Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thick-billed Kingbird!!!

The title says it all!!! Ontario's first ever Thick-billed Kingbird was found last evening at Presqu'ile Provincial Park by Bill Gilmour! Bill et al. watched it go to roost just east of the Calf Pasture last evening, so Brando, Josh and I met up at Hwy 6 and the 401 last evening around 10pm and drove to Mike's place, just north of Belleville.

We decided it would be best to arrive before first light, so we were up at 4:45am this morning, out the door by 5:15 and on site at 6am! Around 6:25 this morning, the Kingbird woke up, and announced its presence, and everyone was very satisfied! This is an absolutely remarkable bird to be seen in Ontario. I was reminiscing how 2 winters ago, when Mike, my Dad and I were southern California we twitched one which was wintering in San Diego - needles to say, I never thought I'd be seeing one here in Ontario!

Here are some pics and a short video of the bird (listen for its distinctive call note):


Attached below is print screen shot of the distribution for this species from eBird.
Pretty impressive!

From what I understand, there are single records from Colorado and British Columbia. The species also seems to be casual in Texas, and California.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chickney Channel

Well, its been a while since I lasted posted. I was fortunate enough to be offered a position to volunteer with the ROM/CWS/OMNR and conduct shorebird surveys on western James Bay. This post serves as a summary of my stay there, what we did and what we saw!

I (along with several others) left southern Ontario on July 28th, driving north to Cochrane. On the 29th we boarded the Polar Bear Express and arrived in the middle of the afternoon in Moosonee. The 30th ended up being an extra day in Moosonee, while we waited for the helicopter pilot to arrive from northern Quebec, and to get the Longridge and Little Piskwamish crews out. The following morning (the 31st) we (my brother Mike, and Jeanette Goulet) left for our new home for the next 15 days, at Chickney Channel.

To see a map of where we were (along with the other crews), check this link out! Map
The map below shows our camp, as well as the two locations, where we surveyed from:

This was part of our hike out every morning

Common Redpoll's bred around our camp. This is likely one of the most southern breeding locations in the world.

Christian Friis - project co-ordinator, and song lyric master

A. White Pelicans in the distance

Our sleeping quarters. My bunk is the top left.

Our lovely kitchen (and Jeanette!)

There were two cabins, though the one on the left had been raided by a Black Bear previous to our time there.

Looking west from the tower. Note the two mist-nets in the foreground.

High tide coming in.

A. White Pelicans struggling in the wind.

Flock of Hudsonian Godwits resting.


Le Conte's Sparrow

Bad-ass storm coming our way.

More bad-ass storm's coming our way. Mike and Jeanette are way to the north, though look like blobs.

Nelson's Sparrow - this was the best bird we banded (I banded it!)

Shorebirds moving by at high tide. I counted 248 birds in this pic.

Marbled Godwit - I think of a juvenile. Our high count was 534 on July 31st

Night sky of the Big Dipper - not sure if this will show up

Aerial view of the fen we more or less lived in

(more) A. White Pelicans. These were near 'Nomansland' Point, north of Longridge Point

Longridge Point
And here are some videos I took while there:

So in total, I saw something like 98 species in total (the camp total was 105-110). To see a post that Christian Friis sent to Ontbirds, click here.