At the end of April, I made a trip up to the Carden Alvar with Josh and Barb to look for a Say's Phoebe with no luck, but did add some year birds!
On April 28 I headed down to Long Point to start what would end up being 4 months at this amazing place! During that time I was mostly working but also managed to get in a fair amount of birding and banding.
Leucistic White-throated Sparrow with a white head!
My first-banded Great Crested Flycatcher!
The view from the dyke at Old Cut
My first good looks at Prairie Warbler in Ontario
Eastern Whip-poor-will banded by Avery
I spent quite a bit of time on Hastings Drive, hoping for rare shorebirds/gulls/terns, and in doing so got a few interesting shots of Forster's Terns!
Clay-colored Sparrow pretending to be a Brown Creeper
In mid-May I made a weekend trip down to Point Pelee where there wasn't much around in terms of rarities but I had a good time nonetheless with Josh, Brett and Barb (and the many other people I met)!
We spent a bit of time in the afternoon looking for Five-lined Skinks with a fair bit of luck
Bonaparte's Gulls off the Tip
Orchard Orioles were everywhere!
A friendly Black-billed Cuckoo came to check us out
It was quickly followed by this Rose-breasted Grosbeak
My FOY Eastern Screech-Owl, a nice red morph
I couldn't resist a sunset shot of the windmills on the way back to Long Point
On May 19 we banded 145 birds between 2 people!
We caught a fair number of Gray-cheeked Thrushes
And a lot of Swainson's Thrushes for nice comparison
Good example of a second-year bird! Rose-breasted Grosbeak
This Yellow-breasted Chat was one of the late-spring highlights
On May 21 Barb, Tyler Hoar and I went for a jaunt around the north shore of Lake Erie, picking up this Snowy Egret in Dunnville, but missing the reported Laughing Gull
One of my daily stops on Hastings Drive yielded these 4 Whimbrel!
Connecticut Warblers are fairly rare in spring at Long Point, this day saw 3 at Old Cut! (1 banded)
Blackburnian Warblers are definitely one of my favourites
A radio-tagged bat that was found roosting during the day - this one is a Silver-haired
My main work this summer involved putting radio transmitters on Bank Swallows and then tracking their daily movements (foraging and roosting) - this is a freshly tagged adult ready for release - you can see the antenna if you look closely!
One of our study sites - note the capture devices in some of the burrows (cardboard tube with a bag on the end) - the swallows eventually crawl out of the burrows and fall into the bags, where we immediately transfer them to a cloth bag before banding, tagging, and releasing unharmed
One of our radio towers, detects the movements of the swallows
Adult Bank Swallow receiving a transmitter
Release! The transmitter and band are both visible in this photo
In late May a few Little Gulls appeared on Hastings, so naturally I decided to wade out to their sandbar for some photos - these 2 appeared to be a male/female pair in courtship (although they are both non-breeding second-year birds) - I'm guessing that the male is on the right in this photo
They are quite easy to pick out in flight!
More courtship behaviour? Any thoughts?
The (presumed) female was quite tame and allowed me to belly-crawl right up to her
Only to land a few feet away
The (male) immediately came to check out what was going on
They then sat there for a few minutes, allowing for a lot of pics
Eventually they'd had enough, and flew a little ways off at which point I decided to leave them alone!
Weird-looking gull - just a bleached Herring?
I spent a little bit of time doing macro photography (still without a macro lens), and liked how this one turned out (note the grains of sand)
One of the final days of banding for the spring - Northern Flicker
I took my camera out with me a few times to the Bank Swallow colonies, and on this day decided to get some in-burrow shots! This is a female brooding either young or eggs
Baby Bank Swallows!
These ones are slightly older
This is what the eggs look like, these ones were abandoned due to a bank collapse. Most of the burrows are 40-70cm deep, making photos difficult - these photos were all taken in burrows under 30cm!
Myles and I found a few Dickcissels over the summer, and managed to catch and band one male
I made a few weekend trips up to Guelph over the summer to add stuff to my Wellington list and do laundry - this Indigo Bunting was fairly cooperative (although he's only a second-year bird so not as nice-looking as the adults!)
Myles and Carolyn doing some exciting radio-tracking point surveys
We banded some Northern Mockingbird chicks one day
I caught this baby Killdeer and banded it - isn't it cute?
Mid-June turned up a Lesser Black-backed Gull on Hastings - not quite the Laughing I was hoping for
More Bank Swallows! This is how we do nest monitoring
While trying for some flight shots, I managed to photograph one of our transmitter birds!
This turned out to be my best one - manual focus!
We put some transmitters on juvenile Bank Swallows later in the season
Note the rusty edging to the feathers which tells them apart from adults quite easily when fresh
One of the many Dickcissels that were around this summer
In mid-July I went up to the Sault for my mom's birthday and managed to get some birding in - ended up with 130 species one day and 140 total for the weekend!
This herd of captive-bred Buffalo provided a good photo-op
Early August marked the beginning of banding season with a morning in Cambridge with Brett, where this Northern Waterthrush was my first banded bird since the spring!
Some flies on the deck in Guelph provided me with another macro opportunity
August 14 was my last day of work, and I spent the morning of August 15 at Old Cut getting lessons on fall aging/sexing!
Nice comparison of Least (left) and Yellow-bellied (right) Flycatchers - front
That afternoon I headed out to the Tip to begin my (awesome) 2 weeks of banding and birding adventures (and being cut off from civilization, internet, tv, etc)
A few young Eastern Wood-Pewees hung out by the block building every day
Young and old Bonaparte's Gulls hung out at the Tip
It was nice to see sunrise and sunset every day, this one was kind of weird though! If you look carefully you can see a sunspot in the yellow area! (not a speck of dust, this is in all my pics!)
Old male Blackburnian Warbler - looking a little different from the spring one above!
The lighthouse at the Tip was one of my favourite subjects in the 4 days I was there, I even sacrificed a few hours of sleep to get some nocturnal photos
August 17 was a great day, with this young female Prairie Warbler that I extracted being a definite highlight!
Adult male Cape May Warbler - I think fall warblers are just as nice as spring ones!
Least Sandpiper getting sandblasted
One of the other highlights from the 17th was this 2nd-cycle California Gull that I found in the morning while doing a lakewatch - James and I went back in the afternoon for better photos and had considerable luck! This is the 7th record for Long Point and the first one in August
Red-breasted Nuthatches are irrupting into Southern Ontario this year!
I saw Great Egrets pretty much every day!
The sunrise on my last morning at the Tip was pretty incredible!
Juvie Chipping Sparrows are kind of strange-looking
On August 19 I was transferred to Breakwater to run the station for 9 days, after getting nets set up in the afternoon this Orchard Oriole was the first bird banded for the fall at Breakwater! (and a banding tick for me)
My first-banded Bay-breasted Warbler
The view from the deck at Breakwater
Breakwater from the beach
Nice male Blue-winged Warbler
We befriended this baby Deer Mouse(?) and named him Stu
Our first Blackpoll Warbler of the fall - also quite different-looking compared to spring
Up close and personal with an Ovenbird
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have a painful bite - this one was a wimp though
Red-eyed Vireos are also surprisingly good biters!
Wilson's Warblers are nice and calm though
One day we had many warblers flying overhead, I managed to get only one decent shot though! This is a Cape May Warbler
I saw 3 Olive-sided Flycatchers during my time at Breakwater - only this one posed for photos though
This young Bald Eagle came to see me off!
On August 28 I headed back to Old Cut, and on the 29th I was in charge of running the place! We had a good morning for banding, with decent diversity and lots of warblers! Afterwards I hurriedly packed up and hopped in the truck, dropped a lot of my stuff off (including the truck) in Guelph, and carpooled with my mom up to the Sault via Sudbury and a detour to Presqu'ile to see the Thick-billed Kingbird!
My best shot with the 300mm - not quite as good as the cell phone/scope combo posted before!
I've been out birding every day I've been home, but that will have to wait for another post - I am headed back to Guelph tomorrow to start school on Thursday so it may have to wait till the weekend! We'll see...