Friday, May 31, 2013

Pelee photos pt. 2

My lifer Henslow's Sparrow.

First thing in the morning it sat up nicely for us, a little distant though - even sang once or twice!

It was still being seen later in the day so we went back and had it crawling around at our feet for about an hour, at times it was too close for my 4.5-foot close focus!!! Here is a shot of it's mouse-like behaviour.

And one that shows how secretive they are.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pelee photos pt. 1

I've discovered going through a small number of photos and choosing one I like to edit is a pretty manageable way to sift through the masses from Pelee, so that's what I'll be doing (hopefully daily) for the next while!

I've been working on photographing the butterflies I encounter, trying to get pics of all the species I see! Seems to be a slightly easier task than with birds, although they can be quite challenging sometimes. Here's my first Spring Azure shot that I like.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pelee Stats

Since my last post I have been kept pretty busy between dawn-to-dusk birding at Pelee, a quick trip home to recharge and repack my stuff, and now work. That's my excuse for the lack of postings anyway. Now that I am fairly settled in here I will try to go through the 5500+ photos I took at Pelee (plus a few since!) and post a few on here, hopefully daily for the next little while!

Before I get into the boring stats of my Pelee trip, an update: I'm now in Deep River until the end of June, working at the Petawawa Research Forest for the Canadian Institute of Forestry and the Canadian Forest Service, doing point counts for birds in the early morning (4am wakeup times suck), and tree plots in the late morning/early afternoon. Combined with a 20-min commute each way and a lunch break, I get home in the mid-afternoon sometime, just in time to do emails, cook dinner and go to bed! Oh, and the bugs are pretty horrendous here, hopefully they die off sometime soon... If I end up having any days off (which I may or may not), I plan on doing a bit of birding in Eastern Ontario, and maybe chasing that Lapwing that's been hanging out north of Montreal (if it sticks...).

Now, on to some Pelee stats (pics to come when I get some edited).

Days: 18 (afternoon of April 28 - morning of May 16)

Nights I slept in my car: 6 (thanks Barb and Brandon for putting me up!)

Total species seen: 227 (223 in Pelee plus 4 additional on Walpole Island)

Total number of local rarities: 31 (individuals, not counting the 28 Willets)

Total OBRC write-ups I have to do in the near future: 11 (1 more if that Chickadee turns out to be a Carolina) - for the first while I was averaging an OBRC bird a day!

Total new Ontario birds: 10 (Painted Bunting, Henslow's Sparrow, Chuck-will's-Widow (2), Townsend's Warbler, Swallow-tailed Kite, Black-necked Stilt, Laughing Gull, Northern Bobwhite, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Pacific Loon) - pretty much the same as the OBRC list except Laughing Gull and Bobwhite aren't OBRC birds and I also had Kirtland's Warbler and Piping Plover which weren't new Ontario birds but are on the review list!

That's all for now, stay tuned for some pics...I'll leave you with a couple I took at Gros Cap the first night I was back home.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Quick update from Pelee

Long story short, I am having a great time at Pelee! As Brandon mentioned, we had a Townsend's Warbler yesterday, and I got my lifer Henslow's Sparrow the day before that along with many other rarities. I'll put a full list together later but the last two days my species totals have been 126 (on foot), and 127 (151 between the two days). Over 100 species every day since I've been here!

Anyway, to that crazy weird bird that Brandon mentioned I saw.... Basically I saw this bird flying south toward the Tip at about 7pm and thought "oh cool, a Common Nighthawk". I then got it in the bins and was like WTF?!?!?!?! IS THAT?!?!! Kory and Sarah Renaud were standing beside me at the time and also got to see this bird. I noticed that it was fairly large (Common Nighthawk-sized but chunkier), had a reddish underside, dark back, pointed wings, and a less bouncy, more direct flight style than a nighthawk. It also appeared to have a very short tail (or no tail). And no, it wasn't a swallow or a bat - lots of swallows and martins around for comparison and we had good looks at a Hoary Bat later in the evening.

Anyway, I texted Brandon but he did not manage to see the bird - we spent the next hour and a half hoping it would return but had no luck.

After doing some research and consulting with the Sibley Guide, myself and Brandon are convinced this is a Chuck-will's-Widow that is missing a tail. I've attached a composite of all the photos I got, what do you think?????