Feathers (all blog posts)

August 22, 2016
Yesterday may have been the last day of the Olympic Games in Rio but a Common Ringed Plover (CRPL), the first documented record for Ontario, at Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto, Ontario stole the show, in my opinion, with its gold medal performance in front of an excited and delighted crowd of birders.
July 21, 2016
On July 13 a group of five Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks (BBWDs) arrived in the Hamilton area. Initially found by Eric Holden, this is the first time that this species has been seen in the Hamilton Study Area.
June 28, 2016
Having never seen a Razorbill before I really looked forward with anticipation to visiting both Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve and Witless Bay Ecological Reserve in Newfoundland. Razorbills nest at both of these colonies and my first stop was Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve. Early one morning as I approached Cape St. Mary's along the southwest portion of the Avalon Peninsula a thick fog surrounded my SUV.
June 22, 2016
At the southwest tip of the Avalon Peninsula lies Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve, one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most spectacular seabird colonies. About 12,000 Northern Gannet nesting pairs, 10,000 Common Murre nesting pairs, 1,000+ Thick-billed Murre nesting pairs, 10,000+ Black-legged Kittiwake nesting pairs, 150+ Razorbill nesting pairs and 60+ Black Guillemot nesting pairs are found on “Bird Rock” and the adjacent cliffs. In addition, Cormorants are common visitors/breeders. It is the largest accessible gannet colony in Newfoundland...
June 20, 2016
During late May and early June I visited four nesting colonies in Newfoundland.  Three of the colonies, Cape St. Mary's, Elliston and Witless Bay Ecological Reserve provided great photo opportunities, while the fourth, Cape St. George, has potential but would have required more time and a several hour trek to get within acceptable photographic reach of the birds. Although I didn't have the time to do it full justice, I hope to return one day to Cape St. George and give it another go.
May 23, 2016

In my previous blog post about my May trip to Rondeau PP, Point Pelee NP and Magee Marsh, I highlighted warblers. In this post, I am focussing on a selection of my non warbler photos. The photos shown here, in addition to several other photos I've uploaded to my Photo Galleries are listed at the end of this blog. If you manage to make it through this long post (in terms of number of images), then feel free to browse the corresponding photo galleries for additional photos I made on this trip.


May 22, 2016

May is a great month of the year, if you are a birder or bird photographer in Ontario or the northern USA. it is the time of year when warblers and many other bird species are migrating north to their breeding grounds. Recently I visited three areas that are hot spots for warblers during spring migration: Rondeau PP, Ontario, Point Pelee NP, Ontario, and Magee Marsh, Ohio. In fact Magee Marsh celebrates this time of year with The Biggest Week in American Birding festival, which was held from May 6 - 15 this year.

May 20, 2016

On the morning of May 12, I headed out in search of a life bird for me, Henslow’s Sparrow, at Grimm Prairie (Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge) in Oak Harbor, Ohio. This restored prairie provides excellent habitat for this and other bird species, such as Grasshopper Sparrow. I walked along one of the hiking trails and about 20 minutes later I could hear the distinctive song. According to Chris Earley’s book Sparrows & Finches of Ontario, Roger Tory Peterson described the Henslow’s Sparrow’s song as “one of the poorest vocal efforts of any bird, a hiccoughing ’tis-lick’”.

May 19, 2016

Located between Whitehouse and Swanton, Ohio, Oak Openings Preserve takes its name from the surrounding region, which is 23 times larger than the park itself. Most of the park is an oak savanna ecosystem, characterized by alternating wetlands and vegetated dunes. Oak Openings is a great place to check out for birders. It is the nesting place of bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Whip-poor-wills, Lark Sparrows and many other species. I’ve spotted Summer Tanagers and many Red-headed Woodpeckers in this area during my visits.

The Curlew Sandpiper, a Eurasian species, is a rare migrant along the Atlantic coast and a casual species elsewhere in North America according to eBird and the ABA (American Birding Association) coding for the ABA Checklist Area. For those unfamiliar with these terms, the ABA defines a rare species as one that occurs in very low numbers, but annually in the ABA Checklist Area. Casual species are not recorded annually in the ABA Checklist Area, but with six or more total records - including three or more in the past 30 years - reflecting some pattern of occurrence.