Sunday, 28 February 2016

Some Recent Sightings

The Avon River has been a great place for gulls over the last couple weeks.  Among the usual species, iceland, thayers, glaucous and great black backed gulls have been recently observed.

When I heard that the great black backed gulls were around today, I decided to check them out.  Arriving at the big cluster of gulls, it was easy to quickly pick out a couple great black-backed.
They were pretty easy to distinguish from the surrounding herring gulls.

I came across a hen pintail further down the river associating with the mallards.  It came up as a rare species on eBird, but with this mild weather it isn't a surprise that some species would be moving northward earlier than usual.

Among the mallards, it is quite easy to find many 'farm duck' crosses.  However today I found what appears to be a mallard-black duck cross, not something I often see.

Back home I found my first robin of the year the other day.  It's been an unusual winter so it probably didn't go far this winter.  It was a bit camera shy and wouldn't come out of the brush.

I'll end with a white-breasted nuthatch at the peanut feeder.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Stratford Scenes

I spent part of the afternoon today along the Avon River in Stratford.  Recent mild weather reopened the river which had been frozen not long before.  Both ducks and gulls have descended upon the open water.  The temperature was hovering around freezing, but there was little wind and I was anxious to put my new camera to the test.

My first sighting was this drone.  First time I've seen one used around here.  I scanned the area a bit, but could not see the operator.

Mallards were by far the most common duck on the river.

I was hoping for the long staying ring-necked duck or a couple hooded mergansers.  Both were present on the Christmas bird count, but they presumably moved on when things froze.]

There had been some interesting gulls reported lately and I scanned the large group halfway across the river.  I had just started picking through them when they all took off at once. 

I thought I had lost the opportunity to look through them, but the flock landed on a different portion of river and I came upon them again as I came down the trail.  Most were herring, but a juvenile glaucous gull near the edge stood out from the rest.  It was in no hurry to move and I got some good shots.

 I also found what appears to be an adult glaucous in the photo below. 
Juvenile centre left, adult center right.

The glaucous gull is a new species for me.  I don't usually have the patience to pick apart large flocks of gulls so it was great to find this species.

Towards the end of my walk I found a large group of mallards being fed.
Spring migrants are slowly starting to trickle back in.  It will be interesting to see what shows up in the upcoming weeks.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Playing With a New Camera

I finally decided to make a change.  After years of my simple point and shoot camera, I decided to upgrade to another point and shoot camera.

However this new camera is a big step for me.  I first heard about in on Nathan's Nature Adventure Blog.  He and Ontario Field Biology have both written about how much they enjoyed their sony 50hx camera with 30x optical zoom. 

For a long time I had been looking at DSLR cameras, but the price tag was out of my range at this point.  I have only just recieved this handy little point and shoot, but so far I am very impressed.  It is a size that will easily fit in my pocket when outdoors and I am very happy so far with the capabilities of the zoom.

I will  have more of an opinion on this camera as I get more used to it, but first impressions are good.  I'll conclude with some feeder shots taken with this camera.

american tree sparrow

pine siskins
black form grey squirrel


dark-eyed junco

american goldfinch