Feathers (all blog posts)

The Vesper Sparrow is uncommon and local across most of the East. I’ve only seen this species a couple of times, most recently in Quebec. As I reviewed my photos upon returning from my recent Quebec trip for possible inclusion in one of my photo galleries or a blog post, I realized that I had not edited some Vesper Sparrow photos from Carden Alvar Provincial Park, Ontario from last summer.

More often than not, one is more likely to hear a White-eyed Vireo than see one. However, during spring migration at Long Point yesterday, the reverse was true when my friend, Andrew, and I stumbled upon a White-eyed Vireo at Old Cut Banding Station in Long Point, Ontario. Neither of us heard it, but Andrew caught a glimpse of something moving in the brush that made him think it might be a White-eyed Vireo. A quite search began and it wasn’t long before we gleaned some fleeting looks.

Over the past 18 months or so, whenever I visit family in the Montreal area, I try to arrange a bird outing with my friend and expert birder, Mark Dennis. Recently, we got together once more for what may have been our last bird outing together in Quebec as Mark and his wife, Sandra, have sold their home and bought a new home in Nova Scotia. Mark is not only a great birder, but he is a friendly chap with a good sense of humour and has taught me a lot about birding.

Yesterday, while driving home from Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec following a brief family visit, I stopped at an OnRoute rest area to grab some lunch and check my email. I was surprised to read a report on Ontbirds that a Glossy Ibis was spotted at Sobeys Pond in Whitby, Ontario. Although several hours away from where I was at the time, it was essentially on my way home so I checked out the ponds during late afternoon and sure enough the Glossy Ibis was still present and providing nice views.

Around the last weekend of April each year, several birders head out at dawn to Oshawa Second Marsh to view Little Gulls entering the marsh. I headed out there on Sunday, which proved fortuitous when, over a period of about two hours, a record tally for this site of 158 Little Gulls was observed and counted by those in attendance.

The Red-necked Grebe is a mid-sized grebe that I can enjoy observing and photographing at this time of year as it can be seen along several areas of Lake Ontario near my home. Many of the Red-necked Grebes have paired up and nest building appears well under way in some cases. In today’s post, I highlight a number of photos I made of one pair that didn’t seem to mind my presence as they swam back and forth slowly just offshore from where I was sitting on some rocks.

The elegant American Avocet is a common widespread western breeder found primarily in the prairies and the intermountain West in the U.S. and southeast B.C., southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba in Canada. It winters in the southern U.S. Yesterday I was fortunate to witness two-dozen American Avocets hanging out at Bronte Harbour in Oakville, Ontario. I checked eBird records for this area to see if this was a record.

Today’s blog post focuses on Sharp-shinned Hawks, which were well represented among the 600+ hawks that migrated past Beamer CA in Grimsby, Ontario the other day.  As described in yesterday’s post on Broad-winged Hawks, weather and lighting conditions were very good to excellent, especially considering the typical flight path of the day.

The environment was excellent on at least one day recently for viewing and photographing migrating raptors at Beamer CA Hawkwatch. Today's post focuses on the Broad-winged Hawk. Broad-winged Hawk numbers flying past the tower are currently near their peak. Good sunlight from over my shoulder for much of the flight proved a welcome bonus. Relatively strong winds seemed to limit good thermal conditions, which meant that the Broad-winged Hawk flight was pretty low thereby providing great views.

While hanging out at the Beamer CA Hawkwatch in Grimsby, Ontario yesterday on a sunny and warm spring day, a pair of Eastern Bluebirds flew into a tree close to the tower. I managed to get a few clicks of the pair before returning to photograph the hawks.  Eastern Bluebird is one of my favorite thrushes and I was pleased with the images I made, especially the portrait of the female Eastern Bluebird, which is included among the photos in today’s blog post.