Thursday 30 August 2018

Ontario Life Bird Double Vision: Reddish Egret and Swallow-tailed Kite

Well the saga of southern rarities continues in southern Ontario with two fantastic birds kicking around for our viewing pleasure.  Ontario's first EVER Reddish Egret showed up in Oliphant in early August and has given phenomenal views for birders, and a cooperative (!) Swallow-tailed Kite has been present in Wasaga Beach for at least a week as well!

On Monday afternoon I made time despite my crazy hectic work schedule to risk the drive to Wasaga to chance finding the kite.  I arrived to see a few birders on the roadside, and as I got out I was told it was soaring super high in the air.  I found it with a Turkey Vulture, a mere speck in the sky.  I waited around for 25 mins and it wasn't making an appearance so I turned to leave and immediately Barb Charlton yelled at me that it was right out in the field!  I ran back and got incredible views! My first ever for Ontario!

The Swallow-tailed Kite was gracefully cruising over the soy bean fields catching insects!

After this 2hr drive I thought, what the heck, you've already screwed this day for work, lets do another 2hr drive to Oliphant to see the Reddish Egret!  I arrived at 6pm and started scanning the shoreline wetlands of coastal Lake Huron.  After around 15 minutes I had the bird, all to myself quite close!

Reddish Egrets have a fascinating foraging strategy unlike many of our other herons and egrets.  They are very active, often running around like an insane person trying to startle fish and then grabbing them.  This is a young bird, so not very reddish.

A very rare day indeed when I get 2 Ontario "Life Birds"!

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