bird photography

Non Wood Warblers - May 2016 at Rondeau PP, ON, Point Pelee PP, ON and Magee Marsh, OH

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.


Wood Warblers - May 2016 at Rondeau PP, ON, Point Pelee PP, ON and Magee Marsh, OH

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.

Henslow's Sparrow - A Great Way to Start the Day

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’”.

Lark Sparrows on Breeding Territory

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.

Curlew Sandpiper - A Rare Visitor

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.

Mealy Parrots - La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica

 My final destination on my January trip to Costa Rica was La Selva Biological Station in Sarapiqui, Costa Rica. It proved to be one of my favourite places to visit due to the diversity of bird species found there and some pretty good photographic opportunities, which was the case with Mealy Parrots, which are highlighted in this post. Mealy Parrots are one of the largest Amazon Parrot species.

Harlequin Duck in Calm Water

Last weekend I returned to Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, Ontario along Lake Ontario in an effort to locate a HADU that had been seen in the marina area. Sure enough upon arrival on the scene, a beautiful adult male HADU was swimming quite close to shore in the marina.  Every winter and early spring I look forward to photographing this species somewhere along Lake Ontario. HADUs, which are an attractive sea duck are seen occasionally in this part of the country and you can usually count on the odd one or pair hanging around for part of the winter.

Pine Siskin Among Shrubs

While birding the Long Point area this past weekend, our small group came across several Pine Siskins (PISIs) hanging around a feeder and some nearby thickets. It took a while, but with some patience a few of the birds came out into the open and perched on some thin branches where I was able to capture some images with a blurred background. Of all the images I made, the photo above provided the cleanest background, in my opinion.

Sandhill Cranes on Stage

On Saturday I visited the Long Point, Ontario area located on the north shore of Lake Erie. We came across hundreds of Tundra Swans flying over nearby fields, many of them landing to feed in the area. A combination of fog, cloudy skies and distance hampered any attempt to capture strong images of the Tundra Swans. Early in the afternoon we came across two adult Bald Eagles sitting on a nest. Although the skies had cleared up somewhat by then, distance to subject meant that I had to be satisfied with excellent looks through my spotting scope while my camera gear took a rest.