Sunday 30 April 2017

Long Point - End of April

Birding has been interesting in southern Ontario the past week or so.  Lots of new migrants arriving, and some great southern overshoots too.  I was down in the area on this past Thursday, and although I didn't have anything too crazy, I did have lots of FOY (First of the Year birds).

While doing a bird survey for work I came across this sleepy raccoon, it didn't wake up and kept on sleeping the morning away!

I saw my first Rose-breasted Grosbeaks of the year on Thursday.

White-crowned Sparrows were ubiquitous.

House Wrens could be heard belting out their bubbly calls at every turn.

This Turkey Vulture was content to pose for a few photos.

I saw my first "real" warblers of the year, including this Black-throated Green Warbler

Palm Warblers were present in good numbers.

I bumped into Brandon and Barb at Long Point.  They didn't refind the Blue Grosbeak or Kentucky Warbler for me that they had earlier in the morning, but Brandon did snap this pic of these Brown-headed Cowbirds for me haha.

My first Warbling Vireo of 2017

Common Loons were on the move on Thursday, I had several dozen fly over near the lakeshore.

One more week of work before migration freedom! I will be at Point Pelee National Park from Friday (May 5) to Wednesday morning (May 10) before heading over to Pelee Island for a few days!  I can't wait!

Friday 21 April 2017

It's a Ruff Life

Today I was able to finish up my work early and decided to try for the awesome bird that Jarmo Jalava found up in the Grey-Bruce area yesterday.  The bird is a 'Ruff', a European species that winters mostly in Africa and breeds in Scandinavia and northern Asia.  Although a very rare vagrant, wayward individuals do show up each year in Ontario.  As I had not had the opportunity to see this species before, I made the 1.5hr drive from Fergus this afternoon.  Lucky for me, the bird decided to stick around!  Below are a few photos I snapped with the new camera.

The bird on the left is the Ruff.  It is a male, hence why it has the ridiculous showy feathers!

The Ruff was really entertaining as it chased the other Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and the Pectoral Sandpipers.

At one point it even took to flight to chase away this Pectoral Sandpiper!

Eyeing up the next target!

This bird was well worth the drive!  Such an exciting bird to see!

Sunday 16 April 2017

Loggerhead Shrike - Napanee Alvar

This weekend I was home in Kingston to see my family, and on Saturday, Dad, Caitlyn and I headed up to the Napanee Limestone Plains Important Bird Area on Nugent Road north of Napanee to see if we could find some Loggerhead Shrike.  Loggerhead Shrikes are an Endangered species in Ontario that favour alvar habitat, which are areas where the bedrock comes close to the surface, making soils quite shallow.

We drove down Nugent Road and after a bit of searching, a shrike flew right across the road in front of us and proceeded to put on a show as it foraged along the fence line!  We saw another one on our way back down the road!

We also saw many beautiful Eastern Meadowlarks singing away, like this one below.

We were pleasantly surprised to see this flock of 14 Wilson's Snipe fly over and circle us!

On Friday we hiked around Lemoine Point Conservation Area, and although it was a lovely day, we picked up 5 Black-legged (Deer Ticks) on our clothes!  As you are probably aware, these nasty little creatures can give Lyme Disease, so it is a good idea to do a thorough tick check of your entire body after coming home.

Deer Tick - somehow this one eluded capture for over an hour and popped up on Caitlyn's leg while sitting in the living room!
 When I arrived in Kingston on Thursday night, the moon was nearly full and the sky was clear.  I decided to try out the moon setting on my new camera and was really impressed! You can see lots of the craters too!  This was handheld, bracing myself on the car hood at full zoom.

Thursday 13 April 2017

More Nature Shots with the P900

I was down by Lake Erie for work again today and tested out the Nikon P900 some more.  I am really impressed with it! The range at which I am able to get decent shots with this camera is staggering! Shots that I wouldn't have even tried for before are easily attainable with this beast!

The shot below of the deer was taken at full telephoto (83X optical zoom) and handheld and came out pretty darn sharp!

Eastern Bluebird
 I took this shot of this eagle nest, staying inside my car at max telephoto.  The adult on the nest was feeding the new born nestlings some sort of meat.

Northern Flicker

Eastern Phoebe
 I was impressed also with how well the camera autofocus is able to thread the needle through branches to focus on the target as seen in this shot of a Cooper's Hawk and the Field Sparrow below.

Much more to come! Migration is in full swing!

Saturday 8 April 2017

Luther Marsh and Nikon Coolpix P900 Test Run

It has been far too long since my last blog post, but March was a crazy busy month.  I am hoping that April is a bit more "normal".  Anyways, I recently purchased a new camera, the Nikon Coolpix P900.  I have had just about every type of camera you can think of: point and shoots, film SLRs and digital SLRs, and was anxious to see how this one stacked up.  If you are familiar with this camera, you know why I bought it...the enormous telephoto lens!  It has an optical zoom of 83X, an equivalent of up to 2000mm!  The camera itself is pretty enormous and I anticipate this will be mostly a car camera, and I will still carry my HX50 in my pocket everywhere.

Below are a few long range shots that I got.  I was really impressed with the quality of the images at such a long range and handheld!

The shot below wasn't half bad considering these ducks were pretty much across the lake!  Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck and Lesser Scaup.

I like the shot below.  It was pretty far out, and I just caught the heads of the male and female Mallard in the foreground, with the male Northern Shoveller in the background!

Some of the thousands of ducks that I flushed by accident from a puddle out in a field, I wish I was more careful and could have scoped through them while they were sitting.

We had fun watching these Sandhill Cranes.  I was pretty happy with these photos considering they were quite far into the field.

I can always count on seeing a few Trumpeter Swans at Luther Marsh at this time of year.  Two pairs were present in the pond.

A long range shot of Cait coming down from the viewing gallery, quite a ways away.  This is the perfect paparazzi camera!

One of the nice things about having a new camera is you end up taking lots more pictures! So I expect to post more regularly in the near future!