Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Western Grebe, etc

I was sitting at home on the computer yesterday morning, fairly bored and checking the weather - crap, basically summed it up - so I decided to go birding. Here are some pics to tell the story:

First stop was Mountsberg CA, where there were a few ducks, some warblers, and a lot of cold swallows pushed down by the rain and snow

Nearby were some Northern Flickers displaying to one another, which was pretty cool

I spent about 15 minutes trying to get flight shots of swallows in less-than-perfect light, pretty much to no avail

I did manage to get a new 'photographed' species though - Cliff Swallow

The swallows really didn't feel like moving when it started raining/snowing

I then got a text from Barb saying there was a Western Grebe down at Van Wagner's Beach in Hamilton, so I immediately went back to the truck and headed over there! When I got there, it was waiting in the scope for me - this is what happens when you put a 70mm lens up to a scope...

And to compare, this was taken with my cellphone (and its crappy 1.3MP camera), through the same scope at the same magnification (60x)

And some heavy crops of the bird with my 300mm lens from about 100 feet or so away

Which do you think turned out the best?

This Iceland gull provided some added entertainment, edited a bit to exaggerate the feeling of stormy weather

There were quite a few Caspian Terns floating around as well, along with a couple Common and a single Forster's

 Since I had some time, I went over to LaSalle marina to see if the King Eider was still around, and I found this interesting male Black Duck x Mallard hybrid with no green in the head...backcross maybe?

The King Eider was indeed there, although he didn't want to come anywhere close enough for good pics. I did hear him call a few times though which was pretty cool!

It'll be interesting to see if he sticks around all summer - I predict hundreds of photos of a stunning male King Eider next winter if he does

Hermaphrodite Mallard, more pronounced than the one I found in the Sault back in the winter

Afterward I headed to a few other spots around Wellington County, found a lot more swallows and spotted this Red-tailed Hawk right beside the road - he didn't stick around for more photos though

Anyway, it was a pretty good day with 84 species in a couple hours (in the rain and snow, no less), and I added 6 new ones for Wellington - now only 35 from my goal of 200!

This morning I biked over to the Arb to try to add some things to the Bigby list, found a Black-throated Green Warbler and some House Wrens but not a whole lot else - was nice to get outside in the sunshine for a bit though!


Brandon Holden said...

nice shots! The ICGU worked out really well..

Also hadn't seen any pics of the King Eider for a while.. Amazing how much it has changed!

ljb said...

You are most definitely making the best of your week between exams and work big guy. Hugs, Mom