Sunday, September 30, 2012

50 days of rare: last technical stuff before straight up birding?




From the Zodiac on the 28th - only Jaeger of the day 



Ok, so instead of getting people mad at me, I dragged some of the original members of this "contest" into a "board of directors", so you can blame them as well.... Some things:


--- You've got to blog, to be a part of the contest... Jacob had a great post yesterday on the subject as well - it isn't "fun" for everyone to follow along (and be a part of it) - if no one knows any sort of story behind your birding!  

Making a blog is pretty easy, and I've also created a blog specifically for the next 50 days:


Anyone who wants to play along, but refuses to make their own blog, can use this one (it will be deleted after Nov 20th-ish)... Email me: about how YOU can post to the above blog, from your own email address, and take part.. Then others can read what you're up to!


--- For sure we're sticking with 50 days.. Don't want it too long ;)


--- No subspecies, so Josh's Harlan's Hawk doesn't count! Why? We don't want Josh to be ahead already, and besides, he's going a big year, and needs the pressure to find something "real" anyways ;)


--- Great Lakes region only for the "official" contest... Anyone can do a "50 days of rare" --- and maybe some areas will start their own "winner/prize thing" --- (CT/NE?), but in terms of judging "rarity" - we'll keep it to States and Provinces that have some Great Lakes real estate available.. 


============================


OK! Now this is going to be the last time I write details about this thing.. I've spent more time answering emails and writing blog posts over the last two days - than I have birding!




Saturday, September 29, 2012

50 days of rare: more official plan?



SO apparently this silly idea is actually pretty popular!


Some people who have expressed interest in joining up:


Ken Burrell -  http://kenburrell.blogspot.ca/  ON

Josh Vandermeulen -  http://joshvandermeulen.blogspot.ca/  ON

Jim Pawlicki - ? - NY

Alan Wormington - ? - ON

Adam Timpf - http://adamtimpf.blogspot.ca/ - ON

David Bell - http://ssmbirding.blogspot.ca/ - ON

Tim Baerwald - http://utsj.blogspot.ca/   - MI

Skye Haas - http://theowlranch.blogspot.ca/  MI - UP .... Going to use that old blog for this??

Jen Brumfield -  http://www.northnw.wordpress.com    OH

Alvan Buckley - http://alvanbuckley.blogspot.ca/ -  ON

Greg Neise   ?   IL

Drew Weber   ?   NY

Ben Fritchman   ?    WI

Jacob Bruxer -  ?  ON

Did I miss anyone? Anyone else want to join?

=========


Some notes: the initial goal was to get some regular bloggers in on the fun by posting where they were going birding, their "goals" on what to find, and post their eventual sightings (even the common stuff).. Why? Because your local listserv is NOT the place for daily bird sightings (at least, ontbirds isn't), but sometimes they're still fun to read...

Although now we have multiple people who want to play - but don't have blogs? I guess it isn't a requirement, but it sure would be fun to be able to follow along with where everyone is birding, and what they're seeing...

It isn't very hard to make one (and you can post on it for the next few weeks, then let it go dormant, right?) Check out www.blogger.com if you're interested..


=========


The goal: encourage birding and rarity hunting around our large inland bodies of water... Including all the Great Lakes and James Bay...

Winner: we'll pick a winner based on who finds the rarest bird... To answer some recent questions:

--- How do we pick the rarest? --- Hopefully someone just finds something epic and its obvious... If we have a problem beyond that, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!

--- who is winning so far?---  No one, because no one has really found anything crazy...

--- what happens if no one finds anything rare? --- then we all get chopped up and used as chum...


--- can we change the dates? --- A few people have pointed out that rarity season extends beyond November 14th, and have asked that we extend the date into December..

My personal take is to leave it at 50 days... Still fair since everyone has the same days... And then it isn't TOO long... Rarity season here in Ontario usually starts around August 23rd anyways, so the case could be made to extend it the other direction as well...

Another problem would be the goal of meeting at the Niagara River in November for a dinner and to (somewhat jokingly) crown the winner. The weekend of Nov 17/18th or 24/25 would be PRIME gull season when most of (originally, ON and NY) birders would already be going down there for birding...

--- what's the prize? --- prize originally was a mickey of booze from everyone else playing + bragging rights.. Although I'm not sure if this changes with so many people playing from farther flung places???


So what does everyone think? Would you rather change the dates? Or leave them? (we could always make changes next year, if this thing continues - which people have expressed interest in already).. .Any other comments/questions?? Who else wants to play??




=================================================================

To tidy this beauty up, here are some photos from the zodiac on Sep 27th!  (rather quick and poor edits, but very much blog worthy):


The name of the game - sub-adult PAJA (3rd alt?) getting a RBGU to cough up some food..



Better look at the same bird


Two (of 3) juv Lesser Black-backed Gulls that we tamed, and followed us around in the boat at close range 


1st juv Pomarine - stole some bread from a RBGU, ate it, then immediately coughed it back up as if it was totally disgusted... 


Sabine's found floating waay offshore feeding on a "junk line" 


This Juv Little Gull was directly associating with the above Sabines... Probably rarer in Hamilton than all the Jaegers and Sabines... Only in Hamilton can you see 2 Sabine's and 1 Little Gull before any Bonaparte's... 


2nd Juv Pomarine...  Right overhead... 



Worst photo of the day award goes to the juv Long-tailed Jaeger we had



~15 Common Terns was very high for Hamilton in late Sept, yet no Arctics.. I really thought we'd easily get ARTE from the zodiac when I first got it... None yet... 


Striking adult Parasitic with HUGE tail streamers



Another look at the full adult PAJA - almost no white on the underwing, cold toned plumage, probably a LTJA x PAJA hybrid right? 



Not a bad day! 






Weather Network Photos STRIKE AGAIN!


Got to post these beauties:


If you took this in mexico, don't upload it to Ontario! (Gave me a heart attack):

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7694188/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search


Hey! Weren't you listening?

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7726532/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search


Well at least we knew about this one:

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7623556/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search


But we didn't know about this one:

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7758210/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search


And we really didn't know about this one.....................

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7697412/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search



=======================

Freakin weather network photos... I tell ya!


Here's some other non rarities:


My favourite bird!:

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7653584/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search

Pretty cool:

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7697634/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search

Leucistic House Sparrow I presume:

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7810274/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search


Chip! Chip! Where's Chip?

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7816502/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search

Photoshop gone wrong??

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7856226/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search

Funny:

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7800360/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search

Cool:

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7811614/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search

American or....... ?

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/20461/7826322/Ontario/upload/0?ref=ugc_yourweather_search



==================================================

Zodiac yesterday was surprisingly poor, possibly due to the dreaded SE wind situation... Only 1 Parasitic Jaeger (adult) to show for our efforts...

Maybe next time?


Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 3



Boy I still haven't answered any emails etc.. Here's why --- Woke up early (7:30am is early, right?) and went for a zodiac adventure with Barb Wire! (Barb Charlton)...

To start the day off, I threw some bread at shore to appease the gull gods - then we zipped out to the deep.. Bad idea I guess because apparently right as we were leaving a Franklin's Gull came in.. Whoops...

It was calm early, so we did some deep-lake exploration... Virtually nothing right until the end (maybe 8-10km offshore) - where we eventually found some junk floating on the water and had 2 juvenile Sabine's and 1 juvenile Little Gull feeding among it. 10 Common Terns flew over here as well...

===

Return to shore for a quick break around 1 (I think) - then we started tossing bread -  which was quite productive... Lots of documentation style photos of Jaegers... No time for photos now (fell asleep at 8:30 last night, and now I need to get ready for more birding today)... Here's the ebird checklist:




HSA - off shore zodiac trip - VWB area, Hamilton, CA-ON
Sep 27, 2012 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments: with Brandon Holden - in his zodiac. Photos of many of the birds seen taken by Brandon
25 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose X
American Black Duck 1
Mallard 5
Northern Pintail 30
Green-winged Teal 14
Greater Scaup 1
White-winged Scoter 12
Long-tailed Duck 1
Common Loon 5
Double-crested Cormorant X
Sanderling 3
Sabine's Gull 3 all juvs
Bonaparte's Gull 2
Little Gull 1 dark juv
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Lesser Black-backed Gull 3 3 juvenile birds seen together
Common Tern 12
Pomarine Jaeger 2
Parasitic Jaeger 2 adult and sub adult
Long-tailed Jaeger 1
jaeger sp. 5
Peregrine Falcon 2
Horned Lark 1

Thursday, September 27, 2012

50 days of rare: day 2 recap



My rarest bird of the day: Pied-billed Grebe in a pond on hwy 6 (while I was driving to work for a meeting).. .

Yeah, I didn't go birding at all... And worse, it looks like I'm no longer in the lead for the big event with Josh V's Nelsons Sparrow/Lesser Black-backed Gull (in North Bay!) duo... Anyone top that yesterday??


==================


Looking forward: Western Lake Ontario Marine Forecast!



Wind light becoming northwest 15 knots this evening then diminishing to northeast 10 before morning. Wind becoming light near noon Thursday.

Friday     Wind light.
Saturday     Wind light.
Sunday     Wind light.



--- you know what that says to me?! --- I'll tell you... Boat Boat Boat Boat! 


Maybe not theeee best way to turn up a real CMF, but hopefully great photos of jaegers will keep me happy 


===================


Check out the birds of Quebec website for some epic CMF photos as well! 

Fork-tailed Fly:


What a BEAUTY..... 




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

50 days of rare: Day 1 breakdown



Yesterday was the start of it all! I had every intention of doing a marathon visit to Port Burwell/Stanley in strong SW winds... Didn't happen, because I decided to wait around home that morning to see if the Spotted Redshank was re found.... It wasn't refound, and I didn't start birding until noon...


Decided to do a poor-mans SW wind birding day, with the Niagara River on tap...

First stop:  Queenston docks:

A handful of Cormorants, a few Turkey Vultures (no Blacks, not that they would count anyways, but nice to see!), a few Bonaparte's and surprising numbers of juv Common Terns...


Adam Beck: not much at all! (not surprising, but figured I'd stop since I was already there)


Above/below the falls:

Below: - lots of gulls and corms below the falls, but nothing of note... They're still running the boats (when does that stop?) which would probably scare off any cool ducks anyways...

Control Gates: 1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.. Again, good numbers of birds..

Above the falls: lots of birds to be seen! Had Wigeon, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Pintail, C Mergies, A Coot, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Great Egret...

I ended up spending over an hour studying some (probable) American Black Ducks, maybe they had some Mallard genes in them (nothing obvious though like curly tail feathers or green heads), but they seemed funny and had obvious white above and below the speculum.... Makes Mottled Duck ID seem very confusing to me... Anyways, it was fun, but not rarity-productive..

Best birds here was another adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and a "Juvenile/1st basic" Lesser Black-backed Gull.... It looked like it had begun molting in some 1st ba feathers on the mantle, but it wasn't close enough to be 100% postive.. Couldnt turn it into a Yellow-legged Gull - even though it was really nice and frosty.....


My real goal was to reach Fort Erie on the SW winds and see what was milling about, but instead I went home to grab a friend from the train station to drink beer and throw darts.. Not exactly "Mega Rare or Die Trying" - but hey, I'm just getting warmed up...




Monday, September 24, 2012

Intoxicated Spotted Redshank Report



Redshank sure looks good considering the weather and location. Redshanks enjoy ugly shorebird habitat with garbage from what I can tell... Great storm just passed... Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in NY fairly close... it's close enough that I can wait for a positive report before trying to break land speed records....


=========================

50 days of Rare competition comments:


Alan: Start a blog, and using ebird, and you're in ;)



Adam: I may try to poach on your area if I get the chance ;) Glad you're in!



Nick: Join in! A great bird in CT could easily steal the show... The only real goal here is to have fun and find mega, right?!


David: you're in! It only takes one bird...


Tim: oh goodness, the Lake Michigan rarity hunting machine is now in on the challenge..... Fair warning to everyone else.......


Alvan: join in as well! Laurel Creek sleeper pick?!



========================


Just for the hell of it, I might as well plan to go to Cape Henrietta Maria on Sept 30th.... Recent history suggests that if I make serious birding plans, something cosmic will be reported and will totally screw up my plans anyways! So yeah


50 days of rare: Competition!? We doin this?!




 Josh Vandermeulen? (anyone ever notice I always spell his name wrong? Sorry Josh) Ken-tucky Burrell?

Maybe Jim Pawlicki? (eh Jim?) Maybe Mike "Happy" Burrell??



A little friendly discourse with Jim (trying to get him to start blogging... peer pressure people - we can make it happen!) turned into the idea of some friendly competition when it comes to "rarity season this fall"

50 days of rare - the competition!


Best bird found over the 50 day period wins pretty much the best prize possible: bragging rights and booze.


Punkbirder self found rules apply: http://punkbirder.webs.com/selffoundrules.htm


General rule of thumb (I think) is to have a blog and post your plans for future birding, methods, results, photos etc......  That just makes it more fun!


I also think we're going to use some discretion on just exactly what the "rarest" bird is... A Long-tailed Jaeger in Buffalo is considerably more interesting than on Lake Ontario.. Just as a Wheatear in the south would easily beat out a Wheatear on James Bay...

But hopefully someone just finds some insane CMF that clearly steals the show!



So yeah, for sure Josh and Ken are in on this... Anyone else? Maybe we'll put together some sort of dinner at Niagara (post-gull watching) later in November to award the winner and give out the prizes!



Sunday, September 23, 2012

50 days of rare: Where do I go first?


50 Days of Rare: vagrant hunting... T-minus 2 days..




Looks like this past weather system brought some sweet birds with it:


-- Mud-wit on Lake Ontario - Oshawa

--- Report of a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (!) on Lake ON in New York

--- at least 13 Franklin's Gulls in Ohio on Lake Erie (+ a Red Phal)

--- Pacific Loon and Red Phal at Pelee

--- Avocet at Dunnville 

--- Black-headed Gull in NY (on Lake ON)

--- Dark Ibis continue on Lake Erie in Michigan and Ohio

--- Piping Plover on Lake MI (IL)

==========

A pretty healthy dose! Got to love those low pressure sytems... And to be honest, the "return of the wind" has me pretty damn excited right now...


Here's the wind for the next six days in Burlington:

Monday: SW 25kmh

Tuesday: SW 30kmh  

Wed: NW 20kmh

Thurs: NE 15kmh

Fri: NE 10kmh

Sat: E 25kmh


My rarity hunting starts Tuesday, 30kmh SW winds.... Sounds like Lake Erie to me! My goal is Port Burwell and Port Stanley --- probably for several hours... Best way to find rarities (in my opinion) is to look.. Less time driving, more time watching!  You never know what will fly past as well, and if that Brown Pelican is still on Lake Erie - maybe its due for a stop at Stanley..

Wednesday: hawkwatching is always fun, but seems low on rarities in Ontario... I also have a meeting to attend for work at 2pm, so I'll busy myself by checking some local spots like Mountsberg or Cootes if I find the time... Maybe Woodland Cemetery at dawn - if I don't have to do a morning survey for work...

Thursday: looks like a zodiac day to me! Probably have better chance of spotting rarities on shore than in the boat (other than Phalaropes), but I can't say no to the chance at photographs

Friday: Did you see what I said for Thursday? Obviously we are looking pretty far into the future, and it could easily change, but I'm very hopeful for some boat time..

Saturday: getting a bit strong for the zodiac! Way back on Oct 3, 2010 I had Arctic Tern, Pomarine, Brant, Kittiwake etc - only a few days different than Sep 29 --- so maybe we'll get some great "later-season" pelagics?


=============================

Other notes: those are probably the best choices for me personally, but this time of year, there are other great options.

Niagara River + Fort Erie: on a SW Wind, can be very much worth a look this time of year...

Shorebirds: still mega rare possible - sewage lagoons, beaches, marshes and rocky points could be checked any days.. Will check when I get the chance

Pelee: I love pelee on an east or NE  wind, BIG TIME - I just never get down there, mainly due to my greater love of Jaegers..  SW winds are good too, along with N winds for hawkwatching

Never mind that generic "passerine vagrant hunting" at superb geographic locations and good habitat... You just gotta keep looking (and looking and looking) for these gems...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

50 days of rare - it's almost time




After not really playing the rarity-finding game for several months, I started to get the urge back... So what's the plan?

Well 50 days of rare! Of course...

Nothing like a little extra added flare to keep ones self motivated, I figured I would create a bit of a "doo" for the blog... 50 days of intensive rarity searching, in the peak fall period of Sep 25 to Nov 14th! Where I'll hopefully get out most days, and post the results of my searching (plus post some predictions and theory about upcoming days)

So what's the goal?



The goal is "mega rare"... And I don't mean Pacific Loon rare... I don't mean Gannet rare... We're talking "less than 10 records" rare... 



I've spent the past week "up north" working on Lake Superior... Returning home late on the 23rd, I figure I will use the 24th to get prepared. Then it all begins!

And hopefully its all worth it! I'm actually painfully waiting for a chance to buy a condo as well, so I figured this will help pass the time ;) 

What do you think? Good idea? Can one simply find "mega rare" just by "trying harder"? Or is it all about luck with birds like this!? Of course I fully hope and expect to find just plan "rare" from time to time over the course of this little adventure. Not only birds, but hopefully some rare insects as well... Only one thing to do, check out the blog for updates!





Friday, September 21, 2012

Pelee Island Lep Photos



Edited some Pelee Island Lep pictures from my trip in August:


Painted Lady! Not a bad year for this species...



Orange Sulphur ! Yes a common species, but I don't really have many pics, so I decided to take a few when the light was sweet... 


Giant Swallowtail! I loves me them swallowtails... 


Hopefully I'll get more done, before too long!





Thursday, September 20, 2012

Random Butterfly pics from 2012



Just a couple of random lep pics that don't currently have a home:



Peck's Skipper from my parents yard.. They had a bit of a colony this year... 




Cherry Gall Azure!? - I called this a Cherry Gall back in late May, because it looked fresh and wasn't a summer... Although I don't really understand Azures anyways.... 





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Common Tern pics



From my limited time in the zodiac so far in 2012...



I'm not sure if I'm sold on this one or not.. I like the boat, but I feel like its still an ugly pic... hmm....



I actually uploaded them to my "Common Tern" page already.. Poor website has felt neglected recently...






Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Long-tailed Jaeger documentation - august


4 documentation photos of the Long-tailed Jaeger Josh V and I had from the Zodiac on August 29.... Was the same day as the Thick-billed Kingbird, so not a bad 1-2 punch! Anyone else say they've had these species on the same day before?!







Photos were uploaded to my picasa ID galleries, to the "Long-tailed Jaeger page" 


Link here to all the galleries: https://picasaweb.google.com/117329578255897846071



Monday, September 17, 2012

OFO weekend was great!!!



Had an exceptional amount of fun at the OFO convention this weekend (Presqu'ile edition) - weather was some of the nicest we've had in 2012, and the actual convention part was very successful (as far as I could tell)!

I drove out with Kentucky, and met up with most of his family contingency.. Along with the digimaster and his ladyfriend...



Some of the birding:

Saturday we hit up one of my favourite places: The Point Petre area in extreme southern Prince Edward County.. Given the weather, the birding was slower than expected, but still extremely pleasant..

Many thanks to Mike for doing some ebird lists for us:

Hawks were really good at Point Petre:

http://ebird.org/ebird/canada/view/checklist?subID=S11594405

Nearby Charwell Point is also very enjoyable for birding, and we hit it up, stopping along the road first:

http://ebird.org/ebird/canada/view/checklist?subID=S11594408

Then the point itself, which was lacking a bit in waterbirds, but had great habitat:

http://ebird.org/ebird/canada/view/checklist?subID=S11594409


Sunday was a few quick stops around Presqu'ile before Ken tucky and I headed for home:

Owen Point was hopping early:

http://ebird.org/ebird/canada/view/checklist?subID=S11595101

The lighthouse seemed active as well, but also enjoyable was chatting with several people:

http://ebird.org/ebird/canada/view/checklist?subID=S11595102

(if you aren't using ebird, you should start! It's awesome!)



Quick edit of a Variegated Frit... Our B-fly highlights by far! Had a Red Saddlebags at Prince Edward County too... 


=======================


The convention dinner at Coburg was pretty sweet! Portions were a bit small, but the drinks were a great supplement. The "Business" aspect of the convention was very very popular as delivered by Robert Maciver, along with some of the astonishing things that Jim Richards has accomplished (the distinguished ornithologist)...

Mike Runtz was the main speaker for the evening, with a wicked combination of incredible photographs, an enlightening talk about birds, and a heavy dose of stand-up comedy... One of the best talks for an OFO convention ever, I'm sure!


=======================

Also had the chance to talk to numerous friends and new faces while Ken and I manned a table for the OBRC prior to the dinner! I think it went really well, as we informed people about what we do, showed off some examples of reports and documents, had a few cool specimens (Thanks to Ron Ridout and Bird Studies Canada) and discussed some new methods to document rarities.

One of my favourites, although I didn't use it very much, was my "real-time" OBRC report video, which I made for the Common Teal at Hillman back in March (video):


I can really see this type of thing becoming more popular in the future when it comes to documentation of rarities, and hopefully something we start seeing more with the OBRC and submissions!


Anyways, how was your OFO weekend? I'm going away for the week (work), but the weather is slowly looking more and more exciting as we get into the fall season !!! By the time I get back, 50 days of rare will start soon!






Sunday, September 16, 2012

Super Typhoon Sanba


Super Typhoon Sanba

Was the strongest tropical storm on the planet over the past few years, back on Sep 13...

Some imagery: 




Cat 5 monster


280kmh winds in the eye wall 


What a beauty! 

===============


Looks like a cool down in the next 5-6 days:



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Worthy of its own post!



After doing 2 "fall" trips and 1 "summer" trip to James Bay, and only having one day of really good north winds (summer, of all times), I thought this was worth of its own post:


https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4660423272292.186755.1344727060&type=3&l=8eaed28991



Photos from newfoundland of tropical storm Leslie as it came ashore... Winds so strong, it forced SKUA'S inland against their will!


----------------------


Some limited Leslie birding was posted on the nf.birds group:



Looks like it brought some passerines as well..


Thursday, September 13, 2012

OFO convention this weekend!



Presqu'ile Park! (of Thick-billed Kingbird fame) will be having the OFO convention this weekend.... Are you going?

I am! Ken tucky and I are going to be manning a table at the convention (pre-dinner) for the OBRC! So come on down and tell us exactly how you feel about the OBRC, and ways to make it better! We'll also have a few cool props like ways to doccument rarities, some skins, photos etc!


I hear Happy is also going to be manning an ebird table! This is going to be an OFO convention like never before! I hope to see a lot of fellow birders down there :)


=========================


Not much else news to report... A&W sent me a cool newspaper link about the Kelp Gull ...

http://www.leamingtonpost.ca/2012/09/13/rare-bird-spotted-in-wheatley

I mean sure, it sounds like this was written for an english class assignment in GRADE TWO over at Leamington elementary, but its still pretty good... And I must say, REOW!! To that good looking fellow on the far right of the photo in the sunglasses (oh wait, that's me!)







Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Townsend S.L. - Sep 12, 12


Say WHAAT?! Birding?!

I checked out Port Dover... A few Caspian Terns were the highlight...

I also checked out Townsend Sewage Lagoons.. Highlight was 2 Eared Grebes:





One has been around for quite a while, but I think this is the first time this fall that 2 have been seen here... 


Ebird Checklist from the site: 


Townsend Sewage Lagoons, Haldimand, CA-ON
Sep 12, 2012 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments: 2 EAGR. 1 Previously reported here for several days back into August
31 species

Canada Goose 50
Mute Swan 1
Wood Duck 5
American Wigeon 2
American Black Duck 3
Mallard 85
Blue-winged Teal 25
Northern Shoveler 100 yup
Green-winged Teal 8
Ruddy Duck 5
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Eared Grebe 2 adult joined by prob juvenile bird
Double-crested Cormorant 12
Great Blue Heron 4
Green Heron 3
Killdeer 10
Lesser Yellowlegs 3
Least Sandpiper 3
Pectoral Sandpiper 2
Ring-billed Gull 8
Mourning Dove 2
Eastern Kingbird 1
American Crow 2
Tree Swallow 200
Bank Swallow 30
Barn Swallow 100
European Starling X
American Pipit 6
Vesper Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 2
========================




Just practicing for the 50 days of rare coming up  !



Pelee Island Skippers...




Back from my trip to Pelee Island... Finally got around to editing a few pics...




Common Checkered Skipper --- what a beaut eh? 



Fresh Fiery Skipper ... I noticed a LOT of variation in how the males looked, after seeing hundreds... 


More to come!




Monday, September 10, 2012

Kelp Gull? For the love of god... I just want to go out in my boat!



But instead I've got to drive to freakin Wheatley Harbour to look for a Kelp-ish like freak gull this evening...


Not happening in 2012 so far...... 



I guess if I want to find something rare, I'm going to have to go birding.. Starting Sept 24th probably, since I'm busy with work.... 

====================

Side Note: previous records of Kelp Gull from Texas, Colorado, Maryland, Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, and nearby Mexico + tropical islands....... 









=============

Probable Kelp Hybrids:





=======

Article on hybrids in LA: http://www.aba.org/birding/v37n3p266.pdf



=====================

Prediction: If its still here, it'll show up in the afternoon - when gulls usually start to build in numbers at Wheatley.....


=====================

Scary thought: I didn't want to publish this, but I'm going to........ Hurricane Isaac traveled through the Caribbean and hit Louisiana.... That's Kelp Gull territory as far as North America is concerned....

And even though I said it wouldn't bring anything (HA, whoops) there was also this beauty of a Shearwater on Lake Michigan at the same time:






Sunday, September 9, 2012

Funktato Ground Raptors + RARES this week!!!



This epic cold front seems to have done the trick and brought some rarities with it... Reports of grounded shorebirds + Jaegers are starting to trickle in (Saturday evening), along with word of some rarities...

Townsend's Warbler (probable) - at Magee Marsh, OH

Great Shearwater - Like Michigan in MI (probable)

Brown Pelican - was seen last week on Lake Erie again, this time in Ohio (twice)

--- Not to mention some CMF's that are still lurking around the great lakes prior to the front like Frigatebird and Sandwitch Tern.....




---- Starting Monday, some high pressure will fall into place, making for some beautiful days to get out and spot some rarities... Either recent storm blown, or just hidden gems that have been lurking for a while!


=====================================


Funktato Ground Raptors!!!

In the same day last week, I had a few "Ground Raptors" throw me for a loop.. First up to bat:



Yup, thats a HAHA.. Down on Lake Erie, eating grasshoppers... If it wasn't wearing such lovely jewelry, I would almost consider counting it ;) 

I wonder how annoying it would be to do falconry, only to watch it fly away and never return?? And I wonder if it'll eventually fly over one of the Erie hawkwatches??


Next up to bat is the rare "ground falcon":


On a sod field south of the Hammer, on the dirt... No bands and funny look, made me wonder if its a rare "anatum" bird..... 

Both of these birds in the same day!!! I guess I'm slowly awakening from my birding slumber and am now paying my dues towards something mega.... 





Saturday, September 8, 2012

Funktacular butterfly




Does it get any sweeter than White-M Hairstreak? I had one a few days ago on Lake Erie south of the Hammer...







Was in better shape than the beast I had on Pelee Island a few days/weeks ago... This time I also took a video showing off how spectacular the blue is (on the upperside of the wings)... Very much worth the watch in my humble opinion:


Click on it a few times to watch it on youtube, where you can make the screen bigger! Easily one of my all-time favourite butterflies.... 


=====================================



Sat view of storms from this morning (Sep 8).. 

Some beautiful low pressure passing on through this weekend.. High pressure will settle into place Monday for most of the week, making lovely rarity-finding weather... I may even get out in the zodiac a few times if the forecast holds, which would be awesome, since I've hardly taken a photo from the boat this year!