Things I am Thinking About Right Now...

  • 1. Finally Updated; A busy ( and not-so-birdy fall ) fall
  • 2. A smew in Ontario ??? And I got to see it !
  • 3. Thinking about summer vacation...
  • 4. And Sping trips too !
  • 5. Quite a few Winter rarities around. May try to add a few more to the list
  • 6. Still no snow on the ground...
  • 7. Project FeederWatch is going strong. Two eports submitted...
  • 8. I think I have convinced my wife to visit Cape May next summer !
  • 9. The Elephant Pepper Development Trust ( Check out their site ! )
  • 10. Tying to decide how to spend my remaining gift certificates !

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Tommy Thompson Park Photos

Foggy day at Tommy Thompson Park
THE SON at Tommy Thompson Park

Spring Flora and Fungi at Thickson's Woods


Trying my hand at plant and fungi ID...

Trout Lilies - Early May

A NEW LIFE BIRD ! and other things in Thickson's Woods

Well, first to get this over with right new life bird is an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, seen at Thickson's Woods on Friday, May 19th. It wasn't an easy ID; I originally thought the bird was a Palm Warbler, albeit an immature bird. However that identification did not sit well and with a bit of research, I found that it may be a tad early to expect immature palm warblers. So what was this little bland/brownish bird with light indistinct streaking on its breast, a wash of yellow on its flanks and a yellow vent ? Orange-Crowned Warbler !!! Not the best looking specimen, I'd say but still a new bird for the big list !

Thickson's Woods has been a good place for birds over the last week. MAGNOLIA, CHESTNUT-SIDED, CAPE MAY, BLACKBURNIAN, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, CANADA and my first WILSON'S WARBLER of the year were highlights. I also had a wonderful BLUE-GREY GNATCATCHER; this one was more blue than grey and made me wish I had my camera. However, the trees are starting to grow out their leaves so the remaining weeks of migration season will be a bit more challenging...

Every so often, I find myself amazed/entranced/enthralled by something I see while birding. These events are unpredictable and do not necessarily correlate to life birds or rarities or anything that comes close to birding glory. Most of these events feature birds I have seen before, most of them common. The first time I saw a Yellow Warbler sing...The time a Blue-Throated Blue Warbler serenade THE DAUGHTER at close range...The first time THE DAUGHTER and I fed blue Jays by hand...THE SON's reaction to a very close chickadee... The fight between a Flicker and two starlings for a nest hole... On Saturday, I was given a wonderful serenade by a beautiful Chestnut-Sided Warbler. The warbler was close, so close that I probably could have got a decent shot with my camera. The little bird was feeding in a dilligent manner but once in a while would throw back it's head and unleash a pitch-perfect version of its pleased-pleased-pleased to meet you song. I watched for a couple of minutes until the bird finally flitted away into deeper brush and was enthralled for that whole time. Afterwards, I reflected that these are the moments that make birding special to me far more so than lifers or listings or spotting the latest rarity.  The moments where I can marvel at the birds themselves and how amazing they are...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A Victim of Taxonomy: RIP Yellow-Rumped Warbler

So the Yellow-Rumped Warbler is gone. The poor little "Butter-Butts", as THE DAUGHTER calls them, have a new name. To serious birders this news is not news at all. However, this is the first spring where the changes have been in effect and it has been a learning process to replace the old with the new. The species was the victim of the sometimes loved and equally dreaded taxonomic split. Taxonomy changes with time and science, as we learn more about individual species. Sometimes we learn that species we thought were a species were not actually a species but several species. Confused yet ? Welcome to birding...

Monday, 16 May 2011

Saturday, 14 May 2011

This & That from Thickson's Woods

Inactive on the blogging front but busy on the birding front; that is the best way to describe the last couple of weeks. Slowly but surely, I have added more species to my year list via after work visits to Thickson's Woods. Of course afternoon visits are never ideal for birding but I have expanded my warbler list beyond yellow-rum..I mean myrtle and palm warblers. COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BLACK-AND-WHITE, BLACK-THROATED BLUE , CHESTNUT-SIDED, MAGNOLIA and a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, along with a NORTHERN PARULA were all observed this week and boosted my warbler species count for this year. I also had a nice SWAINSON'S THRUSH; nice in the sense that I could tell it was a swainson's and not a hermit thrush. Lots of WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were moving through. A few CHIPPING SPARROWS, BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW and an ORCHARD ORIOLE were all firsts for the year. Finally, the highlight for me and THE DAUGHTER was our first glimpse of the resident GREAT-HORNED OWL. The looks were great but when the owl started calling, well, it was just an excellent moment for us. However, from a strict birding perspective, the RED-BELLIED and RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were nice surprises for a place noted more for  small, flashy birds. Hopefully, I will post a few pictures from "the Woods" ( trademark, THE DAUGHTER ) as well as a recap of our trip to the Spring Birding Festival at Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto.

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