Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One last SLAP of super-awesome birds in flight

Some of the ultimate highlights of watching birds in flight - the (somewhat) larger and uber-colourful stars! -

(this may be all I have until next May!)

You're welcome to turn this into a photo-quiz if you'd like!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Goldfinch with pigment problems...

While doing some butterfly work in SK - a goldfinch that really wasn't all that yellow. The photos aren't great, but it was an odd bird with a mix of white/gray and pastel yellow areas...

I wonder if it was a problem with the birds diet during molt? Or partial leucisim? Or? 

Poor photos - looked more striking in flight

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Quiz Answers!

To the one published on 16 July 2014!

1. Yellow-rumped Warbler
2. Cape May Warbler
3. Magnolia Warbler
4. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
5. Nashville Warbler
6. Blackburnian Warbler
7. Yellow-throated Vireo
8. Tennessee Warbler
9. Chestnut-sided Warbler
10. Blue-winged Warbler
11. Blackburnian Warbler
12. Dickcissel (female)

I hope everyone enjoyed that one! Kinda tough at times methinks...


Not sure if it's obvious or not, but I've been (totally) away for the better part of the month (and a solid part of June and May previously)...

Will hopefully get back to the emails etc sometime in August... Sorry for the delay! Hopefully lots of good photos to post upon my return.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spring 2014 ticks!

Spring 2013 Ticks: http://www.blog.peregrineprints.com/2013/08/pelee-2012-spring-ticks.html

Fall 2013 Tickshttp://www.blog.peregrineprints.com/2014/01/fall-2013-ticks.html

A recurring feature - ticks! (and not deer ticks, as shown above). As per the previous posts, I keep three lists of birds. Twice a year, I update those lists.

1. Ontario Life List

2. Ontario "Self Found" List

3. Ontario "Photographed" List


Then, once updated, I use the changes for a boring blog post! So what happened in 2014? - 

Greater White-fronted Goose - new for my "photo'd" list 

Mississippi Kite - new for my "photo'd" list (I already had a self-found bird, so that's why these things happen). 

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - new for my Ontario list, and new for my "photo'd" list 

This is a "hard one" - I sure didn't twitch it, but I also didn't "spot" it - so I can't count it as self-found either..

Blue Grosbeak - new for my "photo'd" list - 

In flight, no less!

Lazuli Bunting - a TRIPLE TICK ! Oh sweet, juicy goodness... The triple tick is where it's at... A self-found bird new for my Ontario list, that I also photographed! Ohhh yeahhh...

All Laz'd up! Too bad it wasn't a male... 

Brewer's Blackbird - new for my "photo'd" list... 

Western Meadowlark - also new for my "photo'd" list... 

The list updates:

Ontario - 377 !!!

Self found - 345

Photo'd - no idea'r 

(a new tick photo!) 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Recent "rare" reverse migrants - to go with the previous post

While preparing the previous post on "reverse migrants" - I thought the species included were a bit outlandish. Then I started noticing all of the rare species I've seen in just the past few years, and it didn't seem so crazy.

The (my) rough tally:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (2014)
Western Kingbird (2014)
Carolina Chickadee (2013) - this bird essentially flew right to the tip, even after being present for 3+ days, so I'd say it qualifies (it didn't fly out over the lake, but pretty much did what other do when they "circle back")
Prothonotary Warbler (2013, 2012)
Kirtland's Warbler (2011)
Yellow-throated Warbler (2013)
Summer Tanager (2 in 2014, 1 in 2013, 5+ in 2011)
Western Tanager (2011)
Blue Grosbeak (2014)
Lazuli Bunting (2014)
Dickcissel (3 in 2014, 2 in 2011)

I know there have been other goodies reported as well (that I wasn't around for) at other locations. White-winged Dove, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Western Meadowlark (any others?) - it's a pretty solid list.

One could also argue that MANY of the vagrants that arrive at Point Pelee are "reverse migrants" in their own right. I know I've had Fish Crow, Common Raven, Black Swift, Mississippi Kite, American White Pelicans, Snowy Egrets, and probably a few other species that were essentially migrating southwards down the tip of Point Pelee...

Long story short, it's pretty exciting...

There are a number of species that I haven't mentioned - that are very much on my radar. Bell's Vireo, Lark Bunting, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, "other" rare Kingbirds, Say's Phoebe, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend's Solitaire, the "western" Warblers, Brewer's Sparrow, Scott's Oriole, Bronzed/Shiny Cowbirds....

There are so many other gem's to be found as well. For example, just imagine how confusing it would be to get a pigment-challenged Baltimore Oriole (male) to fly off? (eg,/ bright Yellow or Red?), a hybrid Warbler? More exotic birds? (I once had a Greenfinch at Pelee in April, flying south towards the tip).

And so much more!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Top 10 - Most Wanted - Reverse Migrants

Editor's Note:  to provide some colour here, I've taken photos of the new Sibley Guide (of each species, the flight drawings), and cropped them down... They all looked a bit odd flying to the right, so I inverted the images, allowing them to fly to the left - as one would view them early in the morning at one of our famous Lake Erie birding destinations


Over the past few years, watching "reverse migrants" at the tip of Point Pelee (or Fish Point) has become one of my absolute favourite forms of birding. As we get better at it, the rares have been falling into place. Naturally, I want more now! More!!!

So here it is, my ultimate wish list for birds to see (someday) in this manner (standing on a sand point!). It is a combination of predicted likeness, ease of identification and overall provincial rarity. Along with a few that are just species that I have a particular fondness for...


10. Black-headed Grosbeak (male)

A big orange (and mega rare) Grosbeak? I'll take it! 

9. White-winged Dove

A bit of a nemesis bird for me (a bit = understatement) - I'm really hoping the streak ends when one of these striking beauties flies right over my head one May at the tip of Pelee (or Island)

8. Vermillion Flycatcher (male)

Is this species even a candidate? I sure hope so... 

7. Black-capped Vireo

The fabled Long Point bird showed up in a net, but a reverse migrant would be pretty exciting. I feel like it is a very exciting combination of a distinctive, yet still challenging, appearance to ID in flight. 

6. Lesser Goldfinch (male)

Finches seem prone to this reverse migration thing, with Purple, House and Goldfinch often showing up at various points in time (even when they seem to be nearly absent in the woods) - a male Lesser Goldfinch is a primo mega, and those little white wing flashes would greatly aid in detecting one! 

5. Painted Redstart

Is there any other species that could match the excitement of a (hypothetical) Painted Redstart in the Great Lakes? (Maybe #3?) - a truly stunning bird that is the definition of MEGA. Michigan actually has a spring record (4 May) which shows that it is fully possible to get as a reverse migrant. 

4. Great-tailed Grackle (male)

The flair all comes down to the tail here. Great-tailed Grackle seems like a species that should occur more regularly in the Great Lakes region (to me)... Blackbirds are the token birds of "reverse migrations" - often doing little more than "getting in the way" while we search for colourful gems. A male Great-tailed Grackle would be an incredible (colourless) sight. 

3. Fork-tailed Flycatcher (any!)

It's a stunning South American flycatcher with a massive tail, widely regarded as a "grail bird" for birders in North America. Check! 

2. Hooded Oriole (male)

Unlike the previous two, this is a species more true to the "reverse migration" feel. The name of the game is typically looking for colourful neotropic birds, and a male Hooded Oriole has all that and more. Bullock's Oriole is another likely selection, but this one gains bonus points for being more exotic. Can you imagine? 

1. Painted Bunting (male)

Oh yeah... It's exotic, it has amazing colour, it is reallly distinctive, and it actually occurs pretty often in the Great Lakes! I give you - the Painted Bunting! An adult male would take the cake, but the only thing I'm left wondering is - would one actually take part in a "reverse migration"? Or do they love their secretive ground-dwelling haunts too much to join in on the fun? Given the huge numbers of Indigo Buntings we see each May - I'm counting down the days (years?) until one with a striking red belly flies overhead. 


There it is! What species would you add to your own list?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Random things seen far afield!!!!

Just a (random, common) taste of things to come! I had a blast in the Prairies recently! 

Prairie Doves!


Baby Common Nighthawks!!!

Western Painted! 

Looking forward to (someday) editing the "good" photos!