Sunday, April 1, 2018

Pelican Disappointment

South Padre Island - Feb 4, 2018 - Brown Pelican with a red throat pouch:

As far as I know, "Pacific" Brown Pelicans show red, whereas "Eastern" Brown Pelican's show dark/brown throat pouches. I've read that it isn't terribly difficult to find one with a red throat in Texas, indicating that "Eastern" birds seem to show this feature... but anywas - I was pretty excited to see one myself. 

THEN I SAW IT WAS BANDED! How cool is that? To know where this red-throat-pouch Pelican was born!? Well I got the result last week, and.... --->

It was banded ~5 days before I saw it? What the heck? Serious letdown.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

May birding forecasy

Vlog style... You can subscribe to my youtube page for future videos! 'Cause this place is dead, and you probably won't want to check here all that often...

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The old days

Reminiscing about the old days (2009), waiting for warmer weather (hopefully this weekend, but I may have jinxed it with my tweets)...

2009 was my most active birding year... ]I started using ebird half way through the year, and it's almost comical to look back at just HOW MUCH I was birding...

2009-12-15  Presqu'ile Provincial Park (general location)
2009-12-12  Niagara--Adam Beck (ON)
2009-12-12  Niagara--Control Gates
2009-12-10  Niagara River Corridor (ON)
2009-12-08  Wolfe Island
2009-12-06  Niagara River Corridor (ON)
2009-12-01  Markham--Reesor Pond
2009-11-30  Guelph - Bridge Park
2009-11-30  Home
2009-11-28  Niagara River Corridor (ON)
2009-11-21  Niagara River Corridor (ON)
2009-11-19  Belwood - Mew Gull
2009-11-18  Wolfe Island
2009-11-12  stakeout Phainopepla, Brampton-
2009-11-11  stakeout Phainopepla, Brampton-
2009-11-07  Stoney Creek--Fruitland Road at Lake Ontario
2009-11-07  Fifty Point CA (Hamilton side)
2009-11-04  Wolfe Island
2009-11-03  Hamilton - GWFG field
2009-11-03  Oshawa--Second Marsh/McLaughlin Bay 
2009-11-01  Hamilton - Fall Bird Count - My Area
2009-10-31  Fifty Point CA (Hamilton side)
2009-10-31  Fort Erie--Catherine Street parking area
2009-10-31  Niagara--Upper Falls (ON)
2009-10-31  Niagara--Below the Falls (ON)
2009-10-30  Fifty Point CA (Hamilton side)
2009-10-28  Wolfe Island
2009-10-27  Amherst Island
2009-10-25  Niagara-on-the-Lake--Queens Royal Park
2009-10-25  Niagara--Upper Falls (ON)
2009-10-24  Hamilton--Royal Botanical Gardens 
2009-10-17  Home
2009-10-14  Wolfe Island
2009-10-14  Amherstview--Sewage Lagoons
2009-10-12  Prince Edward County--Ostrander Point
2009-10-10  Blenheim Sewage Lagoons
2009-10-10  Tilbury--Sewage Lagoons
2009-10-10  Wheatley--Harbour (Chatham-Kent side)
2009-10-10  Leamington--Best Western Plus at Sturgeon Creek
2009-10-10   Leamington--Seacliffe migration lookout
2009-10-10  Port Stanley--River Mouth & Beaches
2009-10-10  Port Burwell Provincial Park
2009-10-07  Wolfe Island
2009-10-06  Byran - Flooded Cow Field
2009-10-06  Prince Edward County--Point Petre
2009-10-04  Amherst Island
2009-10-02  Prince Edward County--Point Petre
2009-10-01  Wolfe Island
2009-09-28 15:33  Port Burwell Provincial Park
2009-09-28 14:40  Tilbury--Sewage Lagoons
2009-09-28 13:00  Wheatley--Harbour (Chatham-Kent side)
2009-09-28  Point Pelee National Park
2009-09-24  Prince Edward County--Point Petre
2009-09-23  Amherstview--Sewage Lagoons
2009-09-23  Wolfe Island
2009-09-23  Amherst Island-
2009-09-22 9:05  Byran - Flooded Cow Field
2009-09-20  Port Maitland--Mosaic Esterhazy Lagoons
2009-09-18  Mitchell Sewage Lagoons (West Perth Wetlands)
2009-09-18  Wildwood Reservoir
2009-09-17  Prince Edward County--Point Petre
2009-09-16  Amherstview--Sewage Lagoons
2009-09-16  Wolfe Island
2009-09-15  Prince Edward County--Point Petre
2009-09-14   Prince Edward County--Point Petre
2009-09-13  Townsend Sewage Lagoons
2009-09-10  Byran - Big Island
2009-09-08  Hamilton - Haldibrook Sod Farm
2009-09-08  Hamilton--Van Wagners Beach
2009-09-07  Hamilton--Van Wagners Beach
2009-09-06  Hamilton--Van Wagners Beach
2009-09-05  Grimsby - offshore
2009-09-04 7:30  Hamilton - Offshore Lake Ontario
2009-09-03  Hamilton--Van Wagners Beach
2009-09-02  Hamilton--Van Wagners Beach
2009-08-31  Hamilton - Offshore Lake Ontario
2009-08-30  Port Burwell--Monarch Landing
2009-08-28  Hamilton--Van Wagners Beach
2009-08-24  Hamilton - Offshore Lake Ontario
2009-08-20  Port Burwell Provincial Park
2009-08-19  Hamilton - Offshore Lake Ontario
2009-08-18  Guelph - Bridge Park
2009-08-16  Hamilton - Offshore Lake Ontario
2009-08-11  Waterdown Garden Supplies
2009-08-09  Port Maitland--Mosaic Esterhazy Lagoons
2009-08-09  Rock Point Provincial Park
2009-08-08  Townsend Sewage Lagoons
2009-08-02  Blenheim Sewage Lagoons
2009-07-30  Holland Landing Sewage Lagoons
2009-07-30  Beeton--10th Line north
2009-07-29  Saltfleet--8th Road East
2009-07-29  Rock Point Provincial Park
2009-07-28  Blenheim--Landfill
2009-07-28  Blenheim Sewage Lagoons
2009-07-26  Pelee Island--Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve
2009-07-26  Blenheim Sewage Lagoons
2009-07-25  Pelee Island--Lighthouse Point Provincial Nature Reserve
2009-07-25  Pelee Island--Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve
2009-07-24  Kingsville--Marina
2009-07-23  Blenheim Sewage Lagoons
2009-07-23   Hamilton--Canada Centre for Inland Waters 
2009-07-23  Hamilton--Van Wagners Beach
2009-07-20  Wolfe Island
2009-07-18  Rondeau Area--Barn Owl
2009-07-18  Holiday Beach Conservation Area
2009-07-18  Harrow Sewage Lagoons
2009-07-18   Point Pelee National Park
2009-07-18  Blenheim--Landfill
2009-07-18  Blenheim Sewage Lagoons
2009-07-18  Leamington--Harbour and Seacliff Beach
2009-07-17  Waterdown Garden Supplies
2009-07-16  Jarvis--Sewage Lagoons
2009-07-16  Townsend Sewage Lagoons
2009-07-16  Niagara--Below the Falls (ON)
2009-07-13 9:00  Rock Point Provincial Park
2009-07-10 5:45  Oshawa--Second Marsh/McLaughlin Bay 
2009-07-08 20:00  Erieau--townsite and waterfront
2009-07-08 18:30  Erieau--McGeachy Pond CA
2009-07-08 15:30  Blenheim Sewage Lagoons
2009-07-06 18:10  Guelph - Bridge Park
2009-07-03 12:05  Waterdown Garden Supplies
2009-07-02 5:10  Richmond Hill
2009-06-30  Hillman Marsh Conservation Area
2009-06-30  Chatham -Barn Owl

Seems like a lot! The crazy part was, I didn't ebird everytime I went birding (just the highlights) AND I didn't ebird sightings from work-related surveys (I was doing bird surveys ~5 days per week throughout the fall...) Most of these are before/after work surveys or stops while driving to and from work locations....

It was a different time!

Friday, February 16, 2018

"Herring" Gull Study

Some interesting "Herring" Gulls from Brownsville, Texas


Started with this bird on Feb 2 - strong impression of Nelson's Gull (Herring X Glaucous) on the Herring side of things, but very dark primaries and tail worried me. Especially with such hyper-bright-pink legs and bill... Why would a bird that looks 100% like Herring in the wings, look like 100% Glaucous in the bill? Shouldn't the bill be duskier? Or the primaries at least be somewhat paler than a normal Herring?

(Pictures taken in the fog, so they're a bit washed out) 

Posted them online, and gull master Bruce MacT quickly pointed out that it looked like a Nelson's Gull.. hmm..


Fast forward to a few days ago, and I was on the lookout for this and/or similar birds. And I found them...

Bird #1:

Looks so much like a Glaucous X Herring, that I was pretty darn tempted to call it a Glaucous X Herring... It also looks remarkably similar to the Feb 2 bird, but I'm reasonably confident they're different birds (lacking the hyper-pink bill/legs, greater coverts aren't as tidy, pale areas in the scaps are missing etc).

Problem though - it doesn't have paler primaries or tail - they look just fine for Herring...

Bird #2:

More Herring like, and appropriately titled as such (i think) - but not all that dissimilar to the first two birds... If anything, the duskier bill pattern would otherwise make me more comfortable in suggesting it had 5-10% Glaucous in it...

Bird #3:

A ghostly first year Herring - and again, probably safe to call it such, but there are a lot of similarities between this bird and the ones posted above it... Enough to make me assume they're all Herring Gulls, rather than Nelson's?? (even the very Nelsony-looking birds I first posted?)


Things got really interesting when I noticed a few "older" birds that shared a similar look - very Nelson-looking beasts with pale plumage - but primaries and tail that look fine for Herring. Check out bird #5:

Gray mantle feathers coming in were quite a bit paler than typical when compared to the nearby Herrings... Which (I think) is interesting given that subjadult pale mantled gulls often look artificially "darker" mantled due to the brown immature feathers mixed in... typically i'd ignore a bird like this as "individual variation" in Herring Gull, just frostier than usual, but the next bird just piled it on deeper & higher:

Bird #6

Surely this is a Nelson's Gull, right? Pale mantle - GISS like Glaucous... Except for those jet black primaries...


When working in the Prince Rupert, British Columbia area, I was impressed with how difficult it was to find a "pure" Herring Gull - >95% of the "Herring Gulls" I saw, seemed to have at least SOME measure of Glaucous-winged Gull genes...

After this recent dump-visit, I can't help but think there is a Herring Gull colony somewhere in the Canadian arctic, perhaps one of the northernmost colonies, where they all look a bit Glaucous-like, but are not readily producing F1 Nelson's Gulls...


Interestingly, there was also a Glaucous present:

So what do you think? Are these birds Herring Gulls? Or did I see 4-5 Nelson's Gulls, at the same place and time, in south texas?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

a ice video

Couldn't go two months without a blog post... This one is... pretty dull...

I've added a few new blog/photo posts to my "old" website recently as well:

My fingers are crossed for some birding/photography later this winter - which will hopefully translate into some interesting material. Ugly gulls and weather posts will be the meat and potatoes here, and the "journal" on my peregrineprints site will house any photos I'm happy with! 

Anyone remember the website/blog glory days of 2005-2010?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Old School Ugly Gull Post

I encountered this beast of a gull yesterday in Waterloo... Conventional wisdom would say it's an ugly intermediate bird in the new "Iceland" Gull spectrum, but I had strong impressions of Glaucous-winged while viewing the bird... Clearly it's not a Glaucous-winged, but a hybrid Glaucous-winged X Herring Gull seemed like a reasonable explanation (other than the fact I don't think there are any documented records of this hybrid in the Province...) I'm lucky to have pretty extensive experience with this combo (esp. for someone who lives in Ontario) during several trips to the northern BC coast... Here's my thoughts:

- it's pretty big (HERG size)
- it generally looks "broad" in flight (wide body, wide wings etc)
- it has a GWGU-ish belly
- has a slightly contrasting whitish head with a bit of a dark mask (something I associate with GWGU hybrids) 
- the tertial/covert/scap pattern is crazy (tiny white flecks?) which I associate w/ GWGU hybrids, and I'm not sure if I've seen it on Kumlien/Thayer types... 
- it has GWGU-like uniformity to the plumage (only slightly darker outer primaries and tail) 
- the primary projection appear(s/ed) short
- it's difficult to tell if it's in juv or 1st basic plumage... (I wouldn't expect this issue with a fresh Kumlien's/Thayer's type?)
- there's something about how the feathers extend up the underside of the bill that reminds me of GWGU and not "Iceland" - but I haven't looked into it enough to be sure... 

Here's 25 pics of the beast - what do you think? Am I on to something, or am I just getting rusty? 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Two reasonably unrelated vlogs

#1 is a look at some neotropical insanity happening NOW on in the southern maritime provinces...

#2 is about a monster low pressure system that will pass by (rapidly) tomorrow...

What.. whatcha think?