Cerebral Escape

a photo journal of my escapes

Beggin’ Baby Barn Swallows

Early this morning I was outside watering some plants when I heard some light “cheeps” coming from the roof.  I looked up to see 3 young Barn Swallows perched on the eavestrough.  They were begging for food and the parents were obliging – delivering mouthfuls of Fishflies.

Pre-work Birding – Dickcissels in A’burg!

Last night I received an Ebird Essex County needs alert for a Dickcissel.  My interest was tweaked and I thought about possibly doing some pre-work birding in the morning.  Paul P reported seeing 4 singing males in an Essex County field known to support grassland breeding birds such as Meadowlark, Bobolink, etc.  I have heard good things about this field on the 4th Concession but never had the chance to check it out.  The sun was shining this morning and I was up early so I headed out.

The field is currently being cut but a lot of the tall grasses/crops remained this morning so it was still prime habitat.  As I pulled up, I heard the unmistakable song of the Bobolink, many Savannah Sparrows and what I thought could have been one of the Dickcissels.  I couldn’t pick it out again so I wasn’t about to count it.  I thought I may have imagined it.  After walking up and down the road, I finally heard one call from way back in the field.  I was hoping for a visual or maybe even some pictures just because it’s not a bird I see all that often.  Sure, you can make the drive out to Hwy 3 and Camper’s Cove Rd and pretty much be guaranteed to see one, but it’s not Essex County!  Yes I am a lister.

I did however luck out as I turned the car around to head home.  A singing male perched up high in a tree close to the road.  It was a little back lit so it wasn’t perfect for photography but that’s ok.  I watched him sing away for a while.  It was nice to be out, but reality quickly set in… time to get home and go to work.

Dickcissel

For details on how to get to this field, check out my post on Wepbirds.com.

A Golden Father’s Day

For Father’s Day, Emily and I spent the early afternoon at Point Pelee. Unfortunately Sarah had to work so it was just the two of us.  The weather was absolutely beautiful and Emily was so happy to be out in it!  I loaded up the stroller and headed south down the tip road in search of the Prothonotary Warbler that was reported at Bridge F on the Woodland Trail.

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

As we got closer to the bridge, I could hear the bird clearly singing across the slough.  Well that was easy!  Well it wasn’t so easy.  It took a little while to get a visual on the bird as he was singing high up in the foliage.  He eventually came down to the forest floor to look for food, offering stunning views.  The golden colour of the bird never ceases to amaze me.  I did see him carry food to a nest cavity but I didn’t see a female.   Do males bring food to a female on a nest?

Nest Cavity

A perfect Father’s Day!

 

Welcome Back Birds and Birders!

Welcome back Birders (and birds!).  Just a friendly reminder to check out the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Birds (WEPBirds) list serve and share your sightings with everyone visiting the area.  Just go to www.wepbirds.com to get started.

WEP Birds is a local birding group page where group members can post sightings, ID questions, general tips, and anything else bird related.  It’s not just be about rarities.  Topics can include things like high counts, first of the year birds, late birds, a trip report, and so on!  The idea is not to take over fantastic resources like Ontbirds or Windsor-Essex Nature Sightings on Facebook, but rather extend these so discussions about the birds in this area.  The group is open to all experience levels – backyard beginner to “expert”.

On wepbirds.com, you will not only see the group discussions, but a calendar of local birding events as well as Birdtrax widgets showing all recent eBird reports from the area.

If you’re from the area, or just visiting, I hope you will visit the page, join the group & start sharing! To join, visit www.wepbirds.com and click on New Topic.  It will ask you to sign in to your Google Account (or create one if you don’t have one).  After signing in, just click “Apply to join group“.

Wepbirds is also on Twitter – Follow @WEPbirds

If you have any questions along the way, let me know.

Smith’s Longspur – North of Hillman Marsh – April 29, 2014

Short-eared Owl – #269

A great day of birding yesterday!  Started the morning off in the Little River area of Windsor with the Ojibway Nature Centre birding group. We counted 47 Bald Eagles hanging out on Peche Island and the nearby ice floes – this doesn’t include the ones we couldn’t see on the back side of the island.  A few overwintering birds were spotted on the outlet from the sewage treatment plant, including a couple Wood Ducks, a Great Blue Heron and a Lesser Scaup.  No sign of the Kingfisher or Black-crowned Night Heron that had been seen lately.

Eagles on the ice – Windsor, On
A chilly Mute Swan

After lunch, I headed back down river in hopes of spotting the Ambassador Bridge Peregrines or maybe even some gulls on the river – but no luck.  The gulls have been lacking down here this winter.  Too much ice!  I made my way out to the county to look for more birds.  In a very flat and barren field off of French Line Rd, I spotted a very white Snowy Owl – my first of the year.

After a bit of looking around, I headed home to pick up Sarah and Emily.  We had planned a family outing to go look for the Short-eared Owl that had been seen recently in the Onion Fields just outside of Point Pelee.  After a bit of cruising around, Sarah shouted “Look – What’s that?!”  She didn’t have a great look at first as it dove down, but we both quickly got back on it.  The target bird – Short-eared Owl.  It was actively hunting so I slowly drove up and found a safe place to get off the road where we could watch but not disturb it.  It was amazing to watch.  It was dive-bombing the field constantly.  It disappeared for a bit, so I assume it was successful at least once – What a cool experience.  We’ve seen them before hunting off of Arner Townline area, but this one had a little different feel to it.  Hard to explain but nonetheless it was Pelee bird number #269 – and a new life bird for Emily.

The lighting was not great, but I managed to get some “record” shots of the hunt anyway.

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