Saturday, October 27, 2018

October Back Yard Birds and Other Sightings

The last week or two have been a little lack-luster for birding. The weekends have had horrible weather and weekdays are filled with work commitments!

Backyard birds over the last few weeks include:
  • Palm Warblers
  • White crowned Sparrows
  • White throated Sparrows
  • Red breasted Woodpecker
  • Dark eyed Junco
  • Blue Jays
  • Cardinals

I had ventured out to Hillman Marsh about two weeks ago since I was out in Essex for a work commitment. I went to Hillman as I heard that some Nelson's Sparrows were being seen there. Unfortunately, there were gail-force winds making birding (and standing outside) difficult. I did see a roadkilled Eastern Fox Snake which was sad to see.

Karen H recently informed me that there was a Blue-Morph Snow Goose at the Volmer Pond in Lasalle and I was able to follow up on that sighting. Overhead, a Bald Eagle soared in the sky... always nice to see. 

It will be interesting to see if this year is a great year for winter finches (See Ron Pittaway's Winter Finch Forecast). I think seeing Common Redpolls or White winged Crossbills will be a nice treat to make the upcoming winter season a little more bearable. I bought a new nyjer seed feeder in hopes of attracting some good northern birds.

Perhaps the same factors that are giving Snowy Owls booming populations in the north will also make sightings of Gyrfalcons and Northern Shrikes a little more abundant as well.

This weekend seems to be a complete washout in terms of rain... It would have been really nice to go to Holiday Beach to do some hawk-watching. Late October always gives some nice views of late migrating raptors such as Red Shouldered and Rough Legged Hawks as well as Golden Eagles.

Maybe next weekend's weather will be a little better? Lets hope....

Good birding,

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!


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