Saturday, 21 April 2018

Spring has Sprung!

Recently there has been a large influx of birds in my area. Over the last few days I have spent quite a lot of time checking out some of my local spots. I have not been disappointed!

I was quite happy to see my first Yellow-rumped Warbler of the spring back on Tuesday.


I also managed to see a Savannah Sparrow and Wilson's Snipe that same day.

Savannah Sparrow

Wilson's Snipe

A pair of Eastern Phoebes were working a wetland.

Eastern Phoebe


A couple days later I went out again, and saw my first Hermit Thrushes of the year, as well as a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Hermit Thrush


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yesterday, Friday, I went down to Dutton to try and see the presumed Eurasian Collared-Dove. It was a success!


Eurasian Collared-Dove (left) and Mourning Dove (right)

There were a few American Robins at the dove spot as well. I also managed to see my first Barn Swallow of the year on the drive.


I spent all day today riding around my neighbourhood looking for migrants. It was a nice surprise to find my first Spotted Sandpiper of the year.


There were a few swallows around today as well. Most were Tree Swallows, but I caught a glimpse of a Northern Rough-winged Swallow a couple times.

Tree Swallow

This Horned Grebe has been hanging around for a few days now. Today it allowed for some decent photos!


I also saw my first Broad-winged Hawk and Chipping Sparrow (finally) of the year.

Chipping Sparrow

After so much success first thing in the morning, I went back out after breakfast. I was quite pleased to find my first ever Dekay's Brownsnake.


There were a few Ospreys hunting for goldfish in the pond.


As I was rounding a corner I spotted something on the flooded pathway. It was an American Bittern! Unfortunately my camera was in my backpack when I first saw it out in the open, but thankfully it allowed me to get some record shots of it in the phragmites.


American Bitterns are a pretty rare find in the London area. This sighting is only the fourth record on eBird in the last decade!

I came back a little later, and found the bittern back on the path. Thankfully, I was prepared this time, and managed to get some photos that I am happy with.


What a great few days it has been! Let the madness (hopefully) begin!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Early Spring(ish) Birding

This past week has been quite something in Ontario!

Last Sunday I visited the Rondeau area to have a look around. I stopped into Ridgetown on the way, and was rewarded with some Snow Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese.

Snow Geese

Greater White-fronted Geese


Rondeau itself was pretty quiet, but I was able to find a few things here and there, including my first of year (FOY) Eastern Phoebes and Rusty Blackbirds of the year.

Horned Grebe

Lesser Scaup

Red-winged Blackbird

Downy Woodpecker

There was a flooded field just north of Shrewsbury which was quite productive. I managed to find my FOY Dunlin and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Gadwall

Green-winged Teal and American Robin

Dunlin

Lesser Yellowlegs

Last stop was the Blenheim Sewage Lagoons.


Plenty of ducks and Bonaparte's Gulls!

Ruddy Duck

Bonaparte's Gull



Just before I left, this Eastern Meadowlark popped up.


Fast forward to yesterday. I managed to get out to the landfill before the ice storm hit to look for some of the reported gulls. Although I missed the Glaucous Gull, I did see my FOY Lesser Black-backed Gull. I managed some far off record photos.


I also came across my FOY Greater Yellowlegs, as well as a Lesser Yellowlegs.

Greater Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Hopefully this weird weather clears out soon!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Pits to the Park

Today I did a little bit of birding locally.

This morning I checked out the "Komoka Pits", a series of old quarry ponds. These ponds often attract many types of water birds.

I checked out a little park with a couple small ponds. I was pleased to find a pair of Blue-winged Teals in one of the ponds.


There was also some Lesser Scaup, Canada Geese, and a Cooper's Hawk made a fly by.

Canada Goose

I checked out the main big pond, where I found an assortment of ducks such as Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Buffleheads, Common Goldeneye, and Common Mergansers.


I also found my first Common Loons of the year. Loons are one of my favourites.


Later in the afternoon I went to Fanshawe Park, in search of anything I could find.

I scoped out the lake for any waterfowl, but all I was able to find were a few Pied-billed Grebes.


I had more luck in a smaller pond, where I found, much to my delight, all three species of mergansers! Red-breasted Mergansers are uncommon in Middlesex, so I was happy to see them.


It wasn't long after I heard the very distinct call of the Eastern Meadowlark, my first of the year. It didn't take long to find two at the top of a tree. In all, there were four.



It was also a treat to see about eight Tree Swallows, my first "big" group of the year.

I also took a little bit of time to enjoy some of the more common woodland birds, still coming to feed on bird seed left at a trail head (but no Fox Sparrow today!)

Red-bellied Woodpecker


American Tree Spa

Black-capped Chickadee