Friday, August 31, 2018

Point Pelee Birding on Labour Day Weekend

This morning, I joined Kit McCann and Mike Austin for a birding walk at Point Pelee. We birded the park from about 7am to 12:00 noon. I managed to see about 63 species today [ebird list]. 

Some of the best birds seen - (in my opinion) were Cape May Warblers, Olive sided Flycatcher, Blackburnian Warbler, Bay Breasted, Blackpoll, Yellow bellied Flycatchers... So many species that I only get once-a-year looks at ... if I'm lucky!

Mike, who birds the park daily hinted to us that yesterday was a much better day with 16+ warblers seen. 

As we left the park, we went through the onion fields- (which were pretty quiet), a freshly ploughed field along hwy #3 in Leamington (which gave looks at Black Bellied and Golden Plovers). We even stopped at the Essex SL Plant to see a few seasonal shorebirds. 

Labour day weekend is always a favorite birding weekend for me because there are lots of southbound migrants and its a nice long weekend. Funny though, for the last two years, I did not go birding on Labour Day weekend. 

Hermit Thrush (Or Grey Cheeked Thrush?)

Good Birding!

PS: I've added some bonus pics from Holiday Beach Last Night. There was a nice Egret Roost just outside of Holiday Beach near "ducks on the roof". Common Galinules easily seen at "carp crossing".

Friday, August 24, 2018

Mothing at Ojibway - Aug 24th 2018

Tom Preney pointed out this beautiful Darling Undwing moth with a purple gloss to its wings

Between 9-11pm tonight, I joined the Windsor Essex Field Naturalists for an evening of Mothing!

Quick Summary:

  • Sweetheart Underwing (Most abundant underwing tonight)
  • Widow Underwing (Mono-chromatic beauty)
  • Darling Underwing (Purple tinged underwing!)
  • Pelecinid Wasp
  • Several unknown species!

Some previous mothing postings are:

*Just a little editor's note that I "tagged" my "Widow Underwing" images with the word "Window Underwing"... My bad... I'm too lazy to re-export the images!

Good Mothing!

The Widow Underwing is a monochromatic beauty with a black and white underwing!

The Underwing of an Underwing!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Gorgeous Galinule Glimpse - Purple Galinule at Fox Creek in Kingsville

Along the shore of Lake Erie on the southern edge of Essex County is a wonderful series of small towns between Amhurstburg and Leamington. There is an ERCA Historical Attraction called John R Park Homestead on the shore of Lake Erie nestled beside Fox Creek. This is between Kingsville and Oxley.  A Leamington birder/photographer named Brad Oullette was driving along the shore when he spotted a Purple Gallinule foraging along the Fox Creek marsh. Brad is no stranger to mega rarities... he found a Fork Tailed Flycatcher  at Point Pelee about 10 years ago!

I attempted to find the bird on Saturday (yesterday) but after looking for 1 or so hours, I left only to have it come into view shortly after I left. I tried again today and upon arrival, there was a group along the road looking through scopes, cameras, binoculars... which was a good sign. I snapped a few photos just as I arrived on scene and boom... the bird was gone!

Fox Creek was a nice little wetland that hosted Kingfishers, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, to name a few. Carolina Wren was singing periodically. Warblers were noted in the trees along the shoreline. A small group of birders had also pointed out an Eastern Garter Snake which had attempted to eat a large toad. The snake had the toad's leg in its mouth but after a few minutes, the snake realized that its going to be hard to swallow the toad with the other limb being free.


Good Birding!!!

Monday, August 13, 2018

EPA Website Censorship & Innovating with a Blog Library? (v.2)

A few weeks ago, I was at a natural area in NW Ohio and picked up a wonderful booklet that was so beautiful and informative. I just had to share a PDF file with my readers. I think nature geeks should have access to lots of great resources to learn about the ecosystem and environment that surrounds them.

Living in the Oak Openings [PDF link] [PDF Backup]
Oak Openings Official Website:

But - the web is so dynamic ... if you make a link to a resource today, in a month from now or in three years ... that link might no longer work. This happens quite a lot!

I recently went to refer back to a wonderful document that I had shared a while back about the natural history of the lake St Clair region. It was produced and published by the EPA. I was amazed with its depth and thorough writing. It featured many photos and references to both sides of the border, and had several references to Windsor, Essex County. For example - they even mentioned the canard creek watershed and had a few photos and references to Ojibway Park.

So I went  back to a former blog posting that had a link and I noticed the link was "broken". With some research on the EPA site, you can find an "Archived" version of the file, but that file has been watermarked and is basically illegible.

This file used to exist at this URL:   .... but that link is dead - only three years after I linked to it. Luckily, I saved the PDF locally to my computer and only today was able to upload it to an online file sharing resource.

Lake St Clair Biodiversity Report from EPA (archived, backup copy of the file) [Dropbox Backup LINK] .

The EPA moved that file to this location:  ... it is now "archived" - and they watermarked that beautiful report with an opaque 1.5" left margin watermark that obscures the text. Its basically unreadable! How could they just ruin a 145 page document like that? So again - I am sharing the un-archived version here: [Dropbox Backup LINK].

Time magazine wrote up an alarming article [here] about how one of the first things the Trump administration [and scott pruit] did was to discard hundreds of pages from the EPA's website. Any reference to climate change or global warming was removed. There was also a page about climate change aimed at a young audience and ... you guessed it...All 50 pages of its content was removed.

Image Source:

So... if you find a great source of information ... share it! But don't forget to try to keep a backup copy of that resource. Services like Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive make it easy to upload and share to the world with a simple link.

This has sparked an idea that I have been thinking about for a while which is to create a page dedicated to great natural history resources. Look for it soon!

Some recent happenings include:
  • Seeing a (juvenile?) Red bellied Woodpecker with a "golden nape" ( see the "lower" woodpecker in the the image below)
  • Finding a Western Chorus Frog jump onto my backyard concrete patio slab while jumping out of the path of my electric lawn mower. I trapped it in a plastic tote bin and released it back into the natural hedgerow behind my house.
  • Saw several Common Checkered Skippers at Assumption Church near the Ambassador Bridge in west Windsor. Two were obliging enough to be captured with my cell phone!
Good birding!

Friday, August 3, 2018

A walk at Kitty Todd Prairie at Oak Openings in NW Ohio

My family did a small day-trip to Ohio yesterday, and I was interested in making a stop at a famed tallgrass prairie near Toledo Ohio. I was interested in going because this is where the famed Karner Blue butterfly was re-introduced. Other highlights in this area are miles of Oak Savannah habitat. Breeding birds here include: Summer Tanager, Blue Grosebeak, Red headed Woodpecker, Lark Sparrow to name a few. Spotted Turtles are surviving in Oak Openings as well.

I will let the photos speak for themselves but some of the highlights were more botanical in nature, although I did see pair of Eastern Bluebirds nesting in a duck box next to a regenerated wetland. Later, I saw a Red Headed Woodpecker on a telephone post. 

Some botanical highlights include: Tall Green Milkweed, Winged Summac (lifer!), Cardinal Flower, various Bush-clovers and of course, Wild Lupine. 

While I was at the Kitty Todd Prairie, I stopped by the office and picked up a stunning 50-page booklet about the natural history of the oak openings region. It features most of the plants, birds and herps that are found in this habitat. I must admit that I found that publication breathtakingly beautiful and informative. I wish I could share it with my blog readers. I googled the title of the booklet and found it online as a PDF. I've provided a link below. Super informative and also, very positive. The folks in Toledo seem to take a "rehabilitation approach" to viewing the ecosystem - which focuses on regenerating and rehabilitating habitat instead of just feeling bad about the loss of species.  Also, this publication suggests that the Oak Openings region goes up into SE Michigan, up into Oakland County, which is adjacent to Essex County. The Ojibway tallgrass prairie is clearly a part of this system, as there are many areas that have Amazing reading if you have some time....

Living in the Oak Openings


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