Ontbird subscribers received an e-mail from Todd Pepper announcing that the Ontario winter birding season starts today and runs until February 28. Todd has volunteered to coordinate this year's Ontario winter bird list and Blake Maybank will be hosting the results on his website.
During the 2008/2009 winter birding season a total of 197 species were observed by Ontario birders. Will we reach 200 this year? It just might be possible to reach 200 species this season with the likes of the Phainopepla still hanging around. Yes fellow birders south of the Canadian border, the Phainopepla is still being observed in a residential neighbourhood north of Toronto (3 weeks now). We have yet to see snow in southern Ontario.
A quick tabulation of my observations (December 1, 2008 to February 28, 2009) on eBird Canada revealed Jean and I observed 71 species last winter. This may be tough to beat. Species seen on last season's list that will prove difficult to observe this season include, King Eider, Eastern Screech Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Snowy Owl, Common Redpoll and White-winged Crossbill.
Wish us luck and I'll keep you posted on our progress.