Saturday, May 30, 2020

Beautiful Mid-May Morning Walk at Ojibway Park in Windsor

Back in mid-May - I had woken up early and gone for a walk at Ojibway Park before work.  I often try to tell myself just to enjoy the moment, and not reach for a camera - but as the sun broke though the clouds, I couldn't help but snap a few photos at Ojbway Park's main forest area.

These photos are unprocessed, straight off my cell-phone, but perhaps my phone used some built-in HDR post-processing.

A talented birder on ebird mentioned on his profile that birding is not a destination - its a journey.  That is great advice as there is so much to enjoy beyond high counts and mega-rarities.

Enjoying the morning sunlight breaking through the mist, in complete solitude, surrounded by nature gives a wonderful peaceful experience that money can't buy. The sound of birdsong, the smell of the soil, the warmth of the air against winter-weary skin, the colours of new plants bathed in golden sunlight. A delight for all the senses .... Just thought I would share some scenes from Ojibway. Enjoy.

Good Naturing,

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mothing with Moe ... in May? + Wheatley Harbour Shorebird Run

For the last few years, I have been fortunate to join a local moth expert in his mothing efforts. This particular outing was much earlier than any I had been on in the past.  There was not a huge amount of diversity, although I did see a few new species that I've never seen -- Such as this beautiful Harnessed Tiger Moth (similar to the Virgin Tiger Moth), Abbott Sphinx Moth as well as a Twin spotted Sphinx moth.  A couple other interesting species were photographed and will most likely go unidentified.

I had also wanted to go out to Wheatley Harbour in hopes of seeing Whimbrel and/or Red Knots, which are generally passing though at this time of year. Upon arrival, I was disappointed that there were none of the desired shorebirds although a single Whimbrel on the breakwall gave me some satisfaction. Ruddy Turnstones were plentiful and were both easy to see in flight as well as foraging on the beach.

On the way home, I drove by Two Creeks Conservation Area and noted a Monarch Butterfly (FOY) which was very nice to see.

Good Birding!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Birding Sadler's Pond in Essex - May 23rd 2020

Sadler's Pond is a small natural area in the town of Essex Ontario. Its not particularly noteworthy in terms of size but there is one thing going for it. --- Its a small oasis of natural area surrounded by a monoculture of cash crops.

Today I was pleasantly surprised to see how good it was in May 23rd. There were several Canada, Wilson's, Tennessee, Mourning Warblers as well as Blue headed and Philadelphia Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers and even a Summer Tanager!

Even though I've been birding for about 10 years now, I think I am amazed at how good the birding still is in late May. I recall at Point Pelee a few years ago, everyone used to say migration is over on May 15th... That clearly is not the case!!!

Good birding!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Birding Rondeau May 16th 2020 - Kirtland's Warbler Amazes

On Saturday May 16th, I figured I would go to Rondeau Provincial Park as the park had just become open to the public the day before - but I was unable to go due to work commitments. It was a gorgeous day and the birding was exceptional. I had seen Blake as well as many other birders out.

A Chatham-Kent birder named Peter Burke found a Kirtland's Warbler in the Rondeau Camp ground area and many were alerted to its presence. Amazingly, I was able to catch up with the bird and obtain a couple of record photos of the bird.

I will repost a little background history of the Kirtlands Warbler that I had posted a few years ago from this posting:

A Brief History of the Kirtland's Warbler:

Discovery in 1851 - A specimen was shot and collected on Dr. Jared Kirtland’s farm near Cleveland, Ohio(US FWS). The birds name obviously honours its finder . Oddly enough, 1851 was the year John James Audubon died. It must have been amazing to discover a new bird that was never described!

Wintering Grounds Found in 1879 - The winter range of the Kirtland's warbler was discovered in 1879 when a specimen was collected on Andros Island in the Bahama Islands archipelago.(Michigan DNR)

Breeding Grounds found in 1903 - It was not until 1903 that Norman A. Wood discovered the first nest in Oscoda County in northern lower Michigan (Michigan DNR).

Jack Pine Habitat Requirements:
-Requires pine habitat with trees between 6-20 years old.
-Prescribed burns (or logging) has provided more optimal breeding habitat for the birds.
-Kirtlands Warblers prefer a nesting site with Blueberry bushes as that is a favored fruit of this bird... cool!
-Michigan and US Wildlife employees have done an amazing job helping this bird's population recover.
-A successful breeding nest was discovered at Petawawa Ontario in 2007 (Drake).

Cowbird Parasitism:
Besides it habitat requirements, Cowbirds had been hurting the breeding success rates, so a successful cowbird management program has been put in place to reduce the numbers and increase the nest success for the Kirtlands Warbler. 

Improved Outlook for the Future:
This chart below shows a trend in the number of singing male Kirtlands Warblers in Michigan. Since 1990, a continual increase in the number of singing males is evident. Props to Michigan and the US-FWS for putting resources towards saving this wonderful species. I'm just a humble birder from Ontario, but perhaps Michigan should consider changing its state bird from the American Robin to the Kirtlands Warbler? :-)

Image Source: Michigan DNR

Its always a pleasure to see this species!

Good Birding,

Thursday, May 14, 2020

FOY Indigo Bunting - Attracted to Dandelions in Back Yard + Small Warbler Flock at Ojibway

Happy May Migration Season!

I got up early to bird Malden Park this morning at 7am - only to find it a little slower than I was expecting. Still, I heard a warbler call that I was not familiar with and I found a Northern Waterthrush! Sadly my ISO settings were too strong for the dull early morning light and my photos were blurrier than I was hoping for.

Tonight at dinner I was BBQ'ing in my back porch and almost fell over to see this stunning Indigo Bunting chomping away at the abundant dandelion seeds in my back yard. A field sparrow walked by the bunting as I was photographing him. A few white crowned sparrows were around as well.

After dinner, I went back to Malden to find a Solitary Sandpiper, and Blue headed Vireo.  I went for a quick evening run to Black Oak Heritage Park and while it was generally slow tonight - I did find a nice pocket of about 10 warblers in swampy area.

I had breathtaking looks at Cape May Warblers, a Blackburnian, Chestnut sided, and Northern Parula. Another Indigo Bunting and Great Crested Flycatcher were nearby.

OK -- Less Blogging and more Birding. Enjoy the wonderful weekend coming up!

Good Birding!


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