Ontario: Summer 2020

Summer, 1 June–31 July

Adam M. Capparelli

Josh Janvrin

Recommended citation:

Capparelli, A., and Janvrin, J. 2020. Summer 2020: Ontario. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-8TL> North American Birds.

June and July 2020 featured severe weather events and extreme temperatures in Ontario. On the evening of 9 Jun, the Weather Prediction Center issued updates on Tropical Storm Cristobal in Wisconsinan unusual track for a tropical storm. The following day featured one of the more significant tornado outbreaks in southern Ontario when seven confirmed tornadoes tore across the province; the strongest was an EF-2 in Mary Lake. Beginning on 28 Jun, record warmth swept across northern Canada. A ridge of high pressure was a dominant player in Ontario for most of Jul, and temperatures were around 8–10 degrees above seasonal normals. Despite the unprecedented weather of Jun, an average number of rarities were reported.

Notable rarities included Barnacle Goose, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Ruff, Black-headed Gull, California Gull, Swallow-tailed Kite, Vermilion Flycatcher, Sage Thrasher, and Painted Bunting.

Place names in italics refer to counties, districts, or regional municipalities.

Waterfowl through Shorebirds

There were a few sightings of Brant in the region, with a single bird present 23 Jun in Toronto, Toronto (Howard Shapiro), likely the same bird again 30 Jun–2 Jul in Toronto, Toronto (Stephen Pack, m.ob.), and a flock of 26 on 25 Jun over Belleville, Hastings (Camille Bock). A Barnacle Goose was seen throughout the summer at Ottawa, Ottawa (m.ob.), but the provenance of this bird is in question. A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck was present 25–26 Jun at Cedar Springs, Chatham-Kent (fide. James Burk). A late Harlequin Duck was reported on 4 Jun from Tiverton, Bruce (Bob Taylor, Anne-Marie Taylor). A single Eurasian Collared-Dove was seen throughout the summer in Leamington, Essex (m.ob.). The long-returning White-winged Dove was present again throughout the summer at Rondeau Provincial Park, Chatham-Kent (m.ob.), and another single bird was seen 22 Jun in Minden, Haliburton (Ed Poropat, Brian Pfrimmer). The now annual Chuck-will’s-widow was present until 9 Jul at Milford, Prince Edward (m.ob.). There were three reports of Virginia Rail from north-western Ontario: one bird 3 Jun in Barwick, Rainy River (Carter Dorscht); one 24 Jun in Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay (Balec family); and another 25 Jun in Dryden, Kenora (James Barber).

American Avocets were seen 19 Jul in Strathroy, Middlesex (Bill Lindley) and 22 Jul in Forest, Lambton (Matt Parsons). Nesting Piping Plovers had mixed outcomes this year, with nesting attempts in Toronto, Toronto and Sauble Beach, Bruce being unsuccessful; however, the attempts at Oshawa, Durham and Wasaga Beach, Simcoe were successful. Additionally, single birds were reported 5–8 Jun in Markham, York (Mark Kubisz) and 20 Jun in Toronto, Toronto (Paul Prior). A lingering Hudsonian Godwit was present until 4 Jun at Port Stanley, Elgin (m.ob.). Single Ruffs were reported on 9 Jul from both Red Lake, Kenora (Merle Nisly) and Strathroy, Middlesex (Bill Lindley, m.ob.). A Western Sandpiper was found 30 Jul and persisted into Aug in Hamilton, Hamilton (Richard Poort, Bob Curry). A Long-billed Dowitcher present 17–18 Jul at Cochenour, Kenora (Merle Nisly) was a good record for north-western Ontario. A Red-necked Phalarope was present 2–7 Jun at New Liskeard, Timiskaming (Doug Manners, Chris Sukha) and 6 Jun in Alliston, Simcoe (Henrique Pacheco et. al). Willet was reported on 5 Jun from Toronto, Toronto (Quincy Clarke); 13 Jun from Bright’s Grove, Lambton (Darrell Parsons, Matt Parsons); 18 Jun from Kettle Point, Lambton (George MacDermid); 27 Jun from Leamington, Essex (Steve Pike); 9 Jul from Lambton Shores, Lambton (Stacie Foerster, Lucas Foerster); 10 Jul from Kettle Point, Lambton (Ed Lavender); 11 Jul from Sarnia, Lambton (Deryl Nethercott); and 15 Jul from Kettle Point, Lambton (Sean Jenniskens).

Gulls through Pelicans

A Black-legged Kittiwake was reported 1 Jun at Ottawa, Ottawa (Aaron Hywarren). A nesting pair of Bonaparte’s Gulls first noted in May at Algonquin Provincial Park, Nipissing is the most southerly nesting record in Ontario (Jeff Skevington). A Black-headed Gull was photographed 10 Jun at Burlington, Halton (Mark Jennings). A Laughing Gull was at Brantford, Brant (Bill Lamond) 10 Jun, and another was seen 11 Jun at Wheatley, Chatham-Kent (fide eBird). Away from Rainy River, a Franklin’s Gull was present 8 Jun at Ottawa, Ottawa (Tony Beck). A California Gull was seen 2 Jun at Ottawa, Ottawa (Jon Ruddy). Reports of American White Pelicans continue to increase in the lower Great Lakes, with reports on 1–3 Jun at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, Northumberland (Cecile Yarrow, Morris Yarrow); 4 Jun at Port Rowan, Norfolk (Stu Mackenzie); 5 Jun at Kitchener, Waterloo (Kate Dalgleish); 6–23 Jun at Brockville, Leeds and Grenville (m.ob.); 7–11 Jun at Waterloo, Waterloo (m.ob.); 10 Jun at Englehart, Timiskaming (April Chesworth); 11 Jun at Burlington, Halton (Anne Porter); 13 Jun at Burlington, Halton (Ken Newcombe); 17 Jun at Orillia, Simcoe (Dorthea Hangaard); 17 Jun at Lambton Shores, Lambton (James Holdsworth); 19 Jun at Wheatley, Chatham-Kent (Kate Derbyshire); 20–21 Jun at Point Pelee National Park, Essex (Keith Burk, Steve Pike, Mark Nenadov, Rick Mayos); 21 Jun at Georgina, York (Max Segler, Gis Segler); 21 Jun at Highland Glen, Lambton (James Holdsworth); 24 Jun at Erieau, Chatham-Kent (Laura Rainbow Dragon); 27 Jun at Point Pelee National Park, Essex (Rick Mayos); and 29 Jun at Point Pelee National Park, Essex (Leanne Grieves).

Herons through Woodpeckers

A Snowy Egret visited Gravenhurst, Muskoka 20 Jul (Paula Sheppard). A Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was at Napanee, Lennox and Addington 20–30 Jul (Laura Moore). There was a pair of White-faced Ibis at Morpeth, Chatham-Kent 21 Jun (Joyce Ferris, m.ob.). A juvenile Plegadis ibis was a one-day visitor to Port Stanley, Elgin Jul 8 (David Rodenhiser). Black Vulture sightings included one at London, Middlesex 11 Jun (Quinten Wiegersma) and one at Blenheim, Chatham-Kent 14 Jun (Allen Woodliffe). A long-staying Swallow-tailed Kite was present at Grand Valley, Dufferin 23 Jun+ (Tracy Muller, m.ob.). A Golden Eagle was reported at Golden Lake, Renfrew 1 Jul (Bernd Krueger). A Mississippi Kite was observed 3 Jun at Mar, Bruce (Kiah Jasper). A few Snowy Owls oversummered, with reports from Amherst Island, Lennox and Addington 2–8 Jun (Paul Mackenzie); Stayner, Simcoe 9 Jun (Peter Simons); Zurich, Huron 18 Jun (Megan Sanderson); and Chatham-Kent, Chatham-Kent 19–20 Jun (Amber Frak). A Red-headed Woodpecker was notable in Marathon, Thunder Bay 4–5 Jun (James Barber).

Flycatchers Through Thrushes

A Vermilion Flycatcher was exceptional for Desbarats, Algoma 1–2 Jun (Jane Smith). Western Kingbirds were once fairly regular in Rainy River, but reports are becoming less frequent, with a total of three reported at Sable Islands Provincial Park, 28 Jun and 11 Jul (Bob Saunders). The long-staying Algoma Black-billed Magpie was seen at Echo Lake 3 Jun (Ken McIlwrick). Fish Crows are now quite regular around Lake Ontario, but one observed at Stayner, Simcoe 18–21 Jun (Josh Janvrin) was considerably north of that range. A Sedge Wren was an unusual visitor to Mississauga, Peel 2–4 Jun (Reuven Martin). A Marsh Wren was observed quite far north at Hilliardton, Timiskaming (Joshua Vandermeulen). A Sage Thrasher was exceptional for Almonte, Ottawa 18 Jun (Jan Huus). A Townsend’s Solitaire was observed at Point Pelee National Park, Essex 27 Jun (Rick Mayos).

Finches through Buntings

A couple of Evening Grosbeaks were spotted in more southerly summer climes than usual: one at Hopness, Bruce Jul 30 (John Schwindt) and one at Stoney Lake, Peterborough Jul 29 (Stan Phippen). A House Finch was unusually far north at Moonbeam, Cochrane 21 Jun (Joshua Vandermeulen). Grasshopper Sparrows were reported in Rainy River for the first time in at least a decade, with single birds seen in three locations in the Sleeman area 28–29 Jun (Barbara Charlton, Nicole Richardson, Bob Saunders). A Lark Sparrow was rare at Echo, Kenora 23 Jun (Kathy Storey). An atypically high number of Nelson’s Sparrows was observed across the province, including single birds at Kanata, Ottawa 3 Jun (Christian Artuso, Alex Stone); Brighton, Northumberland 4 Jun (Doug McRae); Whitby, Durham 8 Jun (Jax Nasimok); Lambton Shores, Lambton 9 Jun (Lucas J. Foerster); and probable breeding birds at Algonquin Provincial Park, Nippising 4 Jun (Jeff Skevington). Single Yellow-breasted Chats were seen at Toronto, Toronto 10–12 Jun (Garth Riley, Nancy McPherson); West Lorne, Elgin 5 Jul (George Prieksaitis); and Point Pelee National Park, Essex 6-7 Jul (Leon Barlow, Michael Nelson).

Yellow-headed Blackbirds once again nested in the traditional area of Mitchell’s Bay in Chatham-Kent; further notable observations were made at Hamilton, Hamilton May–2 Jun (m.ob.); Hearst, Cochrane 2–3 Jun (Victor Granholm); Elmvale, Simcoe 5 Jun (Mak Soden); Dowling, Greater Sudbury 8 Jun (Bruce Gates); Smooth Rock Falls, Cochrane 8–12 Jun (Angie Williams); and Mountjoy, Cochrane 9 Jun (Melanie Palik, Pierre Noel). Western Meadowlarks were sighted at Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay 5 Jun (Lindy Wagenaar) and 9 Jun (Mirabai Alexander, James Barber); Pass Lake, Thunder Bay 5–25 Jun (Aarre Ertolahti); Kilmarnock, Lanark 11–17 Jun (m.ob.); and Dryden, Kenora 14 Jun (Deb Carter). A long-staying Eastern Meadowlark was found near the northwest limits of its range at Pinewood, Rainy River 3 Jun–24 Jul (Carter Dorscht). A Yellow-throated Warbler was an uncommon visitor to Sparta, Elgin May–1 Jun (m.ob.). A Summer Tanager was at Old Cut, Norfolk 3 Jun (Ryan Leys). A Painted Bunting was an exceptional one-day-wonder at Red Rock, Thunder Bay 3 Jun (fide Norma Maurice). Dickcissels continue to make regular appearances in the extreme southwest of the province, with sightings in Chatham-Kent, Lambton, Middlesex, and Norfolk. Record-breaking numbers were observed in Rainy River, including multiple observations at Rainy River, 14 JunJul (Amanda Guercio, Lev Frid, m.ob.). Other sightings away from the southwestern part of the province included single birds at Grand Bend, Huron 10 Jun (fide eBird); Neebing, Thunder Bay 12–26 Jun (James Barber); Dryden, Kenora 20 Jun–4 Jul (Steph Davis); Kinburn, Ottawa 28 Jun (Jeff Skevington); Tiverton, Bruce 30 Jun–14 Jul (Nathan Miller).

Report processed by Raymond L. VanBuskirk 30 Sep 2020.

Photos–Ontario: Summer 2020
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.