Sunday, December 30, 2018

Backtrack Birding: Visiting the Pinery in Late May 2018

More backtrack birding - This posting features some sights from a May 20th weekend to the Pinery. I was hoping to see some Eastern Pine Elfins (and perhaps an Olympia Marble Butterfly - but I missed both of those wonderful species. Even still we had a great day at the Pinery and still saw some great birds. One of my favorites was Canada Warbler - perhaps the only one I had seen this year. 
Between the biking, canoeing and birding that the Pinery offers - and the stunning looks at Lake Huron from Cedar Scrub dunes... A trip to the Pinery never disappoints!

Good Birding!

PS: Happy New Year!  


Sunday, December 16, 2018

December Birding, Biking and Butterfly Watching at Holiday Beach

It was a gorgeous sunny day today in Essex County and I couldn't help going for a bike ride at Holiday Beach in Amherstburg.

On the roads outside of Holiday Beach there are usually some raptors on the telephone wires. Today with the beautiful sunlight - I attempted to photograph an American Kestrel. There were three easily seen while driving into and out of the park.

At Holiday Beach I was happy to see a butterfly flying along the side of the road. It was about 9 C!!

An Eastern Phoebe was briefly seen and after attempting to photograph the bird, I lost it only to hear it singing moments later!

Good birding!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Long Point Visit, Norfolk County (From July 2018)

*Editors Note: I posted this later than I wanted to it was written in Mid July 2018. 

During this past weekend (July 14-16), my family did a little three day trip to Rondeau, Port Stanley, St Thomas, then brief visits to Turkey Point, Long Point which are beautiful sand spits that jut out into Lake Erie. 

While birding was not an official activity of this trip, we did take a boat-ride out to the tip of Long Point which is something I've wanted to do for years. You may already know that Long Point is 42 km long! And most of it is off-bounds to most people because it is such a delicate ecosystem. 

We also tried to partake in some mountain biking trails which are quite nice around Turkey Point. Since my two boys and wife are not avid cyclists, we only did two trails. One trail was dominated by Pine trees and at one point, I couldn't help but notice the trill-like call of a Pine Warbler!  Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Wood Pewees, Downy Woodpecker and Chipping Sparrows were noted. 

We drove through Backus Woods and the St William's Forest areas. We even stopped by the Backus (Backhouse) Conservation area which featured a nice Nature Center, Water-powered Grist Mill, and a old Homestead that you can tour. 

There is so much to say but I guess I could summarize my thoughts by saying that Norfolk County is a beautiful location with surprising amounts of intact forest and nature. It has much in common with the rest of the shoreline along Lake Erie.  Beauty in abundance, generous amounts of farmland (corn, soyabeans, tobacco) fresh fruit stands.... Hopefully, Norfolk will conserve its natural resources for future generations. 

Turkey Point Mountain Biking Club:

Next Ten Lifers?

When a birder hit 400 bird species on their North American list - it becomes more important to travel further abroad and to different regions if he/she is going to discovering new species.

At 410 life list species - its interesting to think what might be the next ten that I see? What will be the road to 420 species? I've brainstormed the most realistic or likely birds I could pick up.

Some on this list are not overly rare - and would not need great efforts to travel. For example the first five birds in this list have been seen in Southwestern Ontario with some consistency over the years.

Bohemian Waxwing - Should be easy enough to see this in SW Ontario. Perhaps one will be chasable by lingering near crab apple trees.
Scissor tailed Flycatcher - Occasionally shows up at Point Pelee or Southern Ontario.  Florida Texas or Gulf States.
King Rail - Breeds near lake St Clair and Point Mouille.
Bells Vireo - Shows up every few years during migration.
Varied Thrush - Shows up every few years during the winter season. I've heard this singing in Banff.
Sharp tailed Grouse - Present in UP Michigan.
Snowy Plover - Florida Texas or Gulf States
Least Tern - Florida Texas or Gulf States
Harris' Sparrow - Prairies, Northern Territories
Lecontes Sparrow - Prairies, Northern Territories
Eastern Puffin - Maritime Provinces
Red Phalarope - East Coast during Migration (difficult)
Cave Swallow - Annually shows up in late fall. Flybys near pelee. (Jeremy B and I saw swallows overhead one day at Pelee - and he indicated that they were Cave Swallows.... But I couldn't see any distinguishing field marks so I am not claiming to have seen this species yet.

Possible travel locations:
I would love to travel to Texas and then move through the Southwestern US. There would be several birds I could pick up with that route. In particular - There would be three SW'ern Woodpeckers I could probably pick up. Perhaps Varied Bunting?

Going back out to the east coast of Canada - the maritime provinces - and perhaps doing a pelagic would yield many life birds as well. Eastern Puffin would be pretty easy in the right coastal localities.

Visiting the Prairie Provinces would also be an excellent trip - I would perhaps increase my chances of seeing some of the more rare Sparrows and Grouse I've been needing. I have not yet stepped foot into Manitoba or Saskatchewan!

Alaska - and perhaps a pelagic on into the pacific ocean would yield buckets of life birds as well. 

Artic --- going way up north would be a breathtaking experience as well. Ivory Gull ??

Good birding, DM


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