Monday, December 30, 2019

10 Year Blogiversary ... Reflections on a 10 Year Birding Apprenticeship

Eastern Fringed Prairie Orchid - Ojibway Park, Windsor Ontario
Wow - ten years ago ... I started this blog after an interest in birding started as a result of a few chance interactions with Ojibway Park in West Windsor.  At that time, I was going through some personal challenges and in a way - I found some relief in natural history. This blog attempted to document that journey.  I've met many great naturalists on this journey - such as Paul Pratt, Blake Mann and Allen Woodliffe.  I've made many new friends and acquaintances as well - mainly the Windsor Essex birding community.

During the last ten years - I think I've grown tremendously as a person, I had two new children, I earned a business degree, and traveled extensively. I did my best to balance a career, schooling, various home improvement projects, parenting etc.

Here are some other reflections based on topic below:

Travel - 
In the USA, I have traveled to Michigan, Florida, Oregon, and Arizona to further my natural history observations and experiences. On the Canadian side of the border - I have traveled to Algonquin, Carden Alvar, Manitoulin Island, Ottawa, BC, Alberta, and New Brunswick for birding and travel.

Photography - 
I've done my best to capture this journey with photography. I started out ten years ago with digital rebel (Canon DSLR), then moved to a Canon 40D, then to a Canon 7D. Just recently - I made a decision to perhaps invest in a new camera system - a mirrorless Sony Alpha 7 series camera. I bought the 350mm telephoto lens but I am waiting on the newest version of the Sony Alpha 7 series which has yet to be released (hopefully before May 2020).

Botany has become a strong interest over the years. I have made an effort to seek out all of the rare plants that our local Ojbiway Park contains. Seeing the rare and endangered species at Ojibway and sometimes even self-finding rare species has been tremendously exciting! (some that come to mind include Pink Laddies Slippers at French River Provincial Park this summer, Ragged Fringed Orchid in New Brunswick and Spring Ladies Tresses in Florida at Babcock Web WMA).

Butterfly Watching - 
Butterfly watching has been tremendously exciting over the years, especially observations that were made during my traveling efforts. A few special occurences that come to mind include seeing the Karner Blue butterfly in Newago Michigan, the Olympia Marble this Spring in the Pinery Area or Lambton County, and the Little Metalmark in Florida at Babcock Web WMA.

Conservation and Ethics - 
I end off this reflection with a final thought which is a conundrum that I struggle with. I am increasingly concerned with my 'carbon footprint' that I leave as a result of my birdwatching efforts.  I must admit that I think its wrong (for the most-part) to engage in cross-provincial twitching trips - yet I have engaged in them in the past and I am currently debating driving to a Toronto area bird that would be an amazing life bird. One consolation that I like to think about is that my current car is very fuel efficient (50MPG Highway) and I am hoping to eventually buy an electric car, which would be a huge carbon reduction investment.

So thanks for all the readers of Nerdy for Birdy for joining me on this 10 year apprenticeship into birding and Natural History. Its been a fun ride and I still feel I have more to learn and more to contribute moving forward.  I look forward to reading and learning from fellow bloggers and being a small part of Ontario's blogosphere.

Happy New Year and all the best in 2020!

Dwayne Murphy

Friday, December 6, 2019

Backtrack Birding: May 18th, 2019 at Ojibway Park

Sometimes, I will go look at some former postings - and I realized that I did not blog about an excellent day of birding that I had back in May  -- May 18th if I'm not mistaken -- at Ojibway Park.

Ojibway park is a large complex of parks in West Windsor that is probably a nice oasis of natural area in an otherwise human-altered landscape.

This past May - one birder reported a Cerulean Warbler around mid-May. Another young woman who is new to birding and nature photography had photographed a Worm-Eating Warbler --- but was unaware of its rarity factor -- having shown the photo to other birders at a later date.

On May 18th, I don't recall the details too much other than I had seen some great birds around Ojibway --- and one small flock of Warblers had a drab bird that I couldn't really figure out what it was at first.  A less experienced version of myself might have dismissed it as warbler sp. or but for some reason, this birds foraging efforts allowed me to watch it as it slowly moved from the right to the left along the pathway I was standing on. I switched between trying to photograph it and just trying to view it through my binoculars. It was really cool to slowly realize that this was a Golden winged Warbler... Perhaps one of my best finds this year!

This was my first self-found Golden winged Warbler in Essex County --- having only seen a handful of other sightings exclusively at Point Pelee which were usually pointed out to me by other birders.

As I recall - I caught up with this same group of warblers about an hour later and I was amazed to re-find the female Golden Winged --- this time in better sunlight.

Seeing Canada Warbler and a few Scarlet Tanagers made this outing pretty sweet. Its nice to know that this natural area - just minutes from where I live can attract such nice birds.

Good birding!

Not the best photo - but... Diagnostic!


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