Friday, November 16, 2018

A Brant New Lifer (#410).... Brant Goose at Jack Miners in Kingsville

I've been birding for almost 10 years - and for the most part - I've been fortunate enough to see over 400 species of birds. One species of Goose that I've always wanted to see was a Brant. They are quite a bit more common just a few hours north of Essex County - such as in Sarnia and Toronto/Hamilton area.

So today I was printing out some colouring sheets from the internet after work and checked my email. Rick from Leamington had discovered a Brant at Jack Miners and posted his sighting to Wepbirds - a local birding list-serve (Google Group actually) that Windsor Essex Pelee birders use to post local bird observations.

Upon arrival to Jack Miners, I scanned the field of ducks and geese --- and to my horror --- there was NO BRANT! I called Rick and he graciously came back to help me find it. We stood around for a while talking and low and behold --- A small "V" of Geese circled around overhead. Rick and Kit noticed one of the birds was much smaller than the Canada Geese. Miraculously --- the Goose Returned!!!  Pat S & Karen H arrived a few minutes later and also were able to lifer this beautiful bird as well.

I've included a couple of other bird photos from the last two weeks. Some were from Pelee and others from Rondeau.

Side Note:
To join wepbirds - go to and click the button [Click here to join Group]. Local birder Kory Renaud started this group - so make sure to say thanks if you see him.

Good Birding!

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!)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Backtrack Birding & Blogging : Biking at Ojibway Park - May 6th & May 8th 2018

***Editors Note: This was an unpublished posting from May 2018. Its being published in November 2018 so the context of the posting is passed now***

Since I spent the full day at Point Pelee yesterday, I figured I would go to my local forest and tried my luck at Black Oak Heritage Park today.  It was a pretty good trip. I had good looks at Black throated green Warbler, N. Parula, Brown Thrasher, Yellow throated Vireo and one of my favorite birds, a Red-headed Woodpecker!

The interesting thing about the Yellow throated Vireo is that I very clearly heard one  singing in a tree above the path I was driving my bike on. I just stopped my bike, put the kickstand up and immediately saw the Yellow throated Vireo! To my amazement, there was a pair of Vireos in this tree. Were they migrants or a mated pair that are in the process of nesting???

I started this post around May 6th - and had just left it incomplete and unpublished. I've added a photo of a Blue winged Warbler - which I saw at Ojibway just a few days after I took the photos in this posting. I guess if you consider the Pine Warblers, the Rusty Blackbirds, the Cerulean and Yellow throated Vireo that was seen at Ojibway --- it goes to show that there is decent birding to be had right here in West Windsor. I imagine many birds are simply going undetected because there are so few birders that bird the park.

Good birding!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

October Back Yard Birds and Other Sightings

The last week or two have been a little lack-luster for birding. The weekends have had horrible weather and weekdays are filled with work commitments!

Backyard birds over the last few weeks include:
  • Palm Warblers
  • White crowned Sparrows
  • White throated Sparrows
  • Red breasted Woodpecker
  • Dark eyed Junco
  • Blue Jays
  • Cardinals

I had ventured out to Hillman Marsh about two weeks ago since I was out in Essex for a work commitment. I went to Hillman as I heard that some Nelson's Sparrows were being seen there. Unfortunately, there were gail-force winds making birding (and standing outside) difficult. I did see a roadkilled Eastern Fox Snake which was sad to see.

Karen H recently informed me that there was a Blue-Morph Snow Goose at the Volmer Pond in Lasalle and I was able to follow up on that sighting. Overhead, a Bald Eagle soared in the sky... always nice to see. 

It will be interesting to see if this year is a great year for winter finches (See Ron Pittaway's Winter Finch Forecast). I think seeing Common Redpolls or White winged Crossbills will be a nice treat to make the upcoming winter season a little more bearable. I bought a new nyjer seed feeder in hopes of attracting some good northern birds.

Perhaps the same factors that are giving Snowy Owls booming populations in the north will also make sightings of Gyrfalcons and Northern Shrikes a little more abundant as well.

This weekend seems to be a complete washout in terms of rain... It would have been really nice to go to Holiday Beach to do some hawk-watching. Late October always gives some nice views of late migrating raptors such as Red Shouldered and Rough Legged Hawks as well as Golden Eagles.

Maybe next weekend's weather will be a little better? Lets hope....

Good birding,

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Hillman Hudsonian

Just a quick posting for today.

Having heard of some good birds at the Comber Flooded Fields during the work week , I went over there this morning to see if I could pick up some good shorebirds. Upon arrival to the flooded field, I had a chance to meet Kory Renaud and Dave Martin from Amherstburg. I had read about Daves great sightings for quite a while from WEPBIRDS ... but only met him today! I was amazed to hear that he reads this blog! We scanned the flooded field habitat for quite a while but could not pick out anything significant beyond yellowlegs and Dunlin.

I then moved on to Hillman Marsh. Kit M. texted me earlier in the day that he would be there so I joined him. Again, we saw similar birds at Hillman Marsh shorebird cell. But at one point, I had noticed a single shorebird flying and after taking many pictures of it in flight - came to realize that it might be a Hudsonian Godwit!  The strange thing about this sighting is that it was so fleeting - perhaps less than a minute - and I think I simply lost track of the bird or it might have flow up high and out of sight. I did not see it land or I did not see it resting on the ground.

It was nice to see it because it was my target bird for the day. When Kit and I left the Hillman Parking lot,  we spoke briefly to a birder from Michigan - Carl Overman - whose name I see a lot on Ebird reports. He confirmed that my photos were most likely Hudsonian Godwit as well.

Now that I look at the photos from the comfort of my kitchen table and laptop monitor - many details are much more evident - such as the bi-coloured bill, warm brown tones in the plumage, bright white rump with bordering black plumage etc.

I sometimes joke around with other birders that I'm just a mediocre birder who only finds obvious birds like blue jays or cardinals. I am a sub-200 species/year ebirder - not even making the top 100 in my own home county .... But maybe once a year I find a decent bird.  It just goes to show that every dog has his day!

Good birding!

PS:  I can't help but reminisce about the "Flock" of 20 or so Hudsonian Godwits I had seen back on Oct 14th, 2011.


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