Monday, June 27, 2011

teacher! #149

Ok, I'll admit I'm getting fully distracted and have been consistently adding non-bird photos. I guess that's what happens when you are curious about pretty much everything.
learning my dragonflies - dot-tailed whiteface
Ok, Sunday, I decided I was goin' a lookin' for a coot. I still don't have one, and I thought if I hunkered down in a swamp long enough I would inevitably get one. 
not a coot. juvenile grebe. first I've seen in the west end!
I checked my Ontbirds for the first time in a long time, but there wasn't really anything at all of note. Where to go? Jack Pine was the place on Sunday. After a relatively quiet walk through, I spotted a bird poking its head up and hopping around on the ground. I'm so glad I didn't just pass it off as another LBJ (*everything* is worth investigating). It was an ovenbird! Not making a spot of noise, so it's a wonder I spotted it. These birds are often easy to hear but so hard to get a clear view of.
#149: Ovenbird; Jack Pine Trail, Ottawa, Ontario; June 26, 2011.
Ovenbird! The lighting was tricky.

Lifting its crest...cute
Ovenbirds are called such because they build nests that resemble ovens (domed with a door).
South American ovenbirds build really crazy nests---really, google it!

Photo by Bill Leaman Photography:
We all know the Road Not Taken. Do you know this one?

The Oven Bird by Robert Frost

There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.

I'm one off 150! The search for the coot continues....maybe that will be it?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

take 'em when you can get 'em

TGITD (Thank goodness it's teleworking day). I'm sitting in my living room and this little finch flies right up the window in front of me and perches there. Guess he just wanted to say hello? I don't even have the feeder out there..I've been so bad about filling it (ran out of seed)...

what are you doing there?
Unfortunately this post is going to be consistent with my last few posts in making excuses for not birding. Basically I'm a huge keener and get involved in a ton of stuff. I have been insanely I pretty much have to catch the birds whenever I can. Luckily my schedule is going to open up and I'm going to have lots of spare time as of tomorrow. 
This girl was enjoying the weather and hanging out with the geese on the river. The goslings are now at the terribly cute teenager stage, taking on the shape of adult geese, but still fluffy like babies :)
This is what was keeping me busy this weekend: Ottawa Dragonboat Festival. Here I am racing with the women's team "Something's on Fire." I'm first paddler on the right!
I will leave this on a positive note...I should have some time to get back in the saddle soon! (and finally fill my feeders!)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

lost girl (#148)

I recently started volunteering with a Pathfinders unit and went to their camp this weekend in Fitzroy. We had tons of fun but it was sort of killing me to hear birds all over and not be able to just take off chasing after them like I normally do. We did see this fella from our site. It seemed totally oblivious to us. CUTE.

On Sunday afternoon on the way back I stopped at Bill Mason centre, which I hadn't been to yet this year. I met a woman on the boardwalk who was looking for virginia rails. Just after talking about bitterns, and me mentioning to her that I still had not seen one, one flew out right in front of us. Luck would have it that everything came together and I got a shot!

#148: American Bittern; Bill Mason Centre, Ottawa, Ontario; June 12, 2011.
One way to differentiate American Bittern from similar looking juvenile black-crowned night herons is that the top of the wing is distinctly two-toned in flight.
A few other things in the area...
look at those milky eyes...creepy!
not up on my dragonflies. workin' on it.

I thought I would try my luck in the woods and go for a geocache while I was at it. I ended up getting helplessly lost in the woods with a useless (dead) cell phone. I guess there's an app for everything but instant battery rejuvenation. Well, I made it out alive about an hour later, much worse for wear and nowhere near my car. Seriously...I should not be left to wander on my own...I don't know how my sense of direction is so terrible!

Despite the fact that I am covered in bites, bruises and scratches, I'm just loving summer.

Just noticed there is a new location feature for each post. Interesting...

Monday, June 6, 2011

buntings abound (#147)

I went to Kingston on the weekend for a wedding on Saturday. I was hoping to hit the island in the morning, but didn't end up having time.

We did have time, though, on the way back to Ottawa to wind our way via Opinicon Road and Chaffey's Lock. This area is known to have golden- and blue-winged warblers, yellow- and black-billed cuckoos, and indigo buntings. Well, I got one of my target birds!

I've been dying to see an indigo bunting, and there were more there than I could shake a stick at. Unfortunately, none wanted to get too close, so it was hard getting a good shot. They were much smaller than I thought they would be! Of all the birds there, they seemed to be the most vocal. Otherwise there were quite a few other great birds that we saw (though none of the other four targets), and by afternoon it got really hot and things started to quite down, so we moved on towards home.

#147: Indigo bunting; Opinicon Road; June 5, 2011
So I just got to tick another bird off my "birds I'm dying to see list." Only it's a bittersweet lifer because I just didn't get the look I was hoping for.
The Queen's University Biological Station is in the area. You can't access it without permission, but you can easily call to get permission. I hadn't called, but next time I will, once I saw the interesting stuff that they were working on.
Nesting boxes on Queen's property. There were some people going around and checking on them.
While driving along the road, we saw someone crouching in the woods and we asked what was up. Matt noticed that there was a bag hanging from a tree with something moving in it. I was a little horrified. So it turns out it was a Queen's student doing a PhD on redstart migration. And the birds were for release, not some bizarre collection. Sigh of relief!
I wish I'd had some more time. I really like the area and think I could easily spend a weekend camping, birding, hiking/biking on the Rideau Trail, geocaching, paddling the many many lakes and waterways, eating ice cream in Westport. Maybe later on in the summer!

How can you not love it here?