Sunday, 22 November 2015

Some Snowy Sunday Sights

My area was hit with our first decent snowfall of the year today.  I didn't get the opportunity to go out birding, but there was plenty of activity at the feeders which was pleasant to observe from in a warm house.

dark-eyed juncos
mourning doves
downy woodpecker

blue jay, northern cardinal, red-bellied woodpecker
I'm hoping to get the opportunity to get out tomorrow and do some more local birding.  Southern Ontario has been seeing some interesting birds lately so I'm hopeful for some good sightings.  A cave swallow would be nice.  There have been multiple sightings over the last few days along the lake according to other bloggers and eBird (see map below).

Cave swallows are occasional visitors to Ontario and would be a great sighting for me considering that they commonly reside along the southern end of North America.  This cold and snow will likely finish them off. 

Monday, 16 November 2015

Down to Norfolk County

The pleasant weather today made it a great day to get out and do some birding.  I hadn't had a chance to return to the Long Point area for a while and decided today would be the day.

First stop on arriving in the area was to check out the Bird Studies Canada headquarters property, not far from the park itself.

I took a quick look around inside the building.  This was the closest that I got to tundra swans today.

The trail leading up to the waterfront viewing area was fairly quiet.  A few small birds, mostly juncos were fluttering around.

It looked quite quiet at the lake when I first arrived.

  I began scoping and soon found most of the waterfowl was well off in the distance.  A lone pied-billed grebe was the closest, working through the reeds along the waters edge.

American coots were out in full force.  I estimated at least 275 but that number could easily have been 300 or more together in one large group of birds.

Several bufflehead and redhead were also seen.  There was another large raft of ducks even further out which I could not see well enough to identify even through the scope.

From there it was on to Long Point Provincial Park.  The park is technically closed but public access is still allowed.

 Entering the park I spotted several swans which I assumed were tundra.  When I got the scope on them, they turned out to be mute swans.  They were in the company of an active group of waterfowl consisting of mallard, canada goose, redhead, bufflehead and gadwall.

Juncos and american tree sparrows were actively moving through the brush and along the edge of the road.

I also spotted this guy.  Not sure if it is unusual to see them around this time of year or not.

It moved into the defensive stance when I nudged it.

Sandhill cranes could be heard in the distance as we headed out of the park.  As we left I noticed a butterfly fluttering by, a monarch.  This is the latest that I have seen one.  It must have been late hatching and it seems unlikely that it will make it to Mexico.

We decided to make a final stop in the town of Port Dover before heading for home.

I spotted three winter plumage horned grebes swimming in the harbor as well as a group of relatively tame mallards and black ducks along with a single bufflehead.

Cormorants and ring-billed gulls were quite numerous.  I scanned the gulls in hopes of maybe a Franklins.  Franklin's gulls seem to have invaded southern Ontario in large numbers over the last few days, but I couldn't find one.
Ring-billed gulls

It was rather dissapointing when I got home and realized that I must have left my field guide sitting on the bench along the harbor in Port Dover.  If any of my readers are from that area and find a battered field guide on one of the benches, you know who it probably belongs to.  It isn't too hard to order a new one, but I kept some notes in there that I will have to recreate by looking through old eBird lists.

Otherwise it was a great birding day and definitely an area worth a visit if you end up down that way. 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Potential of Digiscoping

The method of digiscoping (taking photos through a spotting scope with a digital camera) is something that has recently been extremely interesting for me.

I often carry my scope around when birding and attempt to use it to capture outdoor shots with the one camera that I usually have with me, my cell phone camera.  I really enjoy this method of photography mostly because I don't have to carry a lot of extra equipment around to take photos.

It is definitely a learning process for me taking photos this way.  I need to hope that my target stays still long enough to line up the scope and then hold the camera steady enough to take a picture.  I am seriously considering purchasing an adaptor that would allow for steadier shots.  There have been several excellent blog posts by Prairie Birder reviewing a couple different companies that manufacture such adaptors.

Here are the results of some of my latest attempts of photography though my scope. 

This ruddy duck stopped by one of our ponds last week.

And some pictures from the feeders.

Hairy Woodpecker

House Finch
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Red Breasted Nuthatch