Sunday, July 5, 2015

Obligatory Skunks Misery Trip & Milbert's Tortoiseshell

A Skunks Misery trip was long overdue so last week, I ventured out in that direction. I missed out on visuals for  my target species which were Cerulean Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher. But still, some good birds were found. One highlight for example was hearing a Yellow bellied Sapsucker drumming. What's cool about that sighting is that Newbury might be the southern limit / suitable habitat of its breeding range in Ontario.

Some birds seen include:
Chestnut sided Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wood Thrush
Scarlet Tanager
Yellow bellied Sapsucker (drumming)
Indigo Bunting
Baltimore Oriole
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Wood Peewee
Buteo Hawk (perhaps broad winged?)

Groundhog in Newbury Ontario
I typically drive a little towards Strathroy to look for Grassland birds but in my short time there, I did find a butterfly that I have wanted to see for years - a Milberts Tortoiseshell! I wanted to photograph this butterfly a little better than what I have but it was very shy. I only had it in view for 10 seconds then it was gone!
Milbert's Tortoiseshell in Strathroy Ontario

Back at Ojibway Park, I noticed a few nice birds as of late:
A pair of Yellow billed Cuckoos st Ojibway's Springarden area, Willow Flycatcher, Belted Kingfisher and Green Heron Fledglings at Ojibway's Malden Park.

Leconte's Haploa
I'm on the hunt for Eastern Fringed Prairie Orchid --- I've had several unsuccessful efforts to see it but I will keep searching! I've found other interesting plants though - I've seen several patches of Colicroot - a nice botanical discovery at Ojibway. I also found a tiny flower called Enchanter's Nightshade. Thanks to one of my blog readers - Irene- for the botany guide!!!

Good Birding!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hooded Warbler at Ojibway Park

Northern Rough winged Swallows sitting on a ventilation pipe of a new home near South Cameron Woodlot in Windsor. 

I've spent the last two months (April 24-June 24) in transition as I had sold my first house earlier this year, and I've been living at my mother in laws for the last two months --- waiting for my new house to finish being built.  I moved into my new house this week. My new house is nice, it backs up onto a provincially significant forest and wetland in Windsor and the birding from my back yard has been great.  I get to hear Song Sparrows and Indigo Buntings sing all day. I have nesting Rough winged Swallows constantly flying though my back yard. I see Red tailed hawks daily and Coppers Hawk occasionally. Even Chimney Swifts fly overhead with some consistency.

I did the electrical for my new house, so I've been incredibly busy doing that over the last few months but I still make time for birding. Lately, I've made point of butterfly watching around Ojibway Park and today, I took my wife and two boys for a walk at Spring Garden area of Ojibway Park. I quickly noted lots of Little Glassywing butterflies, as well as Banded and Edwards Hairstreaks.

Common Ringlet at Lasalle's Radio Tower Fields - Rare for Essex. 
During our walk today though - I noted a warbler singing along the path I was on - It was singing its heart out. I did not even have my binoculars, so I tried to photograph it with my camera and --- was blown away to realize that I was looking at a Hooded Warbler! A Scarlet Tanager was in the same tree - its actually a first for 2015 for me. I managed to even capture video of the Hooded Singing.

Ojibway Park lists the Hooded Warbler as a non breeding bird that migrates through (see but the time of year - late June - hints that it could be nesting here in Windsor at Ojibway Park. A fantastic bird for Windsor Essex in my opinion.

Good birding!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gray Kingbird at Hillman Marsh + Phalarope Photo Fame?!?

I have dipped on several of the last few rarities that have been seen at Pelee and I've almost become accustomed to just not seeing rare birds.  But as work ended this afternoon, I checked my email and noted that the Gray Kingbird from Monday had returned back to the spot it had been seen at on Monday. With my luck, I had decided to ride my bike into work today, so I had to quickly "bike home" before I could even begin twiching this mega southern rarity.

It dawned on my as I was driving to Leamington tonight that ---- I didn't have my camera or my binoculars. I was a little bummed out but I realized that I still had my scope and my cell phone, so I figured I was going to try to digiscope--- and just (gasp) enjoy viewing the bird without (gasp) capturing it with photography.

This great bird was found recently by Jeremy Bensette.  I've dipped on seeing this Southeastern Specialty while visiting Florida on my last 4-5 trips but somehow ... this fantastic bird ended up in Leamington this week and is just hanging out along Mersea Rd 2. At times, it would perch on a metal sign post just across the road from where several birders were keeping a safe distance. I wish I had my camera --- I love capturing birds with photography.

This bird is my 395th life bird... and not that a birder's species count is all that important, but what is really nice is that ... regardless of your count whether its 50 or 5000 --- its something that unites all of us birders. We love nature and we have a passion for seeing as much diversity as we can see. Just to watch this bird flycatch from perch to perch, to watch it eat bugs and just do what it does was a great privilege. A few drivers stopped and asked me what the big fuss was about and that was basically what I told them... most of the drivers thought that was pretty cool.

This beautiful bird shares some common features with the Loggerhead Shrike - Hooked bill and Mask over the eyes
Rick Mayos was one of the birders enjoying the Gray Kingbird when I had arrived and he agreed to share some of his photos of the Kingbird that were much better than I could get with my cell phone. Thanks Rick!
Gray Kingbird with Eastern Kingbird © Rick Mayos

Gray Kingbird @ Hillman Marsh © Rick Mayos
Rick and I met up at the Hillman Marsh shorebird cell after viewing the Kingbird and to my surprise, a nice Whimbrel was present along with two American Avocets and a host of other shorebirds (no photos - even my phone was dead by this point). Rick informed me that was using one of my Phalarope photos and sure enough, I noticed tonight that they are actually using two of my Phalarope photos --- pretty awesome!!! 

Phalarope Photo Fun and Fame?
Check out the Phalaropes at :

Good Birding!

The local paper's political cartoon had a pleasant nature reference that I could not help but sharing.

Img Src:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chuck Wills Widow, Mississippi Kite and some #PeleeProblems

Chuck wills Widow
Common Nighthawk
Twas' a good year for the Eastern  Nightjar / Goatsuckers at Pelee
Nightjars are awesome. I was lucky this year to have a chance to see all three Eastern Nightjars at Point Pelee and its great to have a birding network (friends & ontbirds) that will share in these fantastic sightings. The nice thing about nightjars is that they sleep all day and they don't seem to be bothered by people's presence. As I was leaving work last Friday, I had read that a Chuck Wills Widow was resting along Post Woods trail and I figured I would try to go see it. I called my wife as I was driving to Pelee and told her: "I probably won't make it home for dinner tonight sweety, I'm twitching a goatsucker". 

A Mississippi Kite was spotted along Fox Run road so I joined a few birders in trying to find it. At one point (no pun intended) S-Pike pointed out this perched raptor to a few birders who were nearby. I had a hard time getting my camera to focus on this bird which was probably over 75m away from where we were on the road, but as it flew, I think I obtained a somewhat diagnostic photo below.

Its been an interesting migration season this year. It seems that I've seen alot of rarities but I've missed a bunch of birds that should be common. For example:
  • I've seen 2 separate Summer Tanagers --- but no Scarlet Tanagers (#PeleeProblems)
  • I've seen 2 separate Prairie Warblers --- but no Wilsons Warblers (#Pelee Problems)
  • I've seen all three eastern nightjar/goatsucker species but didn't see the two rarer Vireo Species (#Pelee Problems)
  • I saw a Golden winged warbler --- but no blue winged! (#PeleeProblems)
This is what makes birding so interesting. Every year, the few chances that I get to witness the spring migration fall on different days, with different weather patterns so the mix of birds is always different. 

On several occasions this month, I tried to bird Ojibway Park, Malden Park or Black Oak Herritage park in Windsor. I had some pretty good birds --- not quite the diversity of birds that you might get at Point Pelee but still a good mix at times.  I recently mis-reported a Sedge Wren to our local WEPBIRDS group but I had been informed later - by Blake & by the E-bird Co-ordinator that I had confused a Sedge Wren call for a Tennessee Warbler call! The funny thing is, I swear the call I recorded was coming a low-lying ditch. Can you hear it?

I would like to go to Rondeau this weekend, and perhaps Clear Creek Forest! Maybe even Skunks Misery at the end of the month.

Good Birding!

Lifer summary:
390-Red throated loon (Kingsville Marina)
391-Worm eating warbler (shawnee state forest)
392-Kentucky warbler (shawnee state forest)
393-Carolina chickadee (shawnee state forest)
394- Mississippi Kite (hillman marsh)


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