Friday, October 21, 2016

Mid October Birding - Golden Eagle, Cattle Egret & Hudsonian Godwit

Common Buckeye (with blue in wings)

(Note: This posting was from Saturday Oct 15th, 2016)

I visited Holiday Beach this morning with my four-year old son Michael. After spending a good part of an hour on the tower, my son and I walked around the beach to do some birding and butterfly watching. Eastern Comma and Common Buckeyes were well seen. This Common Buckeye above had a blueish tinge on its wing --- pretty cool!

As I was walking along the beach, my phone vibrated - an ontbirds post that a Golden Eagle was in Harrow. Just a few minutes later, I had a Golden Eagle flying towards me just 25' off the ground! At first, I assumed it was a turkey vulture - but the white windows under its wings hinted that I was dealing with a finer species of bird! Sadly, I had just switched my autofocus to manual a few minutes before so I only was able to photograph this Eagle as it flew past me to the west. From the beach, I shouted northward to the tower "Hey ---Golden Eagle at the beach!!!" ... but the three people on the tower never heard me or saw the Eagle.

Golden Eagle

I had photographed a Golden Eagle a few years ago at Holiday Beach, and that photo is now featured on All About Birds. org  -

I was about to head home when an Ontbirds posting mentioned Cattle Egret & Hudsonian Godwit at Hillman, so I couldn't resist. Also, a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly was seen at the Blue Heron area at Point Pelee - so I figured I would try for that as well.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret & Hudsonian Godwit

Eastern Fox Snake

A baby Eastern Fox snake at Hillman ended off my nice afternoon of nature viewing. Paul Pratt had found it and had it in hand - and allowed me to hold it- the first snake I've ever held! It was pretty amazing.

Good Birding, Herping & Lepping!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Thanksgiving Birding + Long Point Video Documentary

Happy Thanksgiving!!

This past Saturday Sept 8th 10th, I had attempted to go birding at Pelee - my intention was to get up early and perhaps do a tipwatch for a few hours. But - I slept in --- big time. I did make it into the park for a slothy 11am arrival -- I think even the gate attendant looked at me with pity as I drove in.

I divided my small ration of birding time into three parts: 1- A walk around Delaurier Trail, 2- A walk at Hillman Shorebird cell, and a quick stop at the Comber flooded fields.

Delaurier was a nice walk- as always. I honestly had one bird that I was hoping to run into - a Blue headed Vireo.  It seemed that every tree around Delaurier had a few warblers in it - but as far as I could tell, it was almost a monoculture of Yellow rumped Warblers!

Hillman had a really nice flooded field (different from other years - if I'm not mistaken). Having no scope, my observations included: Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Dunlin & Pectoral Sandpipers.

Comber - Kory R had reported a Hudsonian Godwit at the Comber Flooded Fields. Kit Rick and myself quickly went to find this bird. Kit had obtained permission to access the fields from the Canning Company - so we went out to see this awesome shorebird. We kept  a safe distance in an effort to not flush the bird. I was reminiscing recently about the time I was at Comber and had a "flock" of about 20 Hudsonian Godwits land right near me. It might have been one of the top ten birding moments of my birding efforts thus far.

About five years ago, I had seen a flock of about 20 Hudsonian Godwits --- an amazing birding moment!

As promised in the title of this blog posting, I wanted to share a great 1-hour video documentary about Long Point with readers. A friend of mine texted me on Sunday that there was a documentary about Long Point. I did not get the text until today, but I was luckily able to find it online. This should be mandatory viewing for any aspiring naturalist, and most people reading this blog will know much of the content in the video.

Good Birding!

Obligatory Back Yard Birding Reference

Friday, October 7, 2016

Backtrack birding - Late April at Point Pelee

Back in late April of this year, I had joined the Essex County Field Naturalists on a field trip to Pelee Island [link]. But before I boarded the ferry at 9am... I did a quick walk at Pelee in the early morning hours. I hindsight, I had a pretty good morning. (lol!)

Some highlights included: Rusty Blackbird, Orange Crowned Warbler, Blue winged Warbler, both Waterthrushes and a few other goodies...


On the ferry ride home from Pelee Island, I had read that a Black neck Stilt was found in the onion fields near Hillman Marsh. This was my second Stilt that I've seen near Hillman Marsh. A fantastic shorebird for sure!

Good Birding!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September Birding & Botanizing

Fringed Gentian - with Hover Fly pollinator at Ojibway Park 

Not much to report as of late. Probably my best birding high-lite has been a third Scarlet Tanager sighting in my back yard within the span of a week. This one above was seen last Thursday before work.  I did go out to Pelee with my son this last weekend but it wasn't particularly exciting. I did see another Grey Hairstreak though!
3 backyard Scarlet Tanagers - in one week?

I attempted to re-find the Fringed Gentian that I saw last year at this time at Ojibway but ... it wasn't to be found. I remembered that these flowers are bi-annuals - they have a two year life cycle. They aren't perennials! So I walked around the Spring-garden area to find some really nice prairie habitat that I had not discovered before and wow - some amazing plants. Closed Gentian, Fringed Gentian, Nodding Ladies Tresses Orchid, Riddel's Goldenrod, Prairie Rattlesnake Root all well seen. But even beyond the "rarities" --- the Goldenrod and New England Asters create an ocean of colour - Purple - Yellow - White  .... Its just breathtaking! The fall explosion of colour makes the end of summer just a little more bearable to the naturalist!

Bottle Gentian

Nodding Ladies Tresses

Here are two more botany connections to end off this posting:

I was cutting out some weeds from my "garden" which didn't get planted this summer when I came upon this weed/flower. It was so different ---- I couldn't bring myself to chop it out of my garden with my sickle - the flowers were too beautiful --- too mesmerizing! So later I was flipping through the botany field guide that reader Irene gave me to realize --- this plant is called Jimsonweed! I did a google search to learn more and found the following passage from Wikipedia: "All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics. The risk of fatal overdose is high among uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur amongst recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects."(Wikipedia)   WHHOOAO... A who says botany is boring?

OK... ONE LAST BOTANY note for this posting!

I had made a collage of summer wildflowers from Ojibway many years ago - in 2010 if you could believe, and I was looking at that collage recently and noticed this yellow - flowered plant. And I thought -- what is this? So Pat's blog last week mentioned seeing a non-flowering plant - Whorled Loosestrife -- and I followed up a google image search just to see what it generally looks like while flowering and sure enough - my mystery plant was finally identified --- if only 6 years after taking the photo!

Good birding and botanizing!

PS: I happened to find this video (just 1.5 mins) with Seth Godin (entrepreneur, author) discussing how great it is to be a blogger. Blogging gets you into a conversation and creates meta-cognitive experiences that boosts learning. Check it out...


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