Thursday, 13 September 2018

A Great (kiska)-day at Rondeau

Get it, kiska-day.......kiskadee. 😁   Not a great title, but my fellow bloggers have used up the best titles in reference to this incredible rarity that showed up at Rondeau Provincial Park.

I was amazed when I first heard about this unique flycatcher that had been reported on iNaturalist.  I was eager to see, it but couldn't get away immediately.  Fortunately it appears in no rush to move on and on Wednesday got my chance to take a day off to head to Rondeau.

I didn't get to the park early, but headed straight for the marsh trail.  It seemed to be a good day for Stratford area birders to migrate this way as well and I met up with various familiar faces from back home.  Among them were birding friends Eric and Liz Jeffery.  They are no strangers to Rondeau rarities and actually found a Townsend's Solitaire in the park last spring.

Everyone present had already seen the bird, but it had apparently moved out of sight some time before I arrived.  The Jefferys pointed out where the bird is normally seen and I decided to watch and wait.  A few other birders arrived and we all watched partway down the trail where the bird supposedly liked to spend the afternoon. 

After nothing there for a while, I wandered back to the start of the trail to the spot where it had been seen that morning.  At first there was nothing.  Then within minutes a bright flash flew in.  It was unmistakable.  I made a mad dash back down the trail to alert the other birders and we all managed brief views of the bird until a Merlin showed up and it dissapeared.

At this point I left for a while to walk various other trails, but by late afternoon returned for another look.  This time the bird was more coopeartive for me and although somewhat distant allowed for some photos and a nice view through the scope.

In between watching the Kiskadee, this Green Heron was entertaining to watch as it munched a frog.

I saw these Beech Blight Aphids or Boogie Woogie Aphids along the Tulip Tree trail.

Northern Leopard Frog relaxing on the trailside.

Meadowhawk species.  I have a long way to go with dragonflies.

And a hummingbird just because it posed so nicely.
It's been a great year for birds so far.  What's going to be next?

Sunday, 2 September 2018

A Multitude of Migrating Monarchs

It's migration time and not just for the birds.  I came across several large groups of migrating monarchs today.  It was really impressive to see so many at once. 

I raised a bunch this year and tagged and released them.  Also went out and tagged a bunch of wild monarchs. 

Birding isn't super productive here yet, but there has been a trickle of warblers coming through.  Highlight for me was close views of a gorgeous Golden-winged Warbler, not common for Perth county.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Exploring the north- plus a bonus Oliphant oddity

I just got back from a few days of exploring Manitoulin Island and area.  It was an enjoyable trip and was made even better thanks to some sharp-eyed Bruce birders.

The trip started with a lifer mammal on the way up the Bruce peninsula.  Hit on the side of the road is not how I would have liked to see a Fisher.

The time on the island was spent on the beautiful shoreline of Lake Mindemoya.

The place where we stayed is very considerate of smaller critters.

Any type of wild organism was of interest to me when out and about exploring.

My vacationing brain was quickly perked up when I decided to check in on my emails and found a list of ontbirds updates about a Reddish Egret that had been found near Olliphant on the Bruce peninsula.  I can rarely chase these exciting rarities unless they are somewhat close to home, but the location of this bird was hardly out of the way to look for on the way home.

After a brief detour and carefully scanning the reported area, there it was.

My photos don't do it justice,but this Ontario first was a great ending to the trip.

I visited a bit with others enjoying this rarity.  It was nice to see the Konzes again and meet Gavin McKinnon as well.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Happy to get a little blue

Little Blue Heron that is.

After unsuccessfully looking for the Wildwood reservoir bird last night, I returned tonight and within minutes was staring at a suspicious white bird off in the distance.  As it slowly moved closer there was little doubt what I was seeing.  Eventually it came up incredibly close and I had some gorgeous views through the scope.

It joined up with a Great Egret at one point, providing a great size comparison.
Several other birders stopped in and enjoyed the heron as well.  I enjoy opportunities like this to visit with like-minded nature enthusiasts.

Also of note, were numerous species of shorebirds.

And loads of Great Blue Herons.  Standing in one spot, I counted 25 individuals.
A great local bird and a new species for me.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Summer Odds and Ends

Where does time go?  We are into July already and fall migration is right around the corner.  I haven't posted much lately, but like my fellow nature enthusiasts I have been out enjoying the summer weather.
Wood Duck family
Juvenile Red-Winged Blackbird

Unidentified moth.
Common Ringlet

Spotted Sandpiper

Vesper Sparrow
Pine Siskins seem to be popping up over southern Ontario this summer and this one showed up at our feeders.

And of course one of my favorite resident species, the Bobolink.
Although the hay fields where the local Bobolinks nest are cut sooner than recommended (an unfortunate reality when making a living on a farm), we are fortunate to have a good deal of other suitable habitat in the form of pasture fields and scrubby untouched grassy habitat.  I was also pleased to note that one family and their almost fully grown brood moved into a scrubby patch near their field which had been cut.
I got a good look at this young Bobolink, but my camera was more interested in the grass in front.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Return to Rondeau

It was a gorgeous day to be out exploring and fortunately I had arranged time off today to explore Rondeau and area.  It's been a year since my last park visit and the park did not disappoint  that time.  I was hoping for the same results today.

Arriving in the park a bit before noon, first stop was the visitor centre and Tulip Tree Trail.  The main target was Prothonetary Warbler, a species that I've narrowly missed on past visits here.  It wasn't hard to figure out where to go as there was a crowd of birders intently scanning a patch of swamp.  The birds had been showing, but were not around when we arrived. Fortunately it wasn't long before we heard and then saw a couple individuals. 

They didn't seem at all concerned with all the birders and this guy spent some time foraging quite close to the boardwalk.

This was a promising start to the day and I hoped the trend would continue on the next stop at the marsh trail.  A Yellow-throated Vireo was the first bird encountered there.
Most likely because of our late arrival at the park, warbler variety wasn't as great as had been reported in the morning.  Yellow warblers seemed to ignore that trend and were one of the most numerous birds encountered.
A Sora was heard calling along the trail. 

I happened upon this struggle of life and death as this toad was preparing to meet its end.
A couple more trails were walked, but nothing unusual was found.  I wanted to head back to Tulip Tree Trail on last time before leaving the park.  This time, I was able to observe the Prothonotary Warblers again, but without such a big crowd.
I attempted a final drive down Lakeshore Road in search of the White-Winged Dove, but it did not show.  I did at least manage to see it last year so it wasn't a big loss.

After leaving the park, I checked into the nearby Keith McLean CA where American Avocets and Willets had been seen.  Both appeared to have moved on but just when preparing to leave, another birder pulled in to tell us that a Yellow-Headed Blackbird was being seen on the causeway outside the park.  This would be a lifer for me and fortunately within a couple minutes was watching this gorgeous bird sitting on a nest in the marsh.

It was a great day in Chatham-Kent.  Enjoy spring migration while you can, it will be over before we know it.