Sunday, September 17, 2023

Backyard Birding - Sept 2023 - Sometimes the good birds come to you - Golden Winged Warbler at South Cameron Woodlot


On the weekends, I like to get up early (between 8-9am), make a coffee, and sit on my back porch and bird the hedgerow of trees and shrubs behind my yard. On Sat Sept 16 - I had noticed a warbler fumbling around that was light coloured, and attempted to photograph it. At first, I felt like I did not get a chance to photograph the bird, and I was thinking if I should Ebird the sighting or not. Moments later, I realized that I had some poor, diagnostic photos of the bird!  A Golden-winged Warbler!!! I was trying to explain to my wife how rare it is to cross paths with this bird --- Would it be as rare as finding a $20 bill on the ground? a $100 bill?   This is most certainly my only self-found southbound migrant that I have ever seen of this bird, even in 13+ years of bird watching. 

Ebird Checklist: 

eBird Checklist - 16 Sep 2023 - Windsor--South Cameron Woodlot - 25 species (+1 other taxa)

On Saturday morning, besides the Golden-Winged  --- I had seen several Broad-winged hawks flying low overhead. A small kettle of them was noted as well. A Lincoln's Sparrow, Least Flycatcher, Swainson's Thrush, Nashville, Tennessee and Common Yellowthroat were noted as well. Pretty amazing!

There is a small field behind the hedgerow with some interesting plants in it - even though it is ploughed and cropped for zoning and future building purposes. In the field, I have seen many different sedges, Winged Loosestrife, Dense Blazingstar, Boneset, as well as many goldenrods and asters.

Butterflies seen just this week include: Pearl Crescents, Common Checkered Skipper, Monarchs, Eastern tailed Blue among others.

I find it really fun to find birds while simply sitting in my back yard. I do not have to buy gas or spend hours driving --- I just sit and relax. 90% of the time during the fall, if I am patient, I am typically rewarded with at least one mildly interesting bird. A warbler or a flycatcher perhaps. Sometimes a decent sparrow.  A wise birder once said to me that "sometimes if you are patient enough - the good birds will come to you"... Well Saturday was one of those days!

Good Birding!


Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Swallow-tailed Kite in Lasalle ON


Local birder Mark Nedov recently observed a Swallow-tailed Kite while driving in Lasalle ON. He observed it flying near a large hocky arena, pool, community complex called the "Volmer Center" named after a local construction company.

I had attempted to see it yesterday - but was unable to find it. I did get a chance to meet up with Mel , Rick and Jeremy H though!

Rick reminded me of a sighting that I missed several years ago at Point Pelee, where the bird was seen north of the PPNP park, it was flying south over point pelee, and hundreds of birders gathered in the parking lot of the visitor center to watch it fly over. After 10 minutes of waiting, I was hungry - so I went to get a sausage ---- and while enjoying the sausage, Rick asked if I had seen it fly over --- and no --- I had missed it!

I did self-find one (Swallow-tailed Kite) the following year though.

This morning, the bird was found perched atop a dead tree of an adjacent woodlot. I was able to see the bird as I drove in to find it today --- but only for a moment!

Here is a video of the beautiful bird in flight:

Good birding!


Sunday, May 28, 2023

May 2023 Highlights


A Solitary Sandpiper was at Black Oak Heritage Park for well over a week. 

Its amazing how fleeting time is. As a birder, I wish for May to come around, but then its here and it passes.  I birded (and exercised) a lot over the course of April - May - and I had a few highlights. Which I hope to share in this posting. 

I think the single most eventful thing that happened this May was a message I received through WhatsApp which hinted that a friend had a Western Tanager in his back yard!

Black Oak Heritage Park

The thing that I love about Black Oak Heritage Park is that its just so darn close to me. Its literally 5 mins away. I really birded this wonderful place alot this May --- going almost daily.

Western Tanager (Near Puce ON)  - May 6th

I must admit that I can't help but wonder about the chances of a real western rarity showing up in a friends yard. The odds are --- almost unimaginable. But -- My friend does have a gorgeous back yard with a pond and feeder habitat. One funny (or crappy) thing about this sighting was that my camera (for some reason) had its settings screwed up - the aperture was set to F19 or F22. So, the whole that the light was going through was really small, so the shutter stayed open for longer.  Anyway - here are some images that I had from briefly viewing the Tanager that morning:\

May 16th - Rondeau 

Perhaps one of my best birding days this month was a day off that I took and went to Rondeau. I was talking to a woman about how good the day was - when she stated that she had  been there for the last two weeks. It dawned on me that birding while one is working is quite different when compared to someone who can spend the whole peak migration period at a migrant hotspot. 

May 20th - South Cameron Woodlot

I really love birding casually from my back yard.  I had seen a Bald Eagle come into view and was about to land in the hedgrow behind my house. I had seen it about 15-20m above the ground with talons dangling. Then, it swooped up and out of view. I went right to the back of my yard to watch it fly away when I noticed a sparrow fly into the hedgerow. I was amazed to see a Clay coloured Sparrow! Click here to see this Ebird Hotspot!

May 22nd - Greyling and Tobico Marsh Nature Area (Bay City State Park)

May 27th - Pointe Mouillee (Rockford MI), Petersburg SGA, Kitty Todd Nature Preserve, Irwin Prairie, Oak Openings (Toledo Ohio).

This trip, along with many of the trips listed in this posting probably deserve its own posting, but for the mostpart - it was not overly filled with any particular rarities. 

Point Mouillee- Black Tern, White Pelicans... Rumour of Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Petersburg SGA- Wild Lupine Habitat, possible Karner Blue Butterfly (not seen)
Kitty Todd Preserve (Toledo Ohio) - Summer Tanager, Eastern Bluebird
Irwin Sedge Prairie - Red Shouldered Hawk, Swamp Sparrow Singing
Oak Openings - Did not bird much as it seems to be closed to foot traffic

So all in all - its been a fun May. I spent most of it at Black Oak, just near my house, but I did make a few special trips to PPNP, Rondeau, and even Grayling MI. One other closing thought for this posting is that I have made more and more efforts to use E-Bird this year, and also, I enjoyed using "merlin app" to "listen" for birds. It can be good at times - but it is certainly not perfect as it clearly misses lots of things that I would hear, and it often hears things I would have missed, and of course, it gives false positives and positive false reports. So one must be cautious reporting sightings based on merlin.

Good Birding, 


Saturday, April 22, 2023

April Birding 2023 + Poem: Nothing Gold Can Stay


Tis' the Season - Over the last few weeks I have made great efforts to go for walks every day after work. I often go to Black Oak Heritage Park - but I go to Spring Garden, Holiday Beach as well as my own back yard --- and its been fun to see some migrants coming though. 

I'm not sure if I posted this poem from Robert Frost on my blog in the past. I had come across a painting that a student drew, and I caught my interest. I thought the painting was cool, and I had looked up the quote featured on it--- it seems the painting was inspired by a poem by Robert Frost.

I think interpreting the poem can be done by the reader- but it seems the poet is just making a point that spring blossoms are so short lived. Fruit Trees, Eastern Redbuds, and even just common trees have these beautiful flowing blooms that just last maybe a week or two then are gone for another year. The poet also makes reference to that brief moment at dawn where the sunlight is golden. Gold's chemical symbol is Au - for:  Aurum - Latin for *Sparkling Dawn*. But -- blink and you miss it.

Good Birding!



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