Thursday, January 17, 2019

Slaty Surprise

I'm a passionate birder but ----I'm not a gull aficionado - (AKA Laurophile). I was telling a few birding friends lately that I almost find it difficult to scan through large groups of gulls. Perhaps in retirement when I don't have so many commitments - I will come to enjoy scanning through gulls.

With that said - local birding phenom Jeremy H was birding near the Essex County Dump and found a nice variety of gulls - including this mega rare eurasian species - the Slaty-backed Gull.

I  had gone yesterday after work at 4pm to see it and dipped on it. A small flock group of birders had been there scanning the field. They did have a white-winged gull - Glaucous perhaps that I took a poor photo of.

Tonight - I figured I would try my luck after work - heading out again at 4pm and this time I had found it quite easily! Its slaty back is not as dark as a black-backed gull. The bird also has pink legs, white eyes and in flight - distinct "string of pearls" field marks in its primary wingtips. Its a life bird at #411 !

Comparison with Greater black backed Gull

String of Pearls flight shot

Good birding!

Lifer Species 411:

Lifer Summary (Last 10) -
400- Gray Jay
401- Spruce Grouse
402- Ruffed Grouse
403- Pine Grosebeak
404- Northern Gannet
405- Common Eider
406- Razorbill
407- Black Gullimot
408- Nelson's Sparrow
409 - Great Kiskadee (New for 2018!)
410 - Brant (New for 2018!)
411 - Slaty Backed Gull (Jan 2019)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Backtrack Birding: Visiting the Pinery in Late May 2018

More backtrack birding - This posting features some sights from a May 20th weekend to the Pinery. I was hoping to see some Eastern Pine Elfins (and perhaps an Olympia Marble Butterfly - but I missed both of those wonderful species. Even still we had a great day at the Pinery and still saw some great birds. One of my favorites was Canada Warbler - perhaps the only one I had seen this year. 
Between the biking, canoeing and birding that the Pinery offers - and the stunning looks at Lake Huron from Cedar Scrub dunes... A trip to the Pinery never disappoints!

Good Birding!

PS: Happy New Year!  


Sunday, December 16, 2018

December Birding, Biking and Butterfly Watching at Holiday Beach

It was a gorgeous sunny day today in Essex County and I couldn't help going for a bike ride at Holiday Beach in Amherstburg.

On the roads outside of Holiday Beach there are usually some raptors on the telephone wires. Today with the beautiful sunlight - I attempted to photograph an American Kestrel. There were three easily seen while driving into and out of the park.

At Holiday Beach I was happy to see a butterfly flying along the side of the road. It was about 9 C!!

An Eastern Phoebe was briefly seen and after attempting to photograph the bird, I lost it only to hear it singing moments later!

Good birding!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Long Point Visit, Norfolk County (From July 2018)

*Editors Note: I posted this later than I wanted to it was written in Mid July 2018. 

During this past weekend (July 14-16), my family did a little three day trip to Rondeau, Port Stanley, St Thomas, then brief visits to Turkey Point, Long Point which are beautiful sand spits that jut out into Lake Erie. 

While birding was not an official activity of this trip, we did take a boat-ride out to the tip of Long Point which is something I've wanted to do for years. You may already know that Long Point is 42 km long! And most of it is off-bounds to most people because it is such a delicate ecosystem. 

We also tried to partake in some mountain biking trails which are quite nice around Turkey Point. Since my two boys and wife are not avid cyclists, we only did two trails. One trail was dominated by Pine trees and at one point, I couldn't help but notice the trill-like call of a Pine Warbler!  Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Wood Pewees, Downy Woodpecker and Chipping Sparrows were noted. 

We drove through Backus Woods and the St William's Forest areas. We even stopped by the Backus (Backhouse) Conservation area which featured a nice Nature Center, Water-powered Grist Mill, and a old Homestead that you can tour. 

There is so much to say but I guess I could summarize my thoughts by saying that Norfolk County is a beautiful location with surprising amounts of intact forest and nature. It has much in common with the rest of the shoreline along Lake Erie.  Beauty in abundance, generous amounts of farmland (corn, soyabeans, tobacco) fresh fruit stands.... Hopefully, Norfolk will conserve its natural resources for future generations. 

Turkey Point Mountain Biking Club:


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