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.

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  1. And they are using 8 other of your photos on the site...congratulations!

  2. Congratulations Dwayne!!!! I've often wondered who the esteemed photographers were who graced these sites. Now I can say I know one! Can't help but wonder why you found out by accident though? Did they not ask permission?

  3. That's so amazing Dwayne!!! Congrats on being famous now! Amazing photos...and thanks for sharing the cartoon too...I had a nice laugh!



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