What's This Bird Wednesday

Last weeks answers;
#1 - Cape May Warbler 
#2 - Bobolink
#3 - Olive-sided Flycatcher 
#4 - Red-breasted Nuthatch
#5 - American Redstart 
#6 - Baltimore Oriole
#7 - Ring-billed Gull 

Changing things up this week. Today Nathan Hood sent me some quiz photos, so I thought I'd share them on the blog for What's This Bird Wednesday! This quiz is pretty hard.. so have fun!

Guesses in comments!

What's This Bird Wednesday

Last weeks answers;
Least Bittern
Baltimore Oriole
Bank Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Vesper Sparrow
Northern Pintail

Liam and Zane both nailed it..

Now this weeks quiz!

Guesses in comments!

Yardbirding: August 13-15

Things are finally starting to pick up in the yard again as summer nears it's end. Really looking forward to the birdy weeks ahead! 

- Aug 13
On the 13th I actually got up a sunrise to try an impromptu skywatch. The first half hour was very quiet, but things started picking up after 7am when a flock of Bobolinks went over. Shortly after that I heard a Solitary Sandpiper, which was a yard lifer for me! I looked up just in time to see three some them go over.. that alone made the morning worth while, it's not too often that I score a yardbird. 
- Solitary Sandpipers

There was then another lull in activity, but that ended when a flock of 4 White-winged Crossbills flew over. There have been a decent number of WWCR sightings in Bruce this summer and I've had them here 5 times since June, but it's always a highlight seeing these nomadic finches. Unfortunately they were too far for photos..but I still tried.
- White-winged Pixels (crossbills)

 Some other highlights of thr morning listed below 
- 2 Eastern Bluebirds
- 1 Blackburnian Warbler 
- 2 Yellow-rumped Warblers
- 1 Tennessee Warbler
- 1 Baltimore Oriole 
- Baltimore Oriole
Yellow-rumped Warbler 

- Aug 14
I spent the first few hours of the day at Sauble Beach (wasn't great, list here), but I did a skywatch for an hour around 11:00. It turned out to be surprising decent for raptors, probably the most I've had on an August day.  Total below 
- 3 Turkey Vultures
- 1 Northern Harrier 
- 1 Cooper's Hawk 
- 1 Bald Eagle
- 1 Broad-winged Hawk
- 4 Red-tailed Hawk
- 1 American Kestral 
- 1 Merlin
- Cooper's Hawk 
- Northern Harrier 
- American Kestral 
Red-tailed Hawk 

8 raptor sp (throwing TV in there), not too shabby! 

Great Horned Owl calling at dusk too..

- Aug 15
Got up at sunrise and spent an hour birding the yard..and it was.... badddd. A few Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and a Blackburnian Warbler were the only real highlights.
The best bird of the day came in the afternoon though, when I heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo calling. The cuckoo was a yard lifer for me, so that made the sighting even better. On a roll ~ 2 yard lifers in a week!
- Yellow-billed Cuckoo

When I first saw the cuckoo I didn't have my camera.. and me running to the house and back resembled this.. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UkalaEyjyEE

That's all I got for now!

New additions to yard yearlist since last yardbirding post; 
 - Pine Siskin
- Rock Pigeon (!😱)
- Solitary Sandpiper 
- Yellow-billed Cuckoo
 Yard yearlist at August 15 - 158

What's This Bird Wednesday

 Last weeks answers;

#1 - Blackburnian Warbler 

#2 - Nashville Warbler 

#3 - Magnolia Warbler 

#4 - Cape May Warbler 

#5  - Palm Warbler 

#6 - Cackling Geese

#7 - American Pipit

Ans now.. this weeks quiz...








Guesses in comments!

Swallow-tailed Kite twitch

I'm writing this post a week after I chased the Swallow-tailed Kite of Luther Marsh, as I honesltly forgot about my blog until now. Anyway scroll down to read about the twitch.

The facts: 

Last Saturday (Aug 1) Peter Landry found a Swallow-tailed Kite at Luther Marsh in Dufferin County. I had a feeling a kite would show up in Ontario, as sightings were popping up across the northeast, so it wasn't overly surprising when this one was reported. STKI is a fairly rare species in Ontario though, with this bird representing the 20th (?) record. It came out later that the kite was reported on iNaturalist on July 23, extending the birds stay by over a week.

The story:

Anyway I hadn't chased a bird outside of Bruce since March, so I talked my mom into heading over a few days after it was seen. The kite seemed very reliable and had been seen for 3 days, so I wasn't too worried..

We left the house early and made it to Luther Marsh just after 8am. There were a few birders there at that time, who told me the bird hadn't been seen yet. The area the kite had been reported in spanned a few concessions, so we drove along, stopping every few hundred meters to scan..and I saw... nothing. Well no kite anyway, but there were lots of birds around. I've never birded in Dufferin before, so everything was a county tick.

At 9am I had been down the whole road.. but hadn't seen the kite. Mom wanted to leave around 10, so I took my search up a notch. I retraced my steps down the road, again stopping every few hundred meters ~ but this time I got my scope out and took a few minutes to thoroughly scan the distant treeline. After 5 stops of doing this, I spotted a distant black & white blob in the scope ~ success! Lifer Swallow-tailed Blob! 
According to ABA listing rules, blobs are perfectly countable on your life list, however it wasn't a very satisfying view to say the least! (especially considering the almost 5 hour round trip).

Here's a photo of the first view

I fired off a few messages to the rare bird alerts, then turned my attention back to the bird in question. It was preening now, so maybe that meant it was getting ready to fly? More birders started showing up, clearly anxious to add a blob to their year/life lists. Apparently the bird was waiting for a crowd, as it flew off it's perch and spent the next half hour hawking for insects over the field. I knew the chase was worth it then, as the stunning plumage combined with the swallow-like flight made it one of the most beautiful birds I've seen.

I managed a few half decent photos.. nothing gr8 though.

- Kite & Barn Swallow

Anway that's all for now! 

Stay tuned for What's This Bird Wednesday tomorrow 

What's This Bird Wednesday

Last weeks answers;
#1 - Brewer's Blackbird
#2 - Cooper's Hawk 
#3 - Downy Woodpecker 
#4 - Northern Cardinal 
#5 - Dickcissel
#6 - Semipalmated and Stilt Sandpipers 
#7 - Blue-winged Teal 

Now for this weeks quiz.. with the theme being out of focus flying passerines! Have fun..




Guesses in comments ⬇️

Shorebirding in Southern Ontario

As I've mentioned in previous posts, there is basically no habitat for shorebirds on the coast of Bruce this year due to high water levels. There are a few ponds in South Bruce, but nothing that collects numbers of birds. I really enjoy shorebirding, so I decided to make a trip down to Huron/Perth counties for their lagoons..
On Sunday I left the house with my mother around 6:00am and headed south to the first stop of the Exeter Lagoons. Dana Latour joined us, as this area is basically in her backyard. Even though it was only 8:30 when we got to Exeter, it was already quiet hot (27°C). The first cell of the lagoon contained lots of Least Sandpipers & Killdeer, plus some Semipalmated Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs. Not that productive, considering that this cell is usually the best one at the goon. Anyway we moved on to the back cells and found the usual mass of ducks/geese.. and luckily some more shorebirds. The highlights were Stilt and Pectoral Sandpipers and Short-billed Dowitcher. 
I seem to get a Peregrine Falcon almost every time I go to Exeter, and last Sunday was no exception. As we were walking back from the back cells a nice adult zipped overhead, flushing everything. A Peregrine is always a highlight, so that was a nice start to the day.
We ended up with 8 shorebird species from Exeter, not bad for July. Numbers listed below;
- 60 Killdeer
- 2 Stilt Sandpipers
- 65 Least Sandpipers 
- 5 Pectoral Sandpipers
- 1 Short-billed Dowitcher
- 40 Spotted Sandpiper
- 60 Lesser Yellowlegs

Some photos from there...
- Pectoral Sandpiper 
- Least Sandpiper
- Short-billed Dowitcher (top bird)
- Semipalmated Sandpipers 

- Peregrine Falcon 

Next we went to Michell Sewage Lagoons (aka West Perth Wetlands). We spent an hour walking around the goons.. and honestly not seeing many shorebirds at all.
Totals below;
- 20 Killdeer
- 13 Least Sandpipers
- 2 Pectoral Sandpipers 
- 3 Least Sandpipers 
- 3 Spotted Sandpipers
- 90 Lesser Yellowlegs

A few pics from there...
- Least Sandpiper 

- Solitary Sandpiper 

- Lesser legs of yellowness

On our way home we stopped at Hullett Marsh, where Dana showed me a nice singing Sedge Wren (Huron Lifeerrr). 
- Sedge Wren

Some other random Hullett photos...
- Cliff Swallow
- Blue-winged Teal

My 2022 Big Year From a Stats perspective

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