Monday, November 26, 2018

Add Cape May Warbler to the Backyard Bird List....

****Editors Note: I wrote this back on Wed May 16th 2018 --- I forgot to publish it so I am publishing it late. This is backtrack birding! ****

n May 15th, just the other day, I had gone to Ojibway Park (after work) and had a decent list of birds... and I basically went home to eat dinner and then quickly continue to bird another part of the park.

But as I was eating dinner (it was Taco Tuesday), I noticed some birds flitting around in a tree in the hedgerow behind my yard. Two Yellow Warblers? Nice. A Baltimore Oriole? Beautiful. Swainsons Thrush ? Yes nice buffy face.... Grey Catbird (meow) and then...Could it be???? No... A Cape May Warbler?... I was standing on my back porch! 

Needless to say I grabbed my camera and took an obligatory series of photos...

Looking at these photos are pretty amazing, and I'm glad I can share them with the world on this blog (and through ebird). I can't help but notice that at this time of year, its really cool to see how trees have this explosion of foliage in the form of new leaves -yes- and also the delicate beauty of the catkins that various trees produce. Taking a closer look at these photos also gave me a chance to look at the leaf shape to identify the tree species... It seems to be a Bur Oak - A White Oak species that is famous for making casks for Whiskey and Bourbon (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on that ID). Ask any Whiskey fan and they will tell you that the best flavours come from a barrel that is lightly charred and made from Virgin White Oak. (I'm a big fan of the award winning "Lot 40" whiskey made by the JP Wiser's folks in Walkerville's Hiram Walker distillery ... but that is a topic for another day. Lot 40 is matured in Virgin White Oak Casks).

While I was photographing this Cape May Warbler - I also was listening to the song of Song Sparrows, and several Wood Thrushes - singing in the adjacent forest (South Cameron Woodlot). 

Some other birds I've had in my backyard this spring season include:
  • Palm Warbler 
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Swainson's Thrush
  • Baltimore Oriole (breeder?)
  • White crowned Sparrows
  • Ruby throated Humingbird (breeder)

I am keeping a mental yard list of birds that I've seen in my back yard and its getting better and better.  It begs the question... If I'm seeing this just by randomly looking out just a fraction of an hour per day... what else it out there?!?

Good birding!

Friday, November 16, 2018

A Brant New Lifer (#410).... Brant Goose at Jack Miners in Kingsville

I've been birding for almost 10 years - and for the most part - I've been fortunate enough to see over 400 species of birds. One species of Goose that I've always wanted to see was a Brant. They are quite a bit more common just a few hours north of Essex County - such as in Sarnia and Toronto/Hamilton area.

So today I was printing out some colouring sheets from the internet after work and checked my email. Rick from Leamington had discovered a Brant at Jack Miners and posted his sighting to Wepbirds - a local birding list-serve (Google Group actually) that Windsor Essex Pelee birders use to post local bird observations.

Upon arrival to Jack Miners, I scanned the field of ducks and geese --- and to my horror --- there was NO BRANT! I called Rick and he graciously came back to help me find it. We stood around for a while talking and low and behold --- A small "V" of Geese circled around overhead. Rick and Kit noticed one of the birds was much smaller than the Canada Geese. Miraculously --- the Goose Returned!!!  Pat S & Karen H arrived a few minutes later and also were able to lifer this beautiful bird as well.

I've included a couple of other bird photos from the last two weeks. Some were from Pelee and others from Rondeau.

Side Note:
To join wepbirds - go to and click the button [Click here to join Group]. Local birder Kory Renaud started this group - so make sure to say thanks if you see him.

Good Birding!

Lifer Summary (Last 10) -
400- Gray Jay
401- Spruce Grouse
402- Ruffed Grouse
403- Pine Grosebeak
404- Northern Gannet
405- Common Eider
406- Razorbill
407- Black Gullimot
408- Nelson's Sparrow
409 - Great Kiskadee (New for 2018!)
410 - Brant (New for 2018!)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Backtrack Birding & Blogging : Biking at Ojibway Park - May 6th & May 8th 2018

***Editors Note: This was an unpublished posting from May 2018. Its being published in November 2018 so the context of the posting is passed now***

Since I spent the full day at Point Pelee yesterday, I figured I would go to my local forest and tried my luck at Black Oak Heritage Park today.  It was a pretty good trip. I had good looks at Black throated green Warbler, N. Parula, Brown Thrasher, Yellow throated Vireo and one of my favorite birds, a Red-headed Woodpecker!

The interesting thing about the Yellow throated Vireo is that I very clearly heard one  singing in a tree above the path I was driving my bike on. I just stopped my bike, put the kickstand up and immediately saw the Yellow throated Vireo! To my amazement, there was a pair of Vireos in this tree. Were they migrants or a mated pair that are in the process of nesting???

I started this post around May 6th - and had just left it incomplete and unpublished. I've added a photo of a Blue winged Warbler - which I saw at Ojibway just a few days after I took the photos in this posting. I guess if you consider the Pine Warblers, the Rusty Blackbirds, the Cerulean and Yellow throated Vireo that was seen at Ojibway --- it goes to show that there is decent birding to be had right here in West Windsor. I imagine many birds are simply going undetected because there are so few birders that bird the park.

Good birding!


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