Upland Sandpiper is a common breeder in central portions of its range, but it is uncommon to scarce and declining in much of the east and northeast, where they tend to be very local. I’ve had very few sightings of this sandpiper species and even less to show in photographs; however, my luck changed for the better on June 4. A few days earlier on an OFO (Ontario Field Ornithologists) field trip to Carden Alvar, I did see one in the tall grass near a herd of horses grazing in a meadow, but it was far in the distance.
When everything falls into place for bird photography, which doesn’t happen nearly often enough for me, I attempt to take full advantage of the situation. Today’s photos captured on June 10 highlight Willow Flycatchers. The morning sunlight was great and this Willow Flycatcher (see photos below) posed for many photos before moving on to even better locations, which provided either a better background, improved direction of light or both.
While looking across fields near the US (New York state)-Canadian border near Elgin, Quebec, I came across a few Eastern Meadowlarks. One in particular caught my attention as it sat on a wire with some type of bug in its bill. After grabbing a few photos, this bird flew back into the field and landed at what appeared to be its nesting area. It still had the bug in its bill so I assumed it was bringing back food to its nest.
Brewster’s Warbler is a cross between Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers, which hybridize freely (Lawrence's Warbler is also a hybrid, typically a Golden-winged x Brewster's hybrid according to The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle). This is primarily the result of overlapping habitats.
Photographing life birds is always exciting. Upon returning home and editing my photos after one of these outings, I enjoy doing a little research, referencing field guidebooks and studying the key field ID marks, which helps to ingrain the key characteristics of a species in my mind for future reference.
Ruddy Turnstone is accounted among the world’s northernmost breeding species; in North America it breeds on the north and west coasts of Alaska, the artic islands north of the Canadian mainland, and the north coast of Greenland. It is found on every continent except Antartica.
If only all target species on my outings were this easy to photograph, bird photography would be a breeze. Upon arriving at the known breeding location of this Dickcissel, I barely had time to stop my SUV when my friends and I spotted a male Dickcissel flying past the passenger window about eye level. It perched on a nearby Mullein stalk and promptly started singing its heart out for several minutes. The direction of the early morning light was absolutely perfect and I had ample time to capture several good images.
Louisiana Waterthrush lives along freshwater rivers and streams in deciduous woodlands during the summer. On nesting territory it can sometimes be seen and heard singing from perches and the ground. The bird pictured in the photos below is probably on breeding territory. A freshwater stream was nearby.
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.