Snowy Owls, Wild Turkeys, etc. - York Region

Ronald J. Fleming ronaldj..fleming at
Sun Feb 1 23:49:43 EST 2004

The nicest birding weather this winter made for a very enjoyable stretch
of country driving and birding in York Region today.  Along Weston Road
south of the Lloydtown Road (between Kettleby and Pottageville west of
Hwy. 400) I observed a very brawny female NORTHERN GOSHAWK with a full
crop as it crossed the road near 17th Sideroad (also called "Saunders
Lane").  This was the largest gos I have seen.

In the Holland Marsh area just east of Hwy. 400, I observed a quartet of
SNOW BUNTINGS on Day St., which runs south from Canal Road.  Farther
along, where Canal Road meets Simcoe Road ("Jonkman's Corners"), a
COOPER'S HAWK was actively pursuing house sparrows.  At one point,
having just missed them, the hawk landed in a bonsai tree near and
shrunk into the branches, concealing itself and waiting to see if they,
or other less wary companions, might return to what is likely a
favourite roost.
After about five minutes, the hawk abandonded this strategy and flew
northward into the housing development across the canal.

Heading back toward Hwy. 9 from the north, I saw a juvenile NORTHERN
SHRIKE just northwest of where Dufferin Street crosses the canal.  (The
canal basically circles the farm fields.)

East of Newmarket there were a dozen WILD TURKEYS at the back end of a
farm property on the south side of St. John's Sideroad east of Warden
Ave. (about 1 km east of the railway tracks).

In the south end of Keswick, there were two SNOWY OWLS.  The first was
in the fields north of Ravenshoe Road where the road runs westward from
Leslie Street and out into the agricultural flat lands south of Cook's
Bay.  The bird was on the ground, about halfway between the road and a
tamarack stand with old heron nests showing on the horizon.  As a
marker, there is a kelly-green garage building and a green mailbox that
says "Ron" on the north side of the road.  By scanning the fields
between the road and the orange buildings in the distance I was able to
pick him out with binoculars; a scope helped for better views.

Where Ravenshoe Road meets an isolated northern section of Yonge Street
there were 16 SNOW BUNTINGS and, straight north along the snowy road
allowance, a handsome red fox sunning himself.  In the rather desolate
stretch south along Yonge there was an adult NORTHERN SHRIKE in one of
the few trees in the tundra-like landscape.
Near the southern terminus of this stretch of road, where two gray
garage buildings stand, a second SNOWY OWL could be easily seen by
looking straight east along a dike ridge.
Both of the owls have some dark markings, presumably juvenile birds or

Returning to Newmarket, I ended the day with good looks at a PILEATED
WOODPECKER flying west across Bathurst south of Hwy. 9.

York Region is directly north of Toronto.

Ron Fleming, Newmarket

"Ronald J. Fleming" <ronaldj..fleming at>

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