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Click for moreJan 18, 2013 - Another new bird - Eastern Bluebird

Today I read in birding reports that someone had spotted Eastern Bluebirds at Marie Curtis Park at the shore of Lake Ontario. I figured I'd enjoy the brisk sunny afternoon and try my luck.

I walked around the entire park, wondering if I was foolish to try to find a tiny bird just because I'd never seen it before. I was nearly ready to give up and honestly started telling myself "have faith", and I reminded myself to at the very least enjoy the afternoon since I was out in a park on a Friday afternoon.

Then I spotted one. Then I saw another 2. I followed them around the park and managed to snap a few shots.

I'm not such an obsessive birder that I'm striving to fill my "life list", but I must say, I do get a certain thrill when I see a species I've never seen before. It's always exciting to catch something new.

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Click for moreJan 13, 2013 - Mountsberg Conservation Area

Today with the unseasonable 10 degree temperature, a trip was needed to take advantage of the weather. Mountsberg Conservation Area in Halton was the destination, the target was birds of prey.

Shortly after arriving, we ran into one of the staff taking a gorgeous Gyrfalcon for a training session with people in the outdoors. This afforded us an opportunity to get to meet this gorgeous bird, talk to the staff member about her, and of course take some portraits.

After seeing the Gyrfalcon, we headed over to the other birds of prey pens, where there's Snowy Owls, Barn Owls, Bald Eagles and the most impressive Eagle I've ever seen, a gorgeous female Golden Eagle. She was so big it was unbelievable, and seeing her beside the Bald Eagles really put this fact into perspective.

Mountsberg staff also held an educational session featuring one of their Kestrels, and a Great Horned Owl.

As usual, this venue didn't cease to amaze me. It was a great experience to be able to talk with the staff members, learn about the birds, see them so closely, and of course to take photos. A great outing indeed!

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Click for moreJan 7, 2013 - Humber Aboretum - luck after many visits

Last weekend, I had a few excellent trips to the Humber Aboretum. I've somehow never ended up there during the spring or summer and I definitely plan on it this coming spring, but I do manage to go during the winter.

The past few visits to the aboretum, I've seen a wide range of smaller birds including Redpolls, Goldfinches, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a few other woodpeckers, nuthatches, and even a group of about 6 deer.

On this pair of visits, I had the good fortune of finally catching a Screech Owl before he had a chance to hide from me (he was sleeping), which was cool. I had been at least 5 times looking for him and on this day got lucky. The screech owl in the included photos is the grey feathery thing that blends well with the tree texture.

One even more awesome sighting for me is a first in my life, seeing a Saw-Whet owl. He was perched in a tree about 7 feet high, and didn't mind me at all. I snapped shots and enjoyed seeing this little guy, then left him to get back to his snoozing.

After seeing him I researched a bit and found out this small owl feeds on deer mice, and so it made sense he'd be where he was since there are many deer there.

Enjoy the photos and if you want to go for a nice hike in the Greater Toronto area I'd recommend this spot any time.

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