Friday, April 23, 2010

gotcha! (#38)

I've seen this guy at work a lot now. A lot of the time I don't have my camera (at least not the good one) or he scoots off before I can get him, or I just don't bother trying because I know he'll be around again, but most of the time because I am always late for work. But I got him today (with my Sony point and shoot, so it's not that great). He is always singing when I arrive at and leave work at the southwest corner of the tower. He's my little buddy!

#38: April 23, 2010; House Finch; Queen at Lyon, Ottawa

Sunday, April 18, 2010

did I say ducks? I meant...sparrows (#36-37)

I went out looking for ducks this week and this is what I came back with:

#36: White-throated Sparrow; April 18, 2010; Hilda Road Feeder, Shirley's Bay area
Now I'm sure that I'm not the first person to make this observation, but who on Earth named this bird? Sure, technically speaking it does have a white throat. But HOW COULD YOU MISS the yellow eyebrows? Would it not make a heck of a lot more sense to call this "Yellow-browed Sparrow" or something? Way to confuse everybody!
Anyways, nice to finally see "Awesome Bird."
#37: American Tree Sparrow; April 18, 2010; Hilda Road Feeder, Shirley's Bay area
This guy is not nearly as fat as the ones in the pictures in guidebooks are but still cute. This was my first time visiting this feeder and someone else there said it's very good year-round (plus, it's nice and close to home...handy!). At first I was seeing a lot of the usuals, but the longer I sat there (or crouched rather; I'll take a chair next time!), the more kinds of birds eventually I showed. I also got a really great shot of a Hairy (full frame so I didn't even have to crop it...sweet!).

Monday, April 12, 2010

in search of wood ducks...success! #35

I had no time to birdwatch over the weekend since I went to Kingston on Friday night/Saturday morning and to MTL on Saturday night for my friend's engagement party.
So this week I am duck hunting. I heard these guys were in the area...and turns out they weren't hard to find! There were at least 8 at Strathcona Park and more at Billings Bridge. OK, definitely my favourite duck. They are GORGEOUS. Oh yeah, and they squeal! It's too cute!
Was kind of funny to be back at Strathcona now that I don't live in Sandy Hill anymore. But it's still a sweet spot, and great for birding! (Also saw lots of geese, gulls, a cormorant, goldeneyes, red-winged blackbirds, pigeons, mallards....and this classic shot)

#35: Wood Duck; April 12, 2010; Stratchcona Park, Ottawa

Thursday, April 8, 2010

a few more from the weekend (33-34)

Here are the last few birds I will be posting from the weekend. I caught more, but since seeing the results of my new zoom, I'm starting to get picky with my pictures and am only posting the better ones. So a few other birds spotted this weekend included a Belted Kingfisher and many ducks (common and red-breasted mergansers, plenty of buffleheads). I will wait to dedicate an entire entry to ducks as I try to spot more types over the coming weeks. For now:

#33: Eastern Phoebe; April 5, 2010; near Godfrey, ON
They were making a really cool sound (that I haven't been able to find on the Internet) that's hard to describe, and they dip their tails all the time. This is a totally new bird to me!
#34: Ruffed Grouse; April 2, 2010; On the back roads between Westport and Godfrey?
Saw another one of these on the way home contentedly eating berries while sitting in a tree. That was the first time I had seen one not just walking across the road!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

AI: part two aka THIS is what we came here for aka birds of prey (29-32)

First of all, I have to say I wouldn't have got any of these shots without my new lens, and I'm so glad I was able to pick one up before the weekend after 4 kijiji deals fell through. I visited Owl Woods on the Island but was told that I had missed them by a few weeks. There are still short-eared owls on the Island in the fields but I kind of ran out of time so I'll have to go back for them, when I will hopefully get together with another birdwatcher who is a friend of my dad's and who is helping out with this study (the population declined by approximately 85% between 1966 to 2005...yet another sign that we clearly doing something very very wrong). For the Owl Woods, I need to try January to mid-March next year, but this one made up for it and more.

29: Snowy Owl; April 5, 2010; Amherst Island
Ok, the snowy is maybe my favourite. It is so big and beautiful. As I approached I could totally feel myself being watched. Normally we are the ones doing the watching, but sometimes there are these moments when you are watching a bird and and you know that they are watching you back...and it's kind of profound, you know? I was the only one in the field with this owl and I felt like he was permitting me to be in his presence. So was pretty amazing.
30: Red-tailed hawk, April 2, 2010; Amherst Island
Matt seems to have mastered the hawk picture the camera goes to him whenever hawks are around. All other times we argue about who gets to the use the camera! Anyways, props are due to him for this sick, sick picture.
31: Rough-legged Hawk; April 2, 2010; Amherst Island
This hawk was flying really high up. Hawks are so hard for me to identify, although I think I'm getting a little better. I'm 90% sure it's right, but if I got this ID wrong....please tell me!
32: American Kestrel; April 5, 2010; Amherst Island
These guys are so awesome. They are tiny hawks. They're so small that if you didn't look at them you would think they were blackbirds sitting on telephone wires. But they aren't, and they do all things exactly like hawks, hovering over fields and the like. Since I saw my first one and realized what it was, I started seeing them everywhere. You can tell them by the black bands on their eyes. I'm beginning to think I was one of the most non-observant people out there! But there are little wonders everywhere.

I also saw what I thought were Northern flickers but didn't get a decent shot. Sneaky buggers.

Stay tuned...I still have more birds to cover from the weekend.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

AI: part one (26-28)

Over the long weekend I spent some time on Amherst Island (AI), but it's never ever enough time. Even before I started birding, I knew that this was a special place when it comes to our feathered friends. It's covered top to bottom with birds. Within 10 minutes we saw at least 5 hawks. Dad said 2 weeks ago there was "every kind of duck you can imagine at the ferry dock." I almost don't want to give away too many details of this amazing place because I want to protect it forever....anyways, here goes:

26: Killdeer; April 5, 2010; Amherst Island (south shore)
These are awesome birds. I have seen a million of them in all the time I have spent on the island but had no idea what they were (actually, looking through my bird book I was really hoping I would see one, and I just realized this weekend that I've been seeing them for years). You can walk for half an hour along South Shore Road and they will go with you the whole way, but just 10 feet ahead of you. They run along on their skinny long legs and they are hilarious!

27: Tree Swallow; April 2, 2010; Amherst Island

The edge of the KFN property on Amherst Island was TEEMING with tree swallows. I think they are pretty cool. This guy looks like he has a long jacket, and he's saying "WHAT R U LOOKING AT???"
P.S. I took another pic of this guy here and absolutely love it! But I used this one on here since he's easier to identify.

28: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; April 2, 2010; Amherst Island
If I hadn't looked closer, I would have assumed this was Hairy or Downy. Surprise....nope!
Back soon with AI Birds of Prey!
Oh yeah...and another AI sighting: here

Monday, April 5, 2010

Extra long weekend birding! (IDs 23-25)

While most people were out hunting for eggs this weekend, I was out hunting for birds. This is going to be the first of a series of the birds I saw this weekend since I saw so many....SWEET!
These ones I saw on the road on the way to Kingston for Easter.

I finally got a picture of a silly starling who was inside a traffic light pole (this one's for you Ron!) For those of you new birders, starlings actually have very pretty iridescent patterns.
ID#23: European Starling; April 2, 2010; Katimavik Road, Kanata
On the way to Kingston, there were 2 swans that seem to have decided to nest in someone's backyard pond. How crazy would that be if a pair of swans showed up in your yard and decided to move in?
ID#24: Mute Swan; April 2, 2010; between Westport and Godfrey
I can't tell you how excited I was to see one of these little guys. When he flew off I couldn't believe how bright blue he was!
ID#25: Eastern Bluebird; April 5, 2010; near Westport
That's it for now since I have to get to bed, but that brings me to 1/4 of the way there. Back soon with more....I promise!