Thursday, 12 June 2014

May Madness

It has certainly been a pretty good Spring here in Canada, nothing too outrageous on the rarity front but lots of goodies and unusual sightings none-the-less. With a long weekend excursion to Rondeau/Pelee in early May with James Barber and a couple of bonus birds more locally, I picked up an impressive 7 lifers in May alone with several more as additions to my Canada (and Ontario) list.

Yellow-throated Vireo - The Tip, Point Pelee, ON
Of course it's not all about the rare birds - though they do add a little spice to the day. For me it's about learning the subtleties of a new song, unusual plumage or just plain and simple good views of a more common bird, such as this Yellow-throated Vireo at Point Pelee. Likewise, being able to study Forster's Terns at Rondeau was certainly a pleasure, as was watching the 70+ Black Terns hawking for insects over the local sewage lagoons.

Fortunately, I was able to get photos of some of these lifers too, beginning with these Henslow's Sparrows seen at Point Pelee. To see just one is good these days but to have a second is a real bonus - with portraits of both to boot...

Henslow's Sparrow - Bird 1 at the 'Serengeti Tree', Point Pelee, ON
Henslow's Sparrow - Better views of Bird 2 at the Tip, Point Pelee, ON
On the same day, we also had great looks at my second lifer, Hooded Warbler, though my pictures of that bird are not quite so good...

Hooded Warbler - The Tip, Point Pelee, ON
The real rarity of that particular trip though was Smith's Longspur. These birds were in a muddy field just north of Hillman Marsh and with some concentrated effort we both got some reasonable looks. James even snapped a couple of record shots - you should take a look at some of his work at Try his Rare Birds gallery for the Longspur, as well as my 4th lifer of that trip, Yellow-throated Warbler. We also added Willet, Marbled Godwit and Lesser Black-backed Gull at Hillman Marsh but the only half-recognisable shot is this one...

Marbled Godwit - Hillman Marsh, Leamington, ON
These next few pictures are of some of the other birds encountered on that particular trip. Again nothing special - some day I'll buy a proper camera and have to lug that around too!

Black-throated Green Warbler (male) - Rondeau Provincial Park, ON
Forster's Tern - Rondeau Provincial Park, ON
Hermit Thrush - Rondeau Provincial Park, ON
American Woodcock peenting - Rondeau Provincial Park, ON
Eared (Black-necked) Grebe - Blenheim Sewage Lagoons, ON
Wood Thrush - Rondeau Provincial Park, ON
Of course there was much more seen on this trip, with Acadian Flycatcher being perhaps the biggest miss. May also brought another 3 lifers but I should probably save them for next time. I also got shots of two more species of Catharus thrushes, so perhaps a comparison is on the cards too - just missing that elusive Bicknell's...

Till next time,

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