Monday, 6 January 2014

County Big Year Sum-up

It has once again been a while since my last post, not a lot of additions, didn't get out all that much toward the year end. My big year ended with a total of 260 different species. Mind you, two of those species remain unidentified; Western/Cassin's Kingbird, and Red/(necked-) Phalarope. My last post was back in the end of October, and I sat at 258, so here are my two last year birds: Golden Eagle, (5 total birds within about a month, 4 of which on the same day), and I finally!!! got the Northern Saw-whet Owl at Perch Creek to end the list off. I did have a few other good birds to end the year off, I'm not going to list them all, that would take a very long time to type out, and I'm sure you'd be bored by the end! Haha, but I will post some pics I've taken since the last post.


Apparently this RTHA can't read the sign.

First "pair" of imma. Golden Eagles of that day.

One of the second two seen.

Bigger then a HERG, suspected GLGU x GBBG Hybrid

same bird

Very interesting wing-tips on this gull, very pale (suggestive of GLGU background)

Can you find the interesting goose?

It's got its head up now!

Now yawning! Greater White-fronted Goose!

Didn't notice this goose in field, debating with myself about whether a "lesser" Canada goose, or cackling. My vote on Lesser CANG.

The centre Horned Lark is of the "Hoyt's" subspecies!! Had it confirmed by Ron Pittaway and Jean Iron.

This flock actually had all 3 subspecies recorded in ON of Horned Lark.

Very surprised first time I saw it because the amount of Longspurs in it! Unfortunately all appeared to be Lapland.

Dark Roughie

SNOW on Forest Rd
same bird

I do believe it is a HY male

Same day as previous SNOW, but 30km SSW

I think this is my first wild Long-eared Owl shot!
Eastern Towhee on the Wallaceburg CBC

Short-eared Owl Wallaceburg CBC

Believe it or not, this is 2 of 3 Short-eared Owls at the solar farms on Blackwell

"Intermediate" morph Rough-leg. One was at this same location all winter last year.
Same bird

Same bird

Adult Iceland Gull at Point Edward Lighthouse

Nice new-year treat at my feeders! There from 1st till at least 3rd. Chipping Sparrow and what I believe to be a "Oregon" Dark-eyed Junco. Anybody disagree?

So for the next while, I am not in Lambton County. On Saturday morning, the 4th, I left for College. So I am now in Lindsay ON, studying at Sir Stanford Fleming College, taking Fish and wildlife. I will be blogging when I get time/material to blog about, but my birding is limited as I have no vehicle. Thanks for everyone's support during my big year! And happy new year to everyone reading!

Good Birding!! And Good Luck!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

A King-Bird, but not a Flycatcher...

Yes you read right, a King of a bird, but not a Kingbird.....And it wasn't a Penguin either..(haha get it?? King Penguin? How odd would that be!!)

On the 28th of Oct, a female King Eider was reported by one Tom Hince from Port Huron, and was seen a little later off the Ontarian(?) side as well. Unfortunately I didn't see the posting about it till I got home from work that day (nearly sunset), buuutt, figured I had a chance to get it the next day, and I was right! The next day (29th), my dad and I were able to go looking for it because we needed to go to Sarnia anyways! So we got there shortly after 5:00, spent some time going through the (annoyingly) distant scoters in search of the bird.. after a good 10min of scanning, I picked out a brownish bird with a dark bill and a fairly tall forehead.. Got it! King Eider  (#257)! Yes #257 for my Lambton Big Year! Where did the other 6 birds since the last post come from? Well I will tel the next few paragraphs.
After finding the Eider (which was a LIFER by the way), I spent a good time doing one of 2 things... 1 taking crappy phone-through scope pics of the bird (ended up taking 200+ pics.. only 3 are ID'able'ish) and 2 sorting through Bonaparte's Gulls on the other side of the bay/river, which is where I got my second new bird of the day, Little Gull (#258). There were at least 2 individuals over there.

So the first new bird I got after #250 was #251..(no really!) This bird was seen briefly in flight in Pinery PP. And the identity of the bird wassssss.....wait for it.....a Ruffed Grouse.. Yeah I bet you guys were expecting something a little more exciting then that.. But still new for year none the less! Second bird was at Forest Sewage Lagoons, one bird that I have spent much time looking for at lagoons this fall, a Long-billed Dowitcher (#252) which occured on the 20th of Oct by the way. As well as my next new bird, located at the no long flooded Modland Rd Rain "puddle". Which this day had over a thousand geese! Most were Canadian, but a quick search with bins showed up I believe it was 4 Snow Geese, and a single Ross's Goose (#253). I did not spend the time searching for anything like Cackling Geese, frankly because the sun was going down and I was kinda lazy..
The next three occured during the OFO trip lead by Maris Apse.
On this trip, we started out at Grand Bend beach doing a lake watch.. There must have been at least 50 loons seen from there! Can you guess what 254 is based on that?
Well I think most of you have guessed....WRONG. #254 was a Black Scoter.. Which in all honesty I thought I had this year until I wrote up my eBird Checklist.. #255 was I'm presuming you guessed before.. Red-throated Loon. I was able to pick out at least 2 there over the water, but I'm guessing some flew over un-ID'd by myself. Also at this location were 3 Eagles, most only saw 2, 2 Peregrines, and a Merlin was seen by only 3 of us. Scoter wise, 12 White-winged, 15+ Black, and one Surf flew by soon after I got myself set-up.
Next stop for the trip was Grand Bend Sewage Lagoons. A Sewage lagoon a really dislike, not because how bad it is or anything like that, but because it is about 200m outside Lambton County.. Which means anything I see there can't count for my county list.. The first two cell's at this location were fairly barren, though a small group of Greater Scaup flew from the first cell when we got there. The third cell was quite good for ducks. Shortly into my scan, I spotted a Grebe.. and said to myself "that looks totally Eared!" After quite a bit of research by all of us it turned out to be an Eared Grebe! Also notable at the lagoons a Tree Swallow, a Northern Shrike (first of fall), and a rather curious Red-necked Grebe which came from the opposite side of the lagoon to within 20-30ft of shore for superb looks. That day we also went to Pinery PP and Kettle Point.. Nothing much of note at the Pinery, just the resident titmice and a common merganser. At Kettle Point many of us, excluding me, got their first Snow buntings of fall, also there were a few scoters, Greater Blackbacked Gulls, at least 2 distant Horned Grebes sitting on the water, and I managed a look at a single flying Red-necked Grebe (#256)

King Eider second from left

Red-necked Grebe through scope
That's all for now!
Good Birding!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

New Post, but Old New Birds

So it's been about 2months since I last posted.. I think its time for an update.

So I read in my last post that my last new bird was a Baird's Sandpiper, sitting at #241.. Well here are my most recent since then:

#242 - Stilt Sandpiper - Watford Sewage Lagoons - Aug19

#243 - Western Sandpiper - Watford Sewage Lagoons - Aug19 (LIFER)

#244 - Whimbrel - Kettle Point - Aug24 (County Lifer)

#245 - Long-tailed Jaeger - Sept03 (LIFER) (Adult to boot)

#246 - Red/" "-necked Phalarope    

#247 - Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Confederation Line - Sept13 (LIFER)

#248 - Connecticut Warbler - Forest Sewage Lagoons - Sept18

#249 - Northern Mockingbird - Alvinston - Sept21

#250 - Sabine's Gull - Kettle Point - Sept28

Some very exciting birds for me! 3 Lifers! A County Lifer! Some Awesome birding.

Some other Awesome birding I've done lately is down at Michelle's Bay.. Those of you reading Blake's blog probably already know about that though. I managed to get fairly good looks at both exciting birds this past friday! #1 was the Snowy Egret, which was an ABA Lifer, I have seen them in Costa Rica a few years ago, and #2 my life LIFER Marbled Godwit! We got to the site just in time as if we arrived 10min later it would have been gone because a boat scared it up!

Snowy Egret from my 2009 non-birding trip to Costa Rica
And as for my most recent trip to Forest Sewage Lagoons earlier, for the first time this year there was decent shorebird habitat, here is my eBird Checklist:
Forest Sewage Lagoons eBird Checklist

Quite a good count if you ask me! All 3 Large peeps, Pec, Bairds, and White-rumped sandpipers.. A couple Stilt Sandpipers and almost  every dabbling duck around! Incl an extreme high Green-winged Teal count for this location. Also notable was a Singing Vesper Sparrow, and 3 Rusty Blackbirds..
Unfortunately though no Long-billed Dowitchers to be found...Yet!

I'm hopping to get back into posting more often for the rest of the year also..
I'll end with another photo:

Blue-headed Vireo from one year ago at LPBO

Good Birding!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Whats been going on lately

So lately, and for majority of this summer, I haven't been doing as much birding as I should/could have, unfortunately. But I have been trying to get into dragons and butter flys when I can, which again isn't a lot. But I have realized, I don't even know where my dragonfly book is! It's hard to ID them without a book! So, I have some pictures of some for people to help me out with at the end of this post. Until then, I will write a little on what birding I have been doing lately.

In the past few weeks, I have hit 3 different lagoons, sometimes better then others. First I will talk about my least visited lagoon, Bright's Grove lagoon. Before this year, I had only been to this lagoon once, and so far I've gone twice this year, both times the sprikler cell was running! Anyways, first time I went, the only vaguely interesting bird I found was a single Solitary Sandpiper in the sprinkler cell. Second time I went there was a little more, 2 Solitary, and 2 Least Sandpipers, as well as the most interesting, 2 Blue-winged Teal.

Second lagoon I will talk about is Forest Sewage Lagoons. This along with the 3rd lagoon is my most visited lagoon, and I've had a decent number of fairly good birds there in the past; White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, multiple Stilt Sandpiper's. Though the last few times I've been haven't had much to see, first time I had 42 Semipalmated, 3 Least, and 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, plus about 1000 swallows total. Second time wasn't as good though, only 1 Least Sandpiper of minor note. Though in the spring I did get my first Short-billed Dowitcher of the year there.

Lastly, my other most visited lagoon, Watford Lagoons. I have only been there once lately, but it was a fairly good one. I actually biked there from my house (13km) with my scope and everything with me. And on the bike ride I found a nesting colony of Purple Martin just a km away from my house, no wonder I've been hearing them flying around alla time! And also a Vesper Sparrow on the bike as well. At the lagoons I found a total of 45sp. of bird. Of note; 1 Pide-billed Grebe, 1 Sora, 7! Semipalmated Plover, 17 Spotted, 2 Solitary Sandpipers, 3 Greater Yellowlegs, 16 Semipalmated, 19 Least, 1 Baird's (#241), and 9 Pectoral Sandpipers. Another year bird! Baird's Sandpiper! Also of note was my first Tufted Titmouse for a lagoon!
And I forgot to mention the birds I have seen there in past years; Am. Golden-Plover, Hudsonian Godwit (stayed for about a week in October2011), Ruddy Turnstone?, Red Knot (same time as godwit), Sanderling?, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, many Wilson's Phalarope, and a surprising Red Phalarope one Sept! The lagoons also have Sora nesting, some years Virginia Rail, and often Hooded Mergansers nest as well. In total I have seen 134sp of bird at these lagoons to date.

Also recently I've been to Dow Wetlands, Canatara, and Wawanosh Wetlands. Of note at Dow was the local Upland Sandpiper, and 2 Orchard Orioles, at Canatara of note there was Blue-winged Teal, Great Egret, Semipalmated Plover, Sanderling (#239), American Redstart, and Blackburnian Warbler (#240...Finally!!). Got to Wawanosh just before dusk, and of note was 9 Great-blue Herons, 1 Great Egret, 5 Black-crowned Night-Herons, and a Clay-coloured Sparrow.

Now some pictures:




Dragon#4 (sorry for crappy pic)

Skipper sp. (I'm not that good with Skippers)
I'm not 100% sure on this, but my best guess is Mustard White, unless I'm completely off which I easily could be.

Until next time, good birding!!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Breeding Birdz part2 - Walpole Island

Yesterday my dad and I finally got the chance to make our way down to Walpole Island looking for some of its breeding birds, and I must say we did have some success.
We got to the island around 7am, and there were still a number of birds calling. While making our way down to the Goose Lake marshes on the south end of the island, we had the windows down and were listening, and at one point was able to pick out a calling Sedge Wren (#232) amongst the many Marsh Wrens and Common Yellowthroats singing. It sounded slightly far off to look for so we didn't try to find it, I still have never seen the species in my life! Once we got down to the lake, I got out of the car, and got attacked by about 150 Deer Fly's... a 'slight' annoyance... But I managed to bare them for a good time period before leaving. While I was down there I managed to add another number of species. First off, Black Terns (#233), I ended up seeing 5 from Walpole, but many more later in the day. Next bird for the year was Least Bittern (#234), one distant individual calling its distinct call.. Surprisingly, this is the first I have ever even heard! And I have never seen a wild one either, but an injured one came into the Bluewater Center for Raptor Rehabilitation (where I volunteer) earlier this year so I saw that one. That was actually in April! Earliest LEBI I've ever known about! Next up was my first Virginia Rail (#235) of the year, which also ended up being the first one I have gotten a picture of! Not a very good pic, but it is ID'able! And lastly for the marsh was a distant pair of Common Gallinules (#236) (used to be know as Com. Moorhen). I ended up with one more species for the island, a singing Yellow-breasted Chat! (#237). Most definitely the most unsuspected species found!
Other notables from the island are as follows:
   -two Redheads
   -two Ring-necked Pheasant
   -four Pied-billed Grebe
   -two American Bittern
   -two Black-crowned Night-Heron
   -two Sandhill Cranes
   -and a singing White-throated Sparrow

My first 2 Virginia Rail pics
For you bander's out there, yes I know its not a 'proper' grip.
Me holding Least Bittern

After we had finished at Walpole, we headed across the ferry into the states, and toured around Harsen's Island. It is a very nice island with lots of good marsh habitat. We managed another number of notable species:
   -six Great Egret
   -35 Black Terns
   -another Sedge Wren
   -and a calling Brewer's Blackbird!
The blackbird was very interesting and unexpected.

Showing left-right, Juvi Black Tern infront of Ringer, Adult B.Tern in breeding plumage, Forester's Tern x2, Adult B.Tern molting into non-breeding plumage.
Adult Black Tern starting to molt
Great-blue Heron, someone should probably tell'm he won't fit in that box hole!

eBird Checklist of the day:
Walpole Island eBird Checklist
Harsen's Island eBird Checklist

Good Birding!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Now Some Breeding Birdz!

Yesterday I managed to head down to the County Line Woods looking for some of the rarer breeding birds. My list from the drive only the road the forest is on, I think was quite impressive if I do say so myself. I was driving about 10-30km/hr for the whole road on my way to the forest, my first birds of interest was a single American Golden-Plover (getting kinda late isn't it?) in a flooded field all by itself...or so I thought, but after a few seconds a Ruddy Turnstone popped out behind the ridge...then another...and two more! That was a nice sight! As soon as I got to the actual forest I got very excited, I'd never been there before and could tell it was a very nice chunk of Carolinian Forest. Among the first birds I heard when I had gotten to the edge (while in the car still), Ovenbird and Veery. Gotta love the carolinian zone! Soon enough, after driving around the whole forest, I had gotten, from my car, two very good birds, both year birds, both species at risk. A Cerulean Warbler (#224) singing up in the tree-tops, and TWO singing Hooded Warblers (#225). And lucky for me, they were both on the Lambton side of the road! I even got a recording of one of the Hooded's singing.
Soon enough I was off into the forest, and 3 more year birds, Orange-crowned Warbler (#226), Alder Flycatcher (#228), and in between those two....a White-eyed Vireo! (#227)! I had heard it singing, reconized the call but couldn't put a name on it. After a little while of searching through the leaves, I managed to get a good enough look at it for an ID.
Other notables from the walk incl:
-Broad-winged Hawk
-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
-Yellow-throated Vireo
-Mourning Warbler
-Blue-winged Warbler
Also when I got back into the car and started driving away, I had Another Hooded Warbler, but this time calling from the Middlesex side of the road...New Middlesex bird as well!

But I was not done with year birds for the day! On the drive, I visited and stopped at a few places that looked promising. And at one of these locations, I got one more Good Year bird. a Golden-winged Warbler (#229). I heard it call twice in the distance doing its classic "Bee Bz-Bz-Bz" call.
So the last day of May, provides SIX new year birds.. 4 of which are rare breeders in ON, and two of them are Species at Risk.

This was a very good day.

Good Birding!

Monday, 20 May 2013

LIFER Among More Year Birdz

First thing this-morning, my dad and I went to Marthaville Wildlife Management Area for our first of 2-3 Marsh Monitoring days. I was surprised to hear a Blue-winged Warbler singing shortly after we arrived, though I suppose I shouldn't have been, the habitat isn't that strange for them. Also strange was a Green Heron sitting on a wire just outside the park. Anyways here is the checklist of the whole time we were there:
Marthaville eBird Checklist

If you looked at the checklist, I bet you noticed that Acadian Flycatcher was on it. There was one there! Very strange habitat for one though. I remember seeing a checklist last year from I think it was Eric Marcum there that had one as well, and I remember being very confused about it, just like I am now. anyways, Acadian Flycatcher (#211). Also got Marsh Wren there which I was sure I had somewhere else, but apparently not because it is apparently #212 for my eBird list.

When we got backhome, we decided to go to Kettle Point area. Got a few more year birds up there, first off was the Black-bellied Plovers(11) (#213) that my dad picked out while I was scanning a small group of Dunlin. Little did we know, there were another 9 of the plovers around the point, a group of 7 and a pair. But when scanning the distant group of 7, I came across the more slender, smaller-headed molting American Golden-Plover (#214).
As walking further along, I stopped in my tracks as I saw a small shorebird running along the rocks it blended into 20ft in front of us. Pulled up and bins and saw, my LIFER, Piping Plover!! Likely same bird reported by Maris Apse the day previous, and an extremely exciting bird! Piping Plover, (yr#215), (countylife#261), (life#365). Came close for pics too!
We also got a few Caspian Terns (#216) flying around calling before we got back to the car.
Kettle Point eBird Checklist

Last year bird of the day was back in or forest this afternoon. One female type Canada Warbler (#217) foraging near the ground. Also got another new yard bird while driving back over our creek. Common Loon (yard#183).

New Yardbird Common Loon
Lastly, a question for any of you, should I be writing an OBRC report on my Cassin's/Western Kingbird last week or not? I'm not really sure if it is necessary.

And also, I would like to thank Maris Apse fro reporting the Plover yesterday, otherwise I probably wouldn't have gotten it.

Good Birding!