Monday, August 10, 2009

Civic Birding

August 1

The first day of August...where did July go? Hopefully August will pass at a more sluggish rate than the previous month. It was the start of the Civic Holiday weekend in Canada, thus time to relax with some birding.

The previous weekend we had hiked on a trail in the NPCA managed Wainfleet Bog. The NPCA theme continued on the Saturday of the holiday weekend with a trip to Morgan's Point Conservation Area on Lake Erie. We observed a total of 29 species while walking through the woodlot, on the boardwalk over the sand dunes and along the shoreline.

We finally observed our first Ruby-throated Hummingbird (#165) for the year while walking on the beach. The only shorebirds spotted (no pun intended) were 2 juvenile Spotted Sandpipers.

Turkey Vultures soared overhead while we were on the beach.

Returning through the forest we found a flycatcher doing what they do best, darting out from a fixed perch and catching insects. Here are two digiscoped images of the bird.

Jean and I went with Eastern Wood-Pewee.

Leaving the conservation area we then stopped at a nearby rocky shore east of the point. Plenty of Canada Geese, a few Purple Martins on utility line across the road but again the only shorebirds (most likely the same seen earlier) were 2 juvenile Spotted Sandpipers and a lonely Killdeer. Over the next few weeks we should be able to observe additional migrating shorebirds. Reviewing my eBird created chart of the spot, we have observed Semipalmated Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper (lifer in August of 2007), Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper and Short-billed Dowitcher.

Our last stop was the Wainfleet Bog. Same species as last time with one addition to the year list, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo (#166). Beating 187 species just might be possible. We still have to find a Brown Thrasher so a walk along the Merritt Trail was planned for the holiday Monday.

August 3

Jean and I searched along a one kilometre section of the Merritt Trail on the Civic Holiday with hopes of observing a Brown Thrasher for the year list. During the two hours on the trail we observed 21 species which included, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, House and Carolina Wrens and a brief glimpse of the resident Red-headed Woodpecker. No thrasher appearance this day.

We did however encounter this toad during our hike.

Joe-Pye Weed.

Look at all the Duckweed!

We have few Ontario observations of a Brown Thrasher (I can count them on one hand) so we'll have to choose our spots wisely in order to tick one again this year. You gotta love eBird. I can click on my lifer observation of Toxostoma rufum and all my recorded observations of the species appear in front of me. Sweet! Now I know where we need to go. Where you ask? Just wait and see.

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