Tuesday, 27 October 2015

More Mitchell Birds (And Some From the Farm)

The fact that I was off evening chores, made it an ideal time to hurry out to the Mitchell Sewage Lagoons (West Perth Wetlands) before dark.  I had been a couple weeks since my last visit there and this time of year it is constantly changing as migrants come and go.

I arrived at the lagoons about 5 pm and started my walk.  I was anxious to cover what ground I could in the remaining daylight.    Some of my first ducks of the day were a small group of green-winged teal. 

Continuing on I came across many of the usual mallards.

I don't usually consider canada geese to be unusual, but there were massive numbers on the soccer field.  I estimated 600, but that number is likely an undercount.  It was impressive when most of them took off at once.

The cells farther from the parking lot held more variety in ducks.
Northern shovelers

Mallards and pintail

I picked out black ducks, wigeon and gadwall as well.

Shorebird activity has started to slow down.  The huge numbers of white-rumped sandpipers seem to have mostly moved on and I only counted a handful of them today.

Dunlin seemed to be the dominating shorebird on this occasion.

Nearing the end of my walk, I caught sight of a bird that from a distance looked like a lone green-winged teal.  I got it in the scope and instead found this.

The light was starting to fad and these phone scoped photos aren't the clearest, but I believe this is likely the black-bellied plover found here two days ago by Jarmo Jalava.  It was a first for me and a great find for my evening at the lagoons.

I spent last weekend birding the farm, but didn't turn up anything particularly unusual, except for a butterfly that I wasn't expecting this time of year.
Eastern Comma
Hidden Heron

It sounds like southern Ontario is expecting a decent rainstorm overnight and into tomorrow so I'm glad I got some birding in tonight before it hits.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

West Perth Waterfowl

Well it's definitely fall now and the days are getting shorter and cooler.  However this is one of the best times of year for birding.  I admit it is true that it is a challenge identifying many of the species that change to a more dull winter plumage.  The warblers for example are much duller in colour and don't sing the way that they do in the spring.  But, I consider that all part of the fun of birding and there is one group of birds known for turning into their breeding colours this time of year, the ducks.

I've always enjoyed birding in general, but waterfowl has for some reason always proved particularly interesting to me.  This is the time of year when it is fun to watch those plain brown ducks transform into colourful breeding plumage.

I have been experimenting with taking pictures through my spotting scope.  The quality is still not great, but it allows me to capture somewhat decent images and today I got a chance to try it out again at the West Perth Wetlands.

The tundra swans were interesting to see.  It is a rare sighting according to Ebird.

Snow geese have not been reported at the wetlands for a while so it was interesting to spot the birds among the Canada geese.

A large number of white-rumped sandpipers were also present.  The species seems to be present in unusually large numbers across southern Ontario right now.

It`s definitely a sign that fall is well underway when wood ducks and blue winged teal start disappearing from the Ontario landscape.  The odd individual still shows up occasionally, but I didn`t see any today.  The pictures below were taken a couple weeks ago at the wetlands when both species were quite common.

A couple drake wood ducks just starting to show colour.

Canada goose and friend.

Overall today was a great day for the wetlands and I left with several new life species.