Tuesday, 23 October 2012


I was headed home today from Peterborough when I noticed a big flock of waterfowl flying south up ahead.  As we approached the flock, I realized it had the characteristic "jumbled" look of a flock of Brant! I estimated there were about 150 birds in this flock and I was pretty excited.  Less than 10 minutes later I was pulling out of our carpool parking lot in my own car when I noticed another flock, right above me!  This one was even bigger (about 300) and also contained 2 Canada Geese holding up the rear.  Even better, I managed to get my bins on this flock and enjoy it for a second or two through them.

The second flock was really amazing because it was traveling very quickly- I followed it all the way from Springbrook to Stirling, a distance of about 11.5 km!  I was traveling about 95km/h but the flock was going more in a direct S direction while I was going SSE.

Brant at Presqu'ile PP, Northumberland on June 1, 2009
I still get pretty excited anytime I see Brant in Ontario because I did all of my birding growing up west of Toronto, where Brant is a very uncommon migrant.  There seems to be a sort of imaginary line east of Toronto where beyond that Brant become much more common.  In the Ottawa and Kingston areas this is a pretty normal migrant to see going overhead in late May and October.  The reason for this is that the Brant we see in Ontario likely all pass through southern James Bay and then follow the Ottawa River valley and cross over to the Atlantic in the NE US.  It will be interesting to see if these Brant were part of a larger movement of birds exiting southern James Bay after some north winds and stormy weather there....we'll have to wait and see if Josh and Alan were on the coast yesterday and today watching thousands of Brant pass by...For those of you who don't know, they are at Netitishi Point, on James Bay.  Netitishi Point is an Important Bird Area, partly because of the large number of Brant and other waterfowl that pass through there each year.

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