Thursday 28 April 2016

Bird Body Parts Quiz

Take a look at the cropped photos below and see if you can guess what species they belong to.  I have arranged them in order of increasing difficulty. Post your guesses in the comments if you dare!








Tuesday 26 April 2016

A One Day Trip to Alberta

This weekend I did a quick blitz to Alberta for work, leaving on Sunday afternoon and returning on Monday evening.  I was sent out to do some raptor surveys near Provost, Alberta near the Saskatchewan border.  It was an enjoyable, albeit brief trip to the province and I didn't have any time to poke around.  I enjoyed seeing some of the western bird species that they have out there such as Black-billed Magpie, Swainson's Hawk and Western Meadowlark.  Below are a few pictures of the trip.  I hope I get to go out again when winter isn't clinging on so doggedly.

I found the rolling hills and pock marked landscape of prairie potholes to be surprisingly scenic.  Each pothole was full of various species of waterfowl and a real delight to investigate.

I stopped by a field of geese and quickly realized it was a huge flock of Greater White-fronted Geese! More than I have ever seen out east!
Greater White-fronted Geese
Greater White-fronted Geese

My nice rental car for the time I was there. I quadrupled the mileage on this brand new Jeep.

Northern Shoveler
Franklin's Gulls!
Out of focus American Avocets
Another great perk of the job I work at, seeing interesting places that I otherwise wouldn't get to.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

More Spring Arrivals - Essex County

Well, I was down in Essex County again for work a couple of days ago, and saw a few more "first of the year" bird species.  It was nice to see some shorebirds other than Killdeer for a change.  Hillman Marsh had lots of Dunlin, but no sign of the Black-bellied Plovers or Pectoral Sandpipers that were seen earlier in the week.

Dunlin - some of them were just starting to molt into breeding plumage, the black belly splotches were starting to appear
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler - gotta love that beak!
Warblers other than Yellow-rumped and Pine have been reported in the southwest of the province!  We are getting so close to the glorious peak of songbird migration, just a couple of more weeks!

Sunday 17 April 2016

Long Point - Spring Has Arrived and so Have Louisiana Waterthrush

I finally got around to getting some half decent material for a blog post this past weekend after travelling down to the Long Point Provincial Park area for some bird watching.  The weather was absolutely perfect for walking around in a T-shirt.

I love the sand dunes along the edge of Lake Erie in this location.  Almost as white as snow.

American Coot
I saw my first warblers of the year today, with many Yellow-rumped and Pine Warblers flitting about.
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Pine Warbler
 Lots of sparrows were present including several Field Sparrows.  This one hid in the grass and was hard to get a clear shot!
Field Sparrow
Brown Creeper
Sandhill Cranes
Purple Finch
Along the road in Long Point they have set up these short fences to block reptiles such as snakes and turtles from getting onto the road.  The fence was broken down in several spots, and as I walked along I found several snakes stranded on the wrong side.  I quickly picked them up and helped them over to the other side.

Eastern Garter Snake
A saw this interesting looking melanistic Garter Snake.  For some reason, some individuals are nearly entirely black.

I bumped into Brett Woodman at Old Cut and he tipped me off to some Louisiana Waterthrush at Backus Woods north of the park.  I hiked through the trails of this beautiful forest and eventually heard that distinctive song.

 This one flew up overhead and perched nicely on a branch for me.

Louisiana Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush
And of course, Chipmunks are also out and about!

Forster's Terns were also present along the lakeshore.  These photos were taken a few days prior on Lake St. Clair.  Such a beautiful bird!

Forster's Tern

Forster's Tern - note those white wingtips

I plan to be much more active in the field over the next few weeks, so you can expect to see more frequent posts in the coming days,