Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Here comes the Herons! Doobie doobie, doo.....

Little Blue Heron time?

It's not even August yet, but we've had two juvenile Little Blue Herons in Ontario this "fall" --- the bird at Holiday Beach and the bird at the Mosaic Ponds near Rock Point!

And my sources tell me, this isn't a fluke event... Here's a nearby rundown of LBHE's and other rarities:

Indiana: - Little Blue Heron reported at the extreme NW corner of the state on Lake Michigan... Along with reports of 3-4 birds (together) at multiple locations in the "northern half" of the state!

Other recent rarities in the state include: Swallow-tailed Kite and Neotropic Cormorant!

Illinois: At least 3 birds have been seen in the state near Lake Michigan over the last few weeks.

Other recent rarities include a Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Michigan: to my knowledge, the state has been quite on the Little Blue front (for now)... (maybe 1 on ebird?)

Yet the "other recent rarities" include the insane Point Moo site just seconds from Ontario - hosting White-faced, Glossy and WHITE Ibis recently, along with Snowy & Cattle Egrets..

Ohio: has had at least 11 Individual LBHE reports on ebird near (or on) Lake Erie in the past few weeks. Along with numerous individuals further south in the state (again, 3-4 together at a time).

Recent rarities include: a surprise GRAY FLYCATCHER on Lake Erie....

New York  at least 2 Little Blue Herons in the "finger lakes" area...

Recent rarities include the nutty Sandwitch Tern, not too far from Ontario! (Not far at all --- on Lake Ontario):


Not to mention a Black-bellied Whistling Duck that is only about 5km away from the Ontario border!

No new drought map until Thursday, although there seems to be a change in our jet stream pattern that is suddenly teasing us with rain and north winds here in Ontario ---- but the drought map will show how far-reaching this change was.. Things in the US "bread basket" could still be nice and toasty - and hopefully we continue to see some increases in Herons...

Heck most of the rarities at Pte Moo in MI (eg,/ White Ibis) seemed to have moved around a bit.. When was the last time someone checked the dusk roost at Holiday Beach for this bird??


Flying Fish Photos: (i personally think these are amazing):


Let us know if you find a Little Blue Heron that looks like this....... 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Data is collected until Tuesday each week, and the final map is released Thursday each week:


Good joke I heard --- the "Bread Basket of the USA is Toast!"

It keeps looking better (worse) each week. Who knows how todays rains will change it (probably not too much, aside from southern ON) --- but here's hoping it keeps going so we can study and watch what happens with rare Herons this summer!

I'll let Jeff Masters add some more stats about it (at the bottom of this post):



Speaking of rare Herons, they make a special visit in this edition of "rarity photos"

Little Blue in Ohio:


White Ibis !!! (And Snowy Egret) a stone's throw away from Holiday beach: --- a plegadis Ibis and a Cattle Egret have been seen at the same spot! :


RB Tropicbird in Maine: (I just like tropicbirds):


Another look at the PQ Little Egret:


LT and Pom Jaegers (I just like Jaegers) offshore MA:


Not a local rarity (Hawaii) -- but possible hybrid Ibis for your viewing pleasure:


Eurasian Collared Dove in the Yukon!! (Someone find Josh one of these for his big year already!)


Black-tailed Godwit in Delware:


Wood Storks moving north? (From NC):



No hurricanes recently..... but August is much better for storms than July... I'll start watching this page a lot :



Whale Shark sucks fish out of fishing net:


Friday, July 20, 2012

Van Wagner's Beach - Jul 20 - report

Migrants seen after two hours of Lakewatching (7-9am-ish):

Sanderling - 1 

BUT HEY.... At least we know that Jaegers await :)


A Jeff Masters blog post about the increasing drought:


--- hasn't been a drought like this since the great dust bowl of the great depression in the 30's? Doesn't really feel allll that bad here in Ontario ;) ... but hopefully we DO get some herons at the very least :)


Albino Hummingbird:


White-faced??? Ibis in New York:


Thursday, July 19, 2012

I thought ontbirds was broken!!!!

Not a single post for July 18th, 2012... Crazy! But its good to see we're back to exciting things like Bonaparte's Gulls ;)


20 knot east winds for Hamilton tomorrow... For some reason, there are some cool pelagic records from Ontario in July:

Leach's Storm-Petrel - Jul 19, 1939 in Cornwall

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel - Jul 13, 2000 - Long Point

Yellow-nosed Albatross - July 4, 2010 - Kingston


And a few "late summer" records that are close in August:

Great Shearwater - Aug 20 (?) in Toronto

Manx Shearwaters:  Aug 19 (mich), Aug 26 (Ottawa) and Aug 31 (Hammer)

Not to mention records of rare terns (Arctic, Least) from the Great Lakes in July --- among other things... July is a pretty rough month for rarities, but I may just end up at the beach tomorrow (with a rare day off). An adult Red Phalarope would be nice.

Here's hoping the weather forecast doesn't go to heck before then....



Current conditions:



(1 knot = 1.852kmh)


Newest drought map released this morning:

Not that these forecasts are correct, but here's the recent 1 and 3 month temperature outlooks for the USA.. Hope you like the heat:

3 mo below:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Random Rabbles

The USA (sort of applies to us) -- drought continues

6th "worst" of all time?

From what I've been reading, the global weather models are all forecasting conditions to stay hot and dry throughout July (at the very least).

Here's the 6-10day temperature outlook:

(HOT in the US midwest.. looks about typical)..

Lots of White-faced Ibis showing up around the Great Lakes so far this summer... I wonder if we'll get some more in Ontario soon? August could get interesting....

WFIB in Ohio:



The sea ice is melting in a more normal fashion this year,

compared to last year:


A sweet ode video brought to my attention via Tim King

PS - the ode group is currently at 99 members!


How do I get me one of these on my back fence?


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wandering and Spot-winged Gliders in Montreal River Harbour (Lake Superior) Options

Part of this was posted to the ont-odes group! We are still below 100 members !!! (98 as I write)... But are getting a lot of web-views from non-registered members. Maybe we can lure out a few more lurkers to reach the milestone??



A bit late, but a week ago I had a few Wandering and a single Spot-winged Glider feeding over an open area, right next to the river mouth (120km north of Sault Ste Marie). The Spot-wing would have been quite a bit more unexpected if it were not for the sightings at Neys P.P. and James Bay last year!

I found ode (and lep) numbers to be extremley low compared to previous visits, and wondered what sort of die-off must have occured... My only other noteworthy observation was a few shallow lakes (glorified beaver ponds) with healthy populations of Azure Bluet. I know the ode atlas maps are a bit dated, but they do not show any records for northern Ontario... ?


Just to spice up the post... Here's some pics of the species mentioned above (not recent);

Azure Bluet

Wandering Gliderz

Spot-winged Glider 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Common Checkered Skipper pic

Common Checkered Skipper from Pelee Island on July 5th. The first time I've photographed this species 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Josh Vandermulen’s Big Year – personal breakdown

The current ebird leader for Ontario is none other than Josh Vandermulen, who we all know is making a superb run at the Ontario Big Year record.... Currently sitting at 318 species (written Jul 8), I decided to use his info (from his blog) and do a breakdown of my own...

He has broken down the Ontario checklist into “codes” – for how rare each species is. Using his 6 month recap, he noted the following birds he is still missing:

Code 1: 

Stilt Sandpiper

--- needless to say, this one is a lock,  so let’s give his 318 a +1 to a hypothetical 319

Code 2:

Red Knot
Purple Sandpiper
Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Red-necked Phalarope
Parasitic Jaeger
Arctic Tern
Nelson’s Sparrow

--- Josh made the code 2 group as a “harder to get” list – but ones he fully expects to get. And let’s be honest here, if he misses any of these species on a “big year” – we’re going to disown him...319 is now +7 to 326!

Code 3: this is where I think he expected to miss a few...

Pacific Loon
Glossy Ibis
Red Phalarope
Long-tailed Jaeger
Black-legged Kittiwake
Sabine’s Gull
Black Guillemot
Western Kingbird
Cave Swallow

It’s a tough list to break down.  I’m going to put a few species into a new honorary “Code 2” category --- where if he misses them.... Well......

Red Phalarope
Long-tailed Jaeger
Black-legged Kittiwake
Sabine’s Gull

Before we know it, we’ve got 5 more “locks” – racing upwards to 331 ... And these are the “locks” people...

The remaining “code 3” birds –

Pacific Loon
Glossy Ibis
Black Guillemot
Western Kingbird
Cave Swallow

Now we enter the realm of guess work, but if he DOESN’T get 3 of these 5 species, I’m going to slap him... Can you say 334?

Code 4: we haven’t even started code 4 yet, and he’s 5 species shy of the Ontario record! Here’s some code 4 goodies I actually think he has a solid chance of getting:

White-faced Ibis
Eurasian Collared Dove
Northern Fulmar
Rufous Hummingbird
Northern Wheatear
Northern Gannet
Swainson’s Hawk
Townsends Solitaire
Little Blue Heron

Between birding your backside off, and twitching, you could practically get 5 of these species sealed and in the bag + tagged.  WFIB, ECDO, NOWH are the hardest of the bunch... But Gannet, Little Blue, Ruff, Solitaire, Swainson’s Hawk ---- are all very very doo-able if you’ve got the spare time. Heck, Netitishi owes me a friggin Fulmar.. and I’d gladly pass it along to Josh for the big year list!

So there you have it. Done. New big year record... Pretty much doesn’t even have to try anymore...
But just for fun, I’m going to delve a little deeper and see where a few more species could come from:

Rare fall flycatcher: get one of Fork-tailed, Say’s, Vermillion, Ash-throated, or a different “Yellow” Kingbird???

Ducks: still some ducks... Cinnamon Teal, Tufted, a whistler, Common Eider...

A “western” Warbler? *cough* - Black-throated Gray, Hermit, Virginia’s, Townsends?

Drought Season: how about an extra Heron like Tricoloured, Yellow-crowned, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Spoonbill? It has been a good start so far...

Pelagic species: Netitishi alone should be good for one of these: Shearwater sp, Storm-Petrel, Alcid sp (Dovekie, Thick-billed Murre, Puffin, Razorbill, Murrelett) , Great Skua, Albatross sp,

GULLS: god I love gulls... Ivory, Ross’s, Mew, Slaty-backed, Black-tailed, Glaucous-winged, etc etc etc

Hurricane: -- wait... I’m not even going to go there.....

Rare shorebird: rare shorebirds are great.. So many species I could pick here...

And those are the predictable ones! The recent Frigatebird shows that crazy things can happen at crazy times... One epic storm in the fall could really make something nutty happen......

So yeah! I guess all we can do is watch and see how it plays out... But I’m going to make a mid-season prediction and say he at least hits 340!

(unpredictable goodies await... )

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My favourite bird photos from May 2012

What, you were expecting something else?

10 years of bird photography, and I had never - ever - come anywhere close to getting a decent photo of an adult Great-horned Owl... My Dad and I had this adult bird in one of the dykes at Point Pelee early one morning, and posed for dozens of full frame photos.... Not what I was expecting at all in May, but I sure was happy......

I'm not really sure why, maybe its a horrible side effect of doing photography for this long, but my other big favourite of the spring was this Great Crested Flycatcher pic ---- a totally flukey random pic where it jumped right as the photo was taken... Something about the colour and pattern really appeals to my eye.. And I always love photographing birds in Sumac...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This is how HOT it was on Pelee Island

See link:



Actually here's just some "Visions of Pelee Island" :

(This is the only one here I sort-of edited)



What drought? Most fields were flooded... 

decent july feeding frezy

How many rare gulls are in this picture? Here's a hint: 0

Yep, ugly ditches are the best heron habitat in SW Ont 

Typical Red Saddlebags.. Out of reach... 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pelee Island BIRDZ! - July 4-6

Not too much to report on the bird front at Pelee... Frig..


Fish Point is still huge... Great for all of your Ring-billed Gull needs.... Noteworthy was a few migrant adult Bonaparte's on July 5th...

Least Sandpipers -- only true migrant shorebirds I saw...

American Coot - one at Middle Point...

Swainson's Thrush - one singing at the SE corner of the Island at dusk on the 5th (explain that one...)

Lesser Black-backed Gull - one 3rd alt in a farm field

Dickcissel - 4+ birds at the NE corner of the island

And yeah... Didn't look for birds too much.... I had an Upland Sandpiper on Hwy 3 between Wheatley and Blenheim on the drive home, looking like a fine fall migrant... 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pelee Island LEPS!!! July 4-6

Woo! I loves me some butterflies..... Here's the skinny on my recent trip to the island:

My first Tawny Emperor pic that I'm happy with! :) 

Where were all the butterflies?  Seriously. I could not believe how few butterflies I was seeing.... I started to wonder if the major thunderstorms that rolled through for a few days in a row had killed them all........  98% of the butterflies I was actually seeing were very fresh...

Here's a complete list: (at least, as far as I can remember).. If I don't add a number, it means I saw 10+

Common Checkered Skipper - 2 (in the same place, worn --- probably breeding) ?
Least Skipper - 3
Fiery Skipper - 2 (worn)
Dun Skipper
Black Swallowtail - 5
Giant Swallowtail - 7 (where the heck were all the swallowtails?)
Cabbage White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Little Yellow - 2 (very fresh)

"Blue/Azure" species - 1

Summer Azure - hundreds - all fresh
Eastern tailed Blue
Variegated Fritillary - 2
American Snout
"Large" Frittillary sp - 1 (probably Great Spangled, but it was a short view)
"Pearl" Crescent - all very fresh
"Northern" Crescent - worn-ish
Question Mark
Eastern Comma - 3
Red Admiral
Common Buckeye - several colonies, yet often not seen
American Lady
Painted Lady
Hackberry Emperor
Tawny Emperor - I didn't see any until the last day, when I saw several fresh individuals
Common Wood Nymph - 2


My super-duper worn "blue" sp.... It was too large for Eastern-tailed, and every single Summer Azure I saw (hundreds) was very fresh and obvious.....  Could it be a worn azure? I also wondered if it could be a Marine Blue???

Not that its very exciting to see a totally feature-less butterfly and hope that its something rare, but.......... ???? 

Pelee Island Odes!!! Jul 4-6

Not only do I love me some leps, but thems odes are great too!

My first photo ever of a Red Saddlebags!

I wanted a Comet Darner..... I'm not gonna lie...  Check out my complete list of ode sightings from the trip, and let me know what you notice isn't there :)

(disclaimer - I spent very little time looking at the little fellas)

Blue-fronted Dancer - 1 (at fish point, of all places)
Familiar Bluet (+ a few other blue-types I didn't ID)
Fragile Forktail
Eastern Forktail
Common Green Darner
Prince Baskettail
Calico Pennant
Halloween Pennant
Eastern Pondhawk
Widow Skimmer
Twelve-spotted Skimmer
Blue Dasher
Wandering Glider - 20+ --- my FOY for this species...
Spot-winged Glider --- by far the most common ode - THOUSANDS
Eastern Amberwing
Common Whitetail
Variegated Meadowhawk - 2 very teneral individuals from the pond behind the landfill!
Ruby Meadowhawk
Carolina Saddlebags
Black Saddlebags
Red Saddlebags

Crazy part was the saddlebags.... Carolina easily out-numbered Black!!! And if you really want to get trippy ---- Red Saddlebags outnumbered both Carolina and Black combined!!!

If you're not on the Ont-odes group , which you should be, you would know that Ode-enthusiasts all over the province are turning up "red" Saddlebags at an alarming rate... I really enjoyed seeing huge numbers of these species... I visited Pelee Island in the summer in 2007 and 2009, and did NOT see Saddlebags like this... Truly a great year to observe them....

One thing I noticed was that the Reds often spooked earlier, flew higher, perched higher, or patrolled further out over ponds than the other Saddlebag species - making them very difficult to catch!


Not a bad haul for a place that tries to pump away all their water.....

One thing I found very strange was this Green Darner with a green abdomen.... (at fish point)...  I don't remember seeing this before>?? Or maybe I'm just crazy??? 

I tried to turn it into an Amazon Darner with minimal success... Can anyone convince me its an Emperor??? 


Saturday, July 7, 2012

I gotta do it !!!! July shorebird mega season is upon us!!!

This will be the 3rd year in a row that I post something about this topic........ And it's worth it every time...

July is primo season for cosmic rare shorebirds... And you hardly have to waste anytime searching through common riff-raff to find them (since there are hardly any moving at this point)...

Here's what I'm saying:

Mega rarities (such as European Species) spend a few weeks in the Canadian arctic trying to find a breeding partner... And guess what? They don't find any, since they're mega rare and all alone... SO what to do? Migrate south early!

Here's the facts:

Aug 1 – 1948 – Wandering Tattler – Windmill Point, Niagara
July 2-21, 1960 – American Oystercatcher-  Windmill Point, Rainy river?
July 11-15, 1960 Wandering Tattler – Windmill Point, Niagara
July 25, 1976 – Spotted Redshank  - Niagara
July 19-24, 1990 – Spotted Redshank – Cassleman
July 25, 1992 – Little Stint – Casselman
July 31-Aug1 – 1997 – “Palaearctic” Dunlin - Hamilton
 July 31, 2008 – Little Stint -  Townsend Sewage Lagoons – my record, not accepted by the OBRC though!

There's also the Little Stint record from James Bay ---- July 7th I think?? Can't find it in my notes right now, and I'm too lazy to look it up

Curlew Sand – 6 of 8 fall records for Michigan in July
July 11, 16, 20, 20, 29. 30

There is also a pile of RUFF records from late June and July... (Kentucky and I found one Aug 2 a few years ago)...... 

(theee bird)

And just to bring the point home, take a look at what has already shown up in North America this July:

Spotted Redshank in Oregon: 

Little Stint in Rhode Island:

Red-necked Stint in Kansas:

Not to mention a couple of Ruff's in NY .... 


And lets be honest... July shorebirding can be boring as heck..... You have very low odds of finding some fun uncommon species like Buff-breasted Sand, Long-billed Dowitcher, Western Sand, etc - to keep yourself entertained in the process... But if you're really keen (or stupid... or doing a big year)... hitting up those shorebird spots in July just might pay off...

And hey, being out in the field is the only way to increase your chances of finding something mega... (like that recent Frigatebird)... Or maybe something like this:

Little egret currently near Montreal... Photo from here: 

Friday, July 6, 2012

All that matters from Pelee Island

Nothing mega rare, at least not that I can ID properly....... This is all that matters:

That friggin thing bit me... TWICE... before I killed it.............. It appears to be a mosquito.... But it was HUGE... I collected the damn thing if anyone doesn't believe me.... And yes, that is a quarter I placed it on for size reference......  

Should I get it tested for some sort of advanced small pox or something??? 

Is this normal??? 

Common Buckeyes (more) in Montreal River Harbour area

Bit late, but last week I had 3 more Common Buckeyes near Montreal
River Harbour on Lake Superior (120km north of Sault Ste Marie) in
fairly scattered locations. After having seen some fresh 2nd-gen
individuals a few days earlier near Kingston, I felt like my sightings
were of fresh immigrants rather than any sign of local breeding.

There was a dramatic drop in insect numbers otherwise compared to my
visit two weeks earlier, but some species (such as the larger frits
and White Admirals) had emerged after being absent earlier.


I haven't edited any photos from the recent visit, so here's one from Pelee Island in May............ 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

new zen trip

Going to Pelee Island for a few days, and I'm pumped.... It's going to be HOT and HUMID - but the winds are pretty questionable - but I've been excited to get to SW Ontario for some personal time for weeks now ---- so i'm going to make it happen!

Not sure what happened, but there were a lot of funky birds around the Great Lakes in the past several days...

White Ibis - MI
Mag Frig - ON
Little Blue Herons - NY, ON, OH, IL
Yellow-crowned Night-Herons - IL, OH,
White-faced Ibis - MI, OH
Scissor-tailed Fly - IL
Black-bellied Whistling Duck - OH
Franklin's Gull - ON (and a Laugher or two elsewhere on the big lakes)
Snowy Egret - 12 in OH at freakin Ottawa NWR...

Not to mention the Dickcissels - and a few Henslow's in Ontario and nearby.....

Maybe its the heat and drought???

Here's the high temps (forecast) for Jul 4

Wish me luck.... 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My welcome the frigatebird

Video: (thanks to Kentucky)



What a beauty...... I did a LOT of photo research last night, and wrote this in an email around noon:

Christmas Island Frigatebird: is critically endangered globally and
seemingly the least likely species to arrive in "North America" by
range (no records). Photo study (the oriental birding website has a
good collection) shows that many of these birds have more
cinnamon/rust colouration as a juvenile with differences in belly
pattern etc - and I'm pretty confident we can eliminate this species
with what we have.

Great Frigatebird: seems to show cinamon colouration on the head/body
in the early stages of life as well, which seems to be fairly
diagnostic(?ha...)... This species is on the ABA checklist and I can
find reports from Cali and Oklahoma --- photo study has made me feel
fairly confident that the body colouration on our bird is wrong for
this species, but it seems very tough. Some sites talk about white
auxillaries being present on Juveniles, but I've found some photos of
birds that don't seem to show this feature... Then again, how can you
trust photos you find online anyways?

Lesser Frigatebird: multiple records for inland N.A. ---- when Ken and
I saw the bird in flight, it was clearly a gargantuan monster of a
bird... Accounts I've read from the MI Lesser Frig is that they could
clearly tell the bird was not nearly as big as they would have
expected for a "Frig" and immediately started thinking it could be a
"lesser" on that alone... Juv Lesser's also seem to often have a bit
of a black collar around the neck in the photos I'm looking at, which
I did not see on our bird (although my mind is already going fuzzy
after looking at photos)...

Ascension Frigatebird - looks a bit too similar to our bird to have
much hope in eliminating. A record from the UK on Jul 10, 1953 means
that we probably shouldn't discount it on range either.... If someone
had a decent flight shot of the auxiliaries, it seems pretty clear cut
that ASFR has white, where MAFR does not.....

Magnificent Frigatebird - pretty darn easy to find photos of Juv's
that look just like our bird.... and in all honesty..........


And wouldn't you know it, not long after some superb (and I mean, superb) flight shots arrived from the finders of the bird* that showed pretty much everything else we needed to ID the beast... 

Kentucky and I both happened to be well north of Guelph when word broke, and after several hours of driving, things couldn't have ended any better ---- as we arrived right when the beast was flying around and eventually drifted east over Rondeau Bay 25mins later.... (I think it was spooked by a Bald Eagle right before we arrived) 

Very nice!!! 


Dave Martin

Linda Wladarski

Chris and Sandra Leys

Ryan Leys

Stan and Anita Caveney

Bill and Marjorie Prieksiatis

Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Review: How to Be a Better Birder

Disclaimer: Princeton Publishing provided a copy for review.

The Skinny:

How to Be a Better Birder by Derek Lovitch
just under 200 pages
~9 topic specific chapters
Size: not quite pocket sized, but small...
Price on the back: $19.95

The lowdown: the author has put together a nice collection of topics and ideas regarding several topics that "expert" birders practice and study, generally chapter-specific, but it builds on its own ideas well as the book progresses...

Here's a look at the chapters (off the Princeton website for the book) :

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Chapter 1: Advanced Field Identification 5

--- I enjoyed this chapter... The author tries to teach (and convince) the reader that the time has come for birders to study birds more. A major interest of mine is studying common birds and learning how variable they can be. In my opinion, this is an awesome way to improve your birding goals, no matter what they are (vagrants, nesting birds, photography etc etc) 

Chapter 2: Birding by Habitat 31

--- Another fun chapter... If you're looking to expand your birding into new horizons (and don't pay attention to habitat) then this will be a fun learning experience...
Chapter 3: Birding with Geography 53

--- what more can I say? I wouldn't have gone to Netitishi point multiple times if I wasn't keen on geography... At this point, I'm starting to think that if you enjoy reading this blog, you're going to think the book is a fun read... 

Chapter 4: Birding and Weather 75
--- I love weather! And its another fun chapter... Although its not quite the same as the weather theories I throw around on the blog here, there are a lot of great ideas if you're hoping to learn more about the relationship between birding and weather... 

Chapter : Birding at Night 101

--- Ok you lost me... A lot of this chapter talks about nexrad radar, fight calls etc... Which are all fun, but this is where I started to remember something important to remember with a book like this... Not everyone is going to find the same topics interesting (or even care for that matter). 

Chapter 6: Birding with a Purpose 123

--- Ebird? CBC's? Breeding bird surveys or Atlas work? There's a number of great ways to give your birding purpose... Heck, I do stuff like trying to see how many species of birds I can see in a specific day while working (or on a specific site) - even if its just an empty lot in suburbia.. A chapter I enjoyed quite a bit!

Chapter 7: Vagrants 134

--- Anyone on the blog enjoy finding vagrants? 

Chapter 8: A New Jersey Case Study 155

--- A great way to bring most of what we looked at together into a "final chapter" so to speak... 

Chapter 9: Patch Listing 172

--- I'm trying to make "Patch Listing" a major part of my own birding as soon as possible... It's not there yet, but I think the idea is great and also really enjoyed this chapter... 

References and Additional Reading 181
Index 187


Harsh critique: I love a solid, 100% honest critique of my stuff, so here's one for the book:

One thing that bugged me a bit is how the book seems a bit short-sighted at times when talking about "major trends" - one specific example I can bring up is a large photo of a Roseate Spoonbill --- the text says something like "increasingly being found north of their usual range" --- whereas I can tell this Chapter was written in late 2009 or 2010 - because the Spring/Summer of 2009 had a surprising "irruption" of this species north of their usual range ---- which brought Ontario its first record in June 2009 ---- but hardly seems to be a "long-term" trend to me... Since I really don't think any pattern has continued into 2012........ It's not really a big deal, but was on my mind from time to time as I read through it..... 

Biggest peeve with the book: I REALLY don't like the cover illustration. I think its ugly...  The small digital copy above looks way better than the book I'm looking at.... 



So there's a look at the book! Obviously there is a lot more than what I've written, so if you're keen to read more, you'll have to grab a copy... The author does mention at the start that there really isn't anything to the term "better birder" or "expert birder" ... A great way to look at this book would be to say "here's some birding related things you can do to learn more and be active - instead of sitting inside watching TV"

If you approach it as a fun way to learn some new things surrounding birding, you will probably enjoy the book (especially if you enjoy reading)... And for $20, its not a bad idea.... Because lets be serious --- there really isn't much to the term "expert birder" --- more like, "birder with more spare time than others" !

So yeah! That's my take... If you've read it, let me know what you think!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Possibly my favourite Meadowhawk... Right up there with Black Meadowhawk... But anyways, my best Variegated Meadowhawk photos from this spring... Got to see a number of them thanks to the record setting insect migrations of 2012... Not as many photos as I would like, but enough to keep me happy...

Male on the beach at Pelee Island in early May... Taken with my "good" gear (300mm lens, Mark 4), so I'm very happy with the full-size quality (even though they usually don't look AS good at this small size)..

Female in April at Point Pelee (possibly the first one reported for the year?) All I know is, it confused the heck out of me at the time (seemed large)..... Anyways...