Migration

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.

Yoga Pose – Cave Swallows

For the past week or so a few Cave Swallows have been seen in the Oakville, Ontario area. My first observation of this species occurred on November 14. At the time, sunset was minutes away and lighting conditions were extremely poor. I managed to snap a handful of photos but the quality was poor both in terms of sharpness (or lack thereof) and high noise levels.

American Kestrel – A Signature Move

American Kestrel migration is heaviest in the afternoon, as it is for most falcons. During this period it is quite common for kestrels to halt their migration and hunt. If you examining a small, distant, low-flying falcon, and it suddenly pulls up and hovers, it is clearly an American Kestrel (Dunne, Sibley and Sutton 2012). This situation pretty well describes what happened before me at Hawk Cliff, Ontario this past weekend.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper – A Shorebird With a Gentle Expression

As I mentioned in my previous post about the Western Sandpiper, I was fortunate on the same morning (September 6) to also come across my best looks by far of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. The scaly backed buff-coloured plumage was striking and with the very close views I obtained of this seemingly gentle and tame shorebird, there was no confusing it with any other shorebird species. 

Olive-sided Flycatcher Perched on Dead Snag

On August 27 at Paletta Lakefront Park in Burlington, Ontario I spotted and photographed an Olive-sided Flycatcher; a “lifer” for me. This uncommon large-headed flycatcher often perches on dead snags at the tops of trees and that was exactly the situation here. In the photo below, I cropped it and did some minor cloning to remove a couple of distracting twigs. Additionally I used an 80A photo filter in Photoshop to enhance the blue sky in the background (but using a mask so as not to apply the filter to the bird or branches).

Chestnut-side Warbler – Fall Migration

On August 27 at Paletta Lakefront Park in Burlington, Ontario there was a mini influx of migrating fall warblers, flycatchers and vireos. Capturing these birds digitally can be tricky and frustrating at times as leaf coverage is a significant barrier whereas in the spring before the leaves have filled in it is often much easier (relatively speaking) to locate and photograph these songbirds.

Canada Warbler – Magee Marsh, Ohio

Canada Warbler is one of my favourite warblers to view and photograph. The combination of blue-gray upperparts and yellow underparts combined with a bold necklace in males makes for a very attractive warbler. This past May at Magee Marsh in Ohio during The Biggest Week in American Birding I got a few opportunities to improve on my Canada Warbler library of photos, a few of which I’ve included here.

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