Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dickcissels in Wheatley

A recent discussion with Jeremy Bensette informed me that some cool birds were back on location in Wheatley. I had some time off work today and was able to swing out to Wheatley to see these beauties myself. The huge weedy field near Campers Cove Road hosts some Eastern Meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows and 4-5 Dickcissels, just in the most accessible quadrant of this field.

Males were singing and chasing each other as a few female/juveniles looked on. They are easily observed as they seem to like using last year's Dense Blazing Star plants as perches.  Nice to see them back again!

The harsh mid-day sun made photography difficult, but these were a few that I managed to capture before heading back to Windsor.  The photo below was taken from a path mowed into this weedy field which had some cylindrical black oil containers creating a perfect black gradient behind the subject.

Quick note: Not to sound preachy --- but I wanted to state that these photos are not "staged". No ipods or tripods used here. These photos are heavily cropped from a handheld telephoto lens - using ambient light, and taken from a safe distance. I know most people reading this blog know this already, but (as ROM Field Guide Author Janice M. Hughes puts it): Ontario's native birds are "clinging to their ancestral breeding grounds" which have  (south of Toronto) been almost completely disseminated. Particularly during breeding season, we need to simply put the bird's interests first. See this excellent OFO article on birding ethics: http://www.ofo.ca/site/page/view/aboutus.ethics  .

Good birding!


  1. Beautiful shots! Is that a male and a female in the one shot Dwayne?

  2. Thanks Brian! Yes, I think that is a female. It had a much less colorful chest...

  3. Hi Dwayne.
    I haven't been able to get out to see the Meadowlarks yet as my Mom has been in hospital for 3 weeks. Hopefully, I'll get a chance soon.
    Wheatley looks promising but I've so much to do around here. :(
    I haven't been birding in ages but I have gotten to see RT hummers, hummingbird moth and Tiger Swallowtails in my own yard which has been thrilling. I have a honeysuckle vine which they all seem to love.
    Happy Birding. :)

  4. Great photos, Dwayne! We got to see them the other day as well. Some day, I will win the lottery and create my own grassland habitat...

  5. Great images and comments as well, Dwayne.

    I especially like the pair, beautifully done.

    I've only gotten photos once of this species. I remember that someone from Britain wrote to say that it wasn't a wild bird as I said, that they were only found in zoos and so I must be a liar. Sometimes you just need to laugh about these things.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...