PAUL ROEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Wildlife and Nature Photography

Good Birding Report: London, Ontario
February 8-15 2015

One benefit of these cold temperatures is the number of waterfowl species that migrate to the Thames River in search of open water. Male Red-breasted Merganser now present at Greenway Park.

One benefit of these cold temperatures is the number of waterfowl species that migrate to the Thames River in search of open water. Male Red-breasted Merganser now present at Greenway Park.

This past week temperatures plummeted to the lowest we have experienced so far this winter. As avid birders in the London area know, when temperatures decrease, waterfowl on the Thames River increases. Frigid daytime highs and nighttime lows have made for greater ice coverage on Lake Superior and Lake Huron, leaving the Thames River as a viable option for many diving ducks looking for open water.

Greenway Park is a great place in London to view waterfowl. The section of river downstream from the Greenway Pollution Control Centre stays open year round and attracts several species, including this male Canvasback.

Greenway Park is a great place in London to view waterfowl. The section of river downstream from the Greenway Pollution Control Centre stays open year round and attracts several species, including this male Canvasback.

Along with the usual Buffleheads, Common Goldeneye, Common and Hooded Mergansers that routinely overwinter on the Thames, several other species appeared this week on the river. Greater Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked and Horned Grebes, and a Canvasback were all observed this past week. Other notable species were Redheads, Northern Pintails, and Great Black-backed Gulls. Perhaps the most notable, and one that eluded me all week, was a male Harlequin Duck. This bird has been reported multiple times in various locations between Springbank and Greenway Parks. As mentioned in previous posts, this section of river is my favourite for observing winter waterfowl. Not only does it offer the most open water and a high concentration of ducks, geese and gulls; the pathways are kept clear of snow and ice, making for easy walking.

This adult Bald Eagle was photographed as it took flight after perching in large Poplar tree along the river bank.

This adult Bald Eagle was photographed as it took flight after perching in large Poplar tree along the river bank.

Bald Eagles are still very much visible along river, with daily sightings of both adults and juveniles still occurring. Other raptor species observed along the river this past week were: Sharp-shinned, Cooper’s and Red-tailed Hawks. Great Blue Herons could also be observed along the ice and in shallow open sections of the river.

This Hairy Woodpecker was observed tapping on the limb of this tree. If you are having trouble distinguishing a Hairy Woodpecker from a Downy, look at the size of their bill. A Hairy's bill is the same length as their head, while a Downy's is shorter.

This Hairy Woodpecker was observed tapping on the limb of this tree. If you are having trouble distinguishing a Hairy Woodpecker from a Downy, look at the size of their bill. A Hairy’s bill is the same length as their head, while a Downy’s is shorter.

Songbirds are always present in the trees and shrubs that line the banks of the Thames River. Blue Jays, Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Northern Cardinals were all recorded in good numbers. Three species of woodpecker: Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied were all observed. Several finch species were visible including: American Goldfinches, Common Redpolls, and Pine Siskins.

Greater Scaup were observed this past week on the Thames River. This male was observed in Greenway Park, while a female was observed further downstream in Springbank Park.

Greater Scaup were observed this past week on the Thames River. This male was observed in Greenway Park, while a female was observed further downstream in Springbank Park.

Temperatures for the coming week are supposed to remain cold, but be more bearable for outdoor activities. If you get the opportunity, I recommend heading down to the Thames River in search of some of these species. It is likely that many of these waterfowl species will be present on the river until temperatures warm up, but there are no guarantees so heading out sooner than later is advised. If you are looking to add one or more of these species to your year or life list, than the Thames River presents the best and closest option for those in the London area to do so. We may run into each other as I will be continuing my search for the Harlequin Duck to add to my own life list.

Good birding,
Paul

 

 

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2 Responses to “Good Birding Report: London, Ontario <br> February 8-15 2015”

  1. gillygate

    Hi Paul,

    Just wanted to compliment you on your excellent photographs! I was doing a search last month on the Harlequin Duck that I’d seen on the Thames at Springbank Park and your website came up…so I saw the pictures you got of the Harlequin, and of course looked around the website at all the other great photos.

    That’s a great shot of the Eagle in flight!

    Rob Turner
    London Ontario

    • Paul Roedding

      Hi Rob,

      Thank you very much for the kind compliment. I am glad you discovered my website. I frequently add new images and stories about birds and birding around the city, so please check back often as there is always something new. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and the feedback.

      Good birding,
      Paul

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