Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Loonie Loon and the Hunt for Varied Thrush

A recent Cedar Creek CBC had in interesting result - A long staying loon at Kingsville Harbour was identified as a Red-throated Loon. I had seen a loon (this loon) back on Nov 29th, --- the date of my last blog posting --- when I was observing the Little Gull in Kingsville Harbour. Funny thing was that later on that afternoon, I joked with Blake that I thought it was a Red throated Loon! So, its a hindsight lifer! Its my 390th bird.

I spent several days last week at Two Creeks Conservation Area looking for a Varied Thrush. I'm 90% sure I spotted it at one point on the 3rd of 4 consecutive days of searching for it. At one point, I was walking along the south end of McIntosh Trail, when a tawny bird flushed from the ground from the east side of the trail to the west, then instantly disappeared into a grove of Red Cedar trees. After trying my best to follow where it went, I looked in the same area to see a nice Hermit Thrush just sitting in the same thicket the other bird had just flushed from. Again, I'm 90% sure it was the Varied Thrush, but I'm going to hold off on "lifering" it. Oddly enough, I heard Varied Thrush back in Banff Alberta two years ago... but try as I might, I could not lay eyes on this bird. I guess its just not my time to see this beautiful Thrush.

I did really enjoy walking Two Creeks Conservation Area though. You may recall, this is the website that is using one of my photos without permission. (I still don't know how I should feel about that... Upset or Flattered?) Anyway I had a great time walking around this natural area. There are 12 bridges so its fun in a way to traverse them all. My son actually loves walking on elevated pathways and bridges so I brought him along one day. This park gave good looks at some decent birds such as: Hairy Woodpeckers, Winter Wren, Common Grackel, Yellow rumped Warbler, Brown Creeper and White breasted Nuthatches.

During my walk at Two Creeks, I couldn't help but notice a diverse assortment of trees. As I learn more about birding, butterfly watching and just nature in general, I can help but notice and appreciate Botany and incorporate it into the discussion. I think any serious birdwatcher should know and appreciate the habitats in which they are birding --- and thus, the botany and in this case, the Arboriculture of the area in which you are birding. Some trees included Shagbark Hickory, Chinquapin Oaks, White Pines, Red Cedars among others.

Feel free to share any thoughts on the plumage of the Loonie Loon  --- Is it a Red throated Loon? It seems that the little v-shaped or x-shaped marks on its back might be the strongest field mark in its identification. The bill shape may hint at being slightly upturned as well, but I must admit to having young eyes when it comes to loons. I rarely see them!

Good birding, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


  1. I agree, you really should learn the trees. And they stand still patiently while you identify them!

  2. I enjoyed the post, Dwayne, and I agree that the botanical aspect of the natural world is fascinating and important to all creatures. Therefore it is highly advisable to understand the different habitats that are important to birds. And as we age and our hearing and vision deteriorates accordingly, the plants will still be there to view close-up when the birds become more challenging to hear or see :-)



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