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.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Thanksgiving Weekend Pelee Birding - Winter Wrens and more...

I had visited Pelee with my in-laws from Ottawa this weekend and on a few occasions, I was able to step away from the group to follow up on some birds that I was seeing. Near Blue Heron & the Marsh Boardwalk - I was able to see many Eastern Phoebes, Winter Wrens, Ruby crowned Kinglets, White crowned and White throated sparrows. Hermit Thrush, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel were seen along with many Sharp shinned Hawks flying overhead.

Later, near the tip of Pelee along a closed off section of West beach footpath I had seen many of the same birds that were mentioned above, along with Dark eyed Juncos, Red breasted nuthatches, with singles of Blue headed Vireo, Cape May Warbler and Yellow rumped Warblers.

Just outside the park gates, I had seen yet another Merlin perched atop a dead tree. I feel like I've seen many of them this fall season. There are some years where I feel like I miss them so its nice to see so many during this fall migration.

Fall migration really presents a nice, gradual mix of birds that changes week by week.  I really wanted to scan other areas of the park - such as Delaurier Trail and perhaps Hillman Marsh --- but it wasn't to be with my out of town guests...

Ebird checklist:

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving  & Good birding!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Unofficial OFO Pelee Birding , Ojibway Park Birding in Late September + New Yard Bird - Northern Mockingbird!

This weekend was a surprisingly excellent weekend of birding in Essex County. The weather was fantastic and the birding was excellent as well. On Saturday, I went to Point Pelee and it just so happened that it was the OFO (Ontario Field Ornithologists) bird weekend there. At about noon, after I had birded Delaurier and Cactus Field, someone pointed out a pair of white pelicans that were soaring over west beach of point pelee.

West beach footpath was a nice walk as usual. Black Saddlebags and Carolina Saddlebags were abundant. Monarchs constantly fluttered overhead. Singles of Eastern Comma and Question Mark butterflies, as well as a worn Spicebush Swallowtail were noted. A few warblers were seen as well as some Southbound Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers.

Sparrow field had some of the best warbler birding for the day, and some trees in the field had Cape May, Wilsons, Nashville, Blackpoll, Bay Breasted warblers easily seen. Eastern Wood Pewee, and a sleeping Common Nighthawk delighted birders as well. I had seen my first southbound blue headed vireo as well in Sparrow Field. It was actually singing/vocalizing in a deciduous tree on the outer edge of the field. On the shore next to Sparrow field, a group of 5 Sanderlings noted but soon flushed by beach walkers.

Of course, raptors were constantly flying overhead. We had nice looks at Eagles, Red Tailed and Broadwing Hawks, Coopers and Sharp Shinned hawks, Peregrine and Merlin Falcons flew overhead as well. At one point, a Merlin flew clumsily over a group of OFO birders with a fluttering woodpecker in its talons.

See below for a writeup on my walk at Ojibway today...

Turbulent Phospila - a Pinstriped Caterpillar crossing the road at PPNP

Today at Ojibway - I walked at Black Oak Heritage Park in West Windsor. I walked for a while without seeing many birds but eventually hit nice pockets of birds. At one point, I had seen about 20-30 Cedar Waxwings with about 10 or so Purple Finches! I then saw about 10 or so warblers and vireos. Some warblers go unidentified at times as I just cant figure out what they are! I had stunning views of Blue Headed Vireo and Scarlet Tanager ... which was a huge highlight. Red breasted Nuthatches were surprisingly abundant as well.  Later on at the main Ojibway Park forest - where I had met up with my wife and two kids, we ended up seeing two separate groups of warblers as well. There could have been 30-40 birds in total. Some birds seen were bay-poll warblers, American Redstart, Black throated Green, Nashville, Tennessee, and some Ruby crowned Kinglets.

I feel like I've seen many Philadelphia Vireos this year, both north and south bound. 

Good birding!

PS:  I was out on my back porch today looking out at the hedgerow behind my house. Blue Jays, European Starlings and Crows were making a rucous. At one point today, I had my binoculars and noted a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD on my back fence. I did not have my camera nearby so I attempted to digiscope the sighting with my cellphone and binoculars! I took video with my phone's camera - hoping it would increase my chances of documenting the bird.  I've included a 6 second video of my sighting!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Holiday Beach Hawkfest birding

Every year during the second and third weekends in September - the Holiday Beach Migration Oberservatory (HBMO) has a Hawk Festival. This past Saturday - I was eager to go because there was a major drop in temperature and strong North Winds. Thousands of Broadwing Hawks flew overhead along with clouds of Blue Jays. Lots of warblers were present - and the banding station was able to catch and band many warblers such as American Redstart, Blackpoll, Tennessee, and Magnolia. At one point, Bob Hall-Brooks offered to have me release a freshly banded Magnolia Warbler. He placed the bird in my hand and amazingly - I just chilled out for a few minutes!

Today - I went for a walk at Point Pelee - expecting tonnes of warblers to be present but amazingly - it was a little quiet! I did get a few interesting birds that I miss some years - such as Merlin and Lincoln's Sparrow. Lots of Northern Flicker's were present - and at one point - I think I saw 6 or more in a tree! Even though the birding was a little slow this afternoon - it was quite gorgeous out. The sun, cool breeze and 10 km of walking makes for a great afternoon of nature appreciation!

Good birding!


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