bird.  Those were the days a Gyrfalcon was still a review species for the OBRC.
A few gyrs were around in 1992 including the dark morph seen by Allen Woodliffe on Walpole Island.

Two years ago Steve Charbonneau and Jim Burk found one near the Blenheim Landfill. That was only a brief sighting and not long enough for one to finish buying groceries.

A number have been seen at Kettle Point over the years, including one this past January 12 by George MacDermid.
Yet another was near Windsor just this past December.
There have been some Pelee records in the past as well.
The Gyrfalcon can be seen in various colour morphs, but around here they are almost always gray.

After observing the Gyrfalcon, I did some considerable driving around on this very nice day.  I went down to Wardsville Woods for a walk.  Other than a large flock of American Robins, there was not much to see there.  Upon arriving back at the car, I met Pete and Sue Read et al. who were out looking for birds.  I told them about the falcon.

View at Wardsville Woods

On the last leg of my journey, I ended up on the St. Clair River around Sombra.  There were lots of ducks to look at, but the sun was very bright.  Early spring migrants included a pair of American Wigeon at Cundick Park working around the ice.

Tundra Swans are moving north.  There was a large group near Sombra this afternoon.


  1. In fact, one at Point Pelee this past spring!

    1. Indeed. I remember Paul Pratt's listing.

  2. I suspect from pics that this may be the same bird I seen Jan 12 . I'm out of the country right now so won't be able to get another viewing. My son actually lives within about a kl of the last sighting

    1. Thanks George. You never know....many of them look quite a bit alike!