Saturday, May 7, 2011

where do all the birds go at night? (#137-139)

Well, I'm going to start this off on a bit of a downer note, but stick with me because I promise it gets better. When I was in Kingston last weekend I did see a few kingfishers, but I have always had a hard time photographing these birds: they don't tend to sit still. I pulled over because I saw a loon that looked different than normal (hoping it was a red-throated, but I think it was either a juvenile common or common still in its winter feathers) and saw this beside the road. It made me very sad, but this is for sure the first kingfisher that has ever stayed still for me :(
Ok, so now for today and for happier things. Matt was so thoughtful to throw the camera in the car picking me up this morning, so why not a stop at Fletcher? I wanted to head there because my dragonboat practices are nearby. I had my first of the season yesterday, and I could hardly pay attention to the coach because there were so many birds around. Seriously, I couldn't concentrate. Anyways, so I head back there today (only in much more pain this time around). Immediately there was a guy heading to his car with some serious photogear. He gave us the scoop and I couldn't help but get excited. Plus, the weather was gorgeous, and I don't think I could have been more happy. So, we started off around the little marshy pond, and there were lots and lots of swallows swooping around. Not after long, I saw what I thought almost looked like a crow in a tree. It was backlit, but something kept me looking more carefully...and thank goodness I did......A GREEN HERON! Ok, well, those who follow my blog may recall that this bird was on my "birds I'm dying to see list," and I happily removed it today. However, I'm quite sure I will be adding it to a new list: "birds I am dying to see again." This is one of those totally satisfying lifers: it's a moment when you can't believe your good fortune and you can't believe how wonderful the bird in front of you is. I was surprised by its size, and the fact that I saw it in a tree, and that it then went into a pine tree--I always imagined it in a marsh!!!  Anyways, I just love this bird....maybe one of my favourites. Its colouring is just stunning.

#137: Green Heron; Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa; May 7, 2011

It was fairly quiet in the woody part of Fletcher. I've got to say that everything is looking so great in GREEN! The part of the garden along the canal was just gorgeous...I could have definitely stayed for a picnic!

I saw my first palm warbler, but I got better shots later in the day so I'll put those later. I did hear a bird calling that I didn't immediately recognize. I could see its white belly, but eventually it tucked its head down to preen and I could see its bright rufous/oragney head.
Chipping sparrow:

There were lots of little birds around, especially finches, and then saw this cruise over....Trouble! I saw the tiniest little birds chasing after it, which was funny, but I also felt bad for them!

We headed home, but stopped quickly at Shirley's Bay and the feeders. There were a few people there, and I couldn't believe it when I was picking out the birds and explaining the markings to them. So much has changed in a year! Honestly I think they were a little surprised to see a fairly non-typical birder that seemed to know her stuff!

I don't know how I missed this bird last year, but I somehow did. Easy lifer!

#138: Field Sparrow; Hilda Road Feeder; Ottawa; May 7, 2011

Saw my first brown-headed cowbird of the year. Apparently they're around in abundance this year, but I haven't seen them! This is nice because I have not posted a male on my blog before...
A sapsucker swooped in and posed nicely right in front of us!

I came home to this, which has been peeving me off bigtime, because this squirrel just helps himself to EVERYTHING in my yard...bird seed, sugar water, tulip flowers....urghh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Later in the day I wanted to hit Britannia. WOW. Now I know what people mean when a place is dripping with birds. I mean, they are just everywhere, and you can barely figure out which ones to look at! It ended quickly though; as soon as the sun set, it seemed to stop immediately. It's so strange: you know that they didn't just LEAVE...they were there just a moment ago, but they go quiet all of a sudden, and you don't see them anywhere. So where the heck are they? I should have gone earlier, but in the very short time, we saw so much!

My second palm of the day. It was quite dark and had to go to flash. I keep forgetting but mean to start using it in the daytime to get sharper shots when the birds are close enough (the flash goes surprisingly far...) I just always forget!!

#139: Palm warbler; Mud Lake, Ottawa; May 7, 2011

A pair of house finches were around. There are some near my work and I hear them first thing in the morning and on my way to the gym, and they always make my heart melt!
Matt caught sight of a black-white-warbler, but I missed it. Must try tomorrow!
So eventually everything quieted down. I got one last bird for the day, a beautiful black-throated blue warbler. I had only seen a female, so this bird was really exciting. Unfortunately, even with the flash, the picture wasn't nearly as stunning as the bird. But I'll post anyway, and hope to see one tomorrow.
I will get up early tomorrow.
I will get up early tomorrow.
I will get up early tomorrow.
I will get up early tomorrow.
I will get up early tomorrow.
I will.....


❦ fitcetera said...

My first sighting of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was a dead one lying behind my van. At least I got a close-up look at it, right? :D
It wasn't too overly birdy down here at Point Pelee today but I did get real good views of the Prothonotary and Golden-winged warblers.
What lens are you using to get such good close-up shots?

Funkysandman said...

that green heron is so tiny!
This is the time to see a lot of birds because soon the leaves will be hiding them and making it harder to get clear shots

deepdowndawn said...

Ha ha fit...I can't believe you asked me about the lens. It's a Nikon 70-300 4-5.6 ED that I picked up for $100 on craigslist. It doesn't even have vibration reduction or anything. I try to make the best of it though, and shoot with a mono/tripod unless it's blaringly sunny! I also crop the heck out of the originals...I'm ok with that, since I really only take them for this blog and for my own "remembrance."
How long have you been birding? Prothonotary and golden-winged are still on my "wanted" list!
Sandman...couldn't agree more. Unfortunately (for us) the next wave of migrants will have much more cover!

dwaynejava said...

Congrats on the Green Heron! It is a special bird... I would say it's what pulled me into the world of birding. I feel bad for that Kingfisher.

❦ fitcetera said...

I have a 70 - 300 Canon and my gawd, I don't get the nice shots you do. You're very good! I need better eyesight! :D

I'm 50 and haven't been birding long at all. A friend introduced me to it a couple of years ago but then I got seriously ill and stopped until this spring. I have a lot of catching up to do.

I'm so impressed by your enthusiasm and your talent for capturing the birds. I enjoy visiting your blog to see what the latest bird is that you've seen. You're doing a great job of it!

There were 3 Prothonotaries spotted at Point Pelee today! I missed all of them. lol

Happy Birding!

Noise Avengers said...

I wonder...did you ever identify the "skinny yellow warbler" you pictured in one of your blogs. I had the same type of bird show up in my San Francisco garen