Monday, 13 May 2013

Cherry Blossoms and Spring Migration

I've been out birding over the last little while and it's been great.  Here are some photos from the last little while.  Most of these are from Point Pelee and Rondeau.  Both are exceptional places for seeing birds during spring migration. I went with a friend and we managed to dig up 142 species of bird over the weekend. The rest of these photos are from High Park in Toronto when the cherry trees were blooming.

A real highlight at High Park was this coyote.  This is the first I've seen in Ontario (although they are apparently all over the city). I saw my second this past weekend by the highway.

And another common city dweller:

A trip to the Blenheim Sewage Lagoons turned up quite a few shorebirds including this exceptionally cooperative Least Sandpiper.

Here are a few forest birds from Rondeau and Point Pelee starting with a Downy Woodpecker.

An outstanding Summer Tanager.

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak and American Goldfinches at the Rondeau Visitor Centre feeders:

A Willow or Alder Flycatcher (I think). No singing makes it awfully difficult (impossible) to tell.

There are so many Yellow Warblers that they become almost boring but they really are striking birds.

A very well-concealed Eastern Whip-poor-will.

An obliging and incredible looking Magnolia Warbler.

Wilson's Warbler.

Black and White Warbler

Northern Waterthrush

Red-headed Woodpecker. What an incredible bird!

Pelee is just as good for the people watching too.

A Yellow-throated Vireo.

Blackburnian Warbler. One of my favourites in, unfortunately, terrible light.

Chestnut-sided Warbler (in more horrible light).

Warbling Vireo

And, finally for now, an Ovenbird.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Winter Owls!

A trip to Ottawa over the Family Day weekend netted me three Great Gray Owls.  This is the first time I've seen this species.  What a fantastic bird!  

To be upfront, there were some photographers who were baiting this particular owl with live mice.  It's not something I'm keen on as I think it does take something away from the experience but I guess I didn't refuse to take any photos in protest. 

And this is the third of the trio (number two only appeared briefly before it was seen off by the first bird).

Ottawa was really great.  Cold as anything but it was great fun snowshoeing in Gatineau.  We had beautiful weather.  The following weekend, I went out to the Leslie Street Spit with a friend and, after a brief look at a very skittish Great Horned Owl, we managed to dig up a Long-Eared Owl.  On our first pass, it flushed and I could only get a shot through several branches (but I like it nonetheless despite clipping off its tail).

We revisited it on our return trip and it was really cooperative.

The sun even made a brief appearance obligingly sending some dappled light across the owl's face.

 Lots of portraits, I know.

And finally, my favourite, I think.

I really like winter birding.  It's often quiet but the owls make up for it (plus, being in a forest in the winter is just great on its own).

Friday, 4 January 2013

A New Blog Post! (Long Overdue)

Given the number of times I've posted, I'm not sure this even counts as a blog.  But here are some new pictures.  I didn't take a lot of pictures in the second half of this year with the exception of a three-week trip to the Maritimes.  Unfortunately, I dropped my laptop shortly after that trip (before backing up photos) and lost photos from the second half of the trip.  So a few of these photos are from the first half of that trip and the rest are from the fall and winter of 2012.

This is from Digby Neck, or maybe one of the islands at the end.  We stayed in a cottage near Digby for a week.  We went whale watching in the Bay of Fundy twice in zodiacs. We were very lucky with the weather both times.

I was super happy to see puffins out there. Lots of birds around feeding.  Greater and Sooty Shearwaters (one Manx too), Wilson and Leach's Storm Petrels, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes.  Also, Razorbill and Black Guillemot in small numbers.

And there were lots of humpback whales.

This young one was exceptionally curious.  It actually swam upside down under us and rubbed its belly on the zodiac.

After the first week, we encountered a lot of fog.  It made for some very moody photos of Grand Manan Island. It would have been nice to see the sun (or more than a few metres in front of us) a little more frequently but was still great. I've become a big fan of the eastern provinces.

Then we headed into New Brunswick proper and visited the Flowerpot Rocks.

The tide is really something.

After this point I lost most of my photos. Luckily I had a small point and shoot camera too and kept the images separately.  Here is our campsite at Meat Cove (the northernmost tip of Nova Scotia).  Not a bad view out the tent.

The next couple of shots are from Thanksgiving in Algonquin.  Cooperative Grey Jays and Blue Jays.

And then a very cooperative Barred Owl in Whitby.

And finally, some shots from Kingston and Algonquin again.  The Blue Jays are through glass. The Pine Marten is visiting the feeders at the Algonquin visitor centre.

Cheers and Happy New Year to all!