Sunday, June 24, 2012

Things be happenin'

Guten tag!

Well as some people (Brandon 'the Hulk' Holden, and Blake) have mentioned in their posts recently, things are slowly starting to 'happen' as it were. 

Was up in Kincardine first thing this morning do some bird surveys. This area has consistently had good birding, whether its grassland or forest birds. I did some work on this site in the spring and summer of 2008 and had Marbled Godwit and Acadian Flycatcher, so its top-notch. This morning I had more of the same grassland type birds; Upland Sandpipers at 3 locations, Wilson's Snipe, and tonnes of Bobolinks and E. Meadowlarks.

I've been hoping to find a Henslow's Sparrow at this site, but haven't had any luck, but the areas in the NE of my project site seem absolutely perfect for this species.

I also had abit more time and drove through the Greenock Swamp (see map below) on my way back. This road consistently turns up Yellow-throated Vireo's (today didn't disappoint). I know there's also Cerulean Warblers which breed somewhere in the swamp, but I don't know exactly whereabouts.

While I've been birding/working alot in the Armow/Kincardine area, I've also been doing some birding around Waterloo, which has been really nice. Today once I had gotten home from Kincardine, and trying to take a nap in my room, I heard a warbler singing in the backyard. Thinking that wasn't possible, I kept trying to get some sleep until I couldn't resist going outside to try finding the bird making the sound, and lo-and behold it was a male Magnolia Warbler singing away! Pretty bizarre, especially considering these guys don't really breed anywhere nearby, and that I've never seen one in Waterloo Region in June! I tried getting some pics, but the bird didn't co-operate. I figure this guy must be a failed breeder/loan wolf, roaming the desert...

Magnolia Warbler - male, age? - Breakwater, Long Point, May 2005
Earlier this week I had some work at the Huron Nature Area in Kitchener and had some cool stuff. Most notably a long overdue region first for me - a Clay-coloured Sparrow. Fraser Gibson found this bird a few weeks ago, and it seems to be on territory and is easy to see/hear. While looking for the CCSP, I had a male Ruby-crowned Kinglet singing away in the Red Pine plantation!! Another oddity! What the heck is going on with our boreal birds this summer? Waterloo Region doesn't have any breeding evidence recorded for RCKI's so this is a very unusual bird for our parts to say the least.

And to cap things off for Waterloo, there is a pair of Peregrine Falcon's nesting on the Sun Life Tower in Kitchener! They have one young, and this is another new breeding bird for Waterloo Region. People have been pretty tight lipped about these guys, but it should be neat to see this fledging in the next few weeks. I received a few pics from a Sun Life VP this week, but am not sure who to credit for the photo?
Not exactly the 'pertiest' bird, but cool nonetheless!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Two posts in two days????

Well I'm not sure whats going on here, but it looks as if I've posted twice in two days??? Yup, that's right. Two things to mention here....

1. I forgot to mention this in my post yesterday, but I'm collecting records for North American Birds and am looking for rare/unusual sightings from the period of March-May. Specifically I'm looking for sightings in Waterloo Region and Wellington County (if you have interesting sightings in other regions, you can send them too).  Send your sightings to me by email asap please.

2. I was in Kincardine early this morning doing some bird work, and had a single female Dickcissel - see below:

Hi Birders,

Was in the Kincardine area this morning and had some nice birding, before the heat took over.

The highlight was a female Dickcissel perched on the hydro wires about 300m. west of the intersection of Concession 7, and Sideroad 20. My colleague and I watched the bird at point blank range for a few minutes before it disappeared - no sign of any males (none were singing), despite us staying in the area for 15 minutes.

Grassland birds were in evidence throughout the area, with numerous Grasshopper Sparrows, and a few Upland Sandpipers present as well. There will hopefully be more Dickcissel's in the area over the next few weeks, as it appears south-western Ontario (as well as the states surrounding the Great Lakes) is undergoing a dramatic incursion of these guys.

Good Birding,
Ken Burrell

Direction: take Hwy. 9 east from Kincardine about 25km, turn north on Sideroad 20. Take this until Concession , and turn left (west). Go about 300m. west and watch the hydro lines, as well as the weedy field on the north side of the road. are some grassland-esque shots to provide filler.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Well, its been a few weeks since I lasted posted. I'm still here.......and kicking. Work has increasingly been busy, and I'll be working everyday more or less until July 10th. If any birders out there are available for some temporary work we have lots, so let me know if you want some (email me <>).

Breeding bird work is about half way down, so we're entering the time period where we need to be getting our butts in gear. Most of my next few weeks will be mostly spent birding Bruce County in an area bounded by the Greenock Swamp to the W, Underwood to the NW, Hwy. 9 to the S, and Kincardine to the SW. The site is pretty nice, with Cerulean Warbler, Upland Sandpiper, Dickcissel's around, so I have some interesting birds to look for!

Mourning Warbler - definitive alternate male - Breakwater, Long Point - May 2006
First thing this morning I had a bird survey at the south end of Kitchener, near Huron Nature Area (there is a Clay-coloured Sparrow on territory there, fyi - rare in Waterloo), and had Mourning Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, as well as a really cool butterfly - a Variegated Fritillary! This is my first Variegated away from Lake Erie, and without saying for Waterloo Region. I wasn't able to snag a pic of it, but have attached one, that I found on the web.

Coincidentally, Brandon 'the Hulk' Holden put out a blog post about rare butterflies possibly on their way nord, so its looking like he knows abit (...) about what he's talking about!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Birding....I mean work

Alrighty, so you know when you look back at previous things you've written, you realize how poorly you wrote that something? Well I find that's something that I seem to cringe alittle about, so I'm hoping this blog post will be alittle better than the previous one....

Anyways, since I've been back at work now almost two weeks, I've been able cover some pretty decent ground through south-western Ontario. Last week I had mentioned that I was in the 'Chat-ham' area, this past week has seen me in the Shelburne, Bayfield, Grand Valley and even local area near Heidelberg(!). I've been doing a fair bit of breeding bird work, since the birdies are really going 'all-out' at this time of year...

Here's my ebird checklists from this week thus far:
Monday: north of Shelburne -
Tuesday: south east of Bayfield -
Wednesday (today): just north west of Waterloo -

I've also been able to take some pics with my new phone (it has a great camera, that I'm hoping I'll be able to digi-scope something really sweet with), though haven't been able to take pics of really any birds, but nonetheless here are some 'nice' scenery shots.

Near Bayfield, along a nice stream


'Typical' Wellesley Township early morning

And since I'm a devoted birder, here are some random shots (of birds), which are in no particular way related to the general 'jist' of this post, but just for shits and giggles...
Lawrence's Warbler - 2009 - Port Elgin area

Piping Plover - Sauble Beach - 2009

I couldn't resist...

And in other news....I was accepted to give a poster presentation of my work down on Pelee Island/Point Pelee on reverse migration at the North American ornithological conference, but have also been asked to do surveys on James Bay. Both things overlap and I opted for James Bay....check out Jean Iron's website to see basically what I'll be doing from August 1-15...I'm pretty excited!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Random shtuff

Alrighty, so I've gotten some 'complaints' for not bad. Things as per usual have been busy. I came back from the island/PPNP on the 23rd and since then have been back at work, spending last week in the Chat-ham area, and now I'm more or less back, minus the odd few day trip for work/bachelor parties....

To sort of fill you in over the past month, I've uploaded some pics:

Nothing like seeing confused Deer first thing in the am....

The month on the island was nice and relaxing, but more or less lacked a good movement or 'dropping' of birds to entertain me. Regardless we had some good birds, most noticeably a Neotropic Cormorant(!) on May 16th.....Looking into my records, May 16th has seen some pretty good birds. In 2008 I had a male Snowy Plover at Long Point.

Coincidentally there was a SNPL in Ohio a few days ago....

We also had a most unexpected Purple Sandpiper on May 10th -- something  very unexpected. Check Mike's Blog to see some pics.

Anyways, this is sort of a mis-match post -- I'm waiting for the Kings to beat the Devils (again). This Friday I'm heading to Las Vegas for the weekend, but unfortunately will be engrossed in non-birding activities....

That's about it for now.