Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bog Day Afternoon

July 26

The evening of July 23 we received the weekly Western New York (WNY) Dial-a-Bird report (highlights of reports received July 16 through July 23) on the Ontario listserve. The WNY report is provided by the Buffalo Museum of Science and the Buffalo Ornithological Society and covers western New York and adjacent Ontario. Of interest to Jean and I were the birds observed in the Wainfleet Bog near Port Colborne, Ontario. Warblers seen in the bog recently included, Blue-winged Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Mourning Warbler and Canada Warbler. American Woodcock and Black-billed Cuckoo were also found.

Black-billed Cuckoo (we have not seen that often) was needed for the year list but more importantly, Mourning and Canada Warbler would be lifers if observed. Sunday afternoon, we drove south from St. Catharines to reach the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) managed Wainfleet Bog. Starting on the trail we observed a singing Indigo Bunting, a pair of Common Yellowthroat and a Green Heron flying overhead. Unlike Great Blue Heron, I rarely see Green Herons flying above us when we're out and about (no making fun of my Canadian accent). Walking deeper into the bog (surrounded by trees) we found a pocket of bird activity. Warblers! Chestnut-sided Warbler (pair), Blue-winged Warbler (pair) and a Tennessee Warbler, #163 for the year. I left our field guide back at our car but took notes on the bird's field markings. Consulting the guide at the car and additional guides at home confirmed the bird was a Tennessee. An additional warbler-like bird observed was lime-green above, with a white eye ring and grayish-white breast and belly. An immature Chestnut-sided Warbler.

It was fun and interesting viewing the male adult Chestnut-sided as it held a caterpillar in its beak and smacked the bluish-green insect larva on a branch.

Additional birds observed while walking further along the trail included Gray Catbird, Common Grackle and Black-capped Chickadee. We could not find the reported Canada or Mourning Warblers but returning on the NPCA maintained trail we caught some movement in the trees. Following the bird with our binoculars, as it moved through the branches, we were able to identify it as the reported Black-billed Cuckoo (#164).

This was only our second visit to the bog since we started keeping a list (we ticked a lifer Northern Waterthrush here during our first year of birding). Hard to believe, eh? Based on the results from this day, Jean and I should visit more often. Like maybe the following weekend, after visiting Morgan's Point Conservation Area.

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