Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hawk Fest Visited - 9/19/09

The Hawk Fest was the 19 and 20 of September and the first time I've been home to go to this event. I started out by visiting Pte Mouillee HQ to see the Hawk counters - surprised that there were only maybe a handful (~10-15 people). Then I went over to Lake Erie Metro Park, parked my vehicle and walked down to the boat launch where there too were only a handful of viewers.

I walked over to the Museum where there were tents set up with the best in spotting scopes and tri-pods. Books and pamplets on birds, butterflies, plants and more. Learning areas where you could learn how to describe a bird. And of course there were the raptors on display. To get a chance to see these powerful creatures from the smallest - an American Ketrel - to the largest owl in the world - an Eurasian Eagle Owl was great.

Looking at this Eurasian Eagle Owl, I would have thought it was a Great Horned, but this guy has a body length of 24-29 inches; a wingspand of 5 - 6 feet and weighs anywhere from 3.5 - 9 pounds.

The Great Horned Owl has a body length of approximately 22 inches; wingspan of 44 inches and weighs approximately 3.1 pounds.

A Peregrine Falcon was sitting on a perch under the tent. I managed to get this close-up after the crowd moved away. Although he sat still - at one point he started to quiver or shiver (not quite sure). I know with the hawks every now and then they would try to take flight as the trainers would pull them back in and then spritz them with water. Is this shivering that the Peregrine did a way of cooling down?
Ther were two Red-tail Hawks a female and two males. Another trainer (ungloved) held an American Kestrel and finally decided to put the bird on a perch because his little talons were starting to hurt. Unfortunately this little guy would only give me a back of the head shot and although he is only 9 inches tall and weighs 4.1 ounces I wasn't going to argue the direction he was looking in.

I never got a chance to go back on Sunday - I was curious as to what birds they might have had that day but there were other things I needed to take care of before the weekend was over. Oh well at least I got a chance to see a Hawk Fest for a day - glad I did. Til my next post.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Quiet Weekend - 09/12/2009

With the Waterfowl Festival going on over the weekend on Campau Road I headed on over to Roberts Road. Not a soul parked on the road, not a bird flying back and forth across the street. I headed all the way down to the end ofthe road and parked near the small boat launch. There was alot of singing and some flying back and forth. With the sun not quite up over the fragmites any shot taken was dark and not viewable. Behind me there was alittle racket going on so I stopped to turn and watch what my appear. In the depths of the growth a Common Yellow-throat made its way to the front and then in view where I could get a good shot of him.

Across from that area a Gray Catbird is making himself heard and seen, in fact the trip down Roberts Road on Saturday and Sunday produced quite a few views of the Catbird. The Cedar Waxwings are still in numbers in the area. The Black-capped Chickadee can be heard but is keeping itself hidden in the thicket. A Great-crested Flycatcher sits atop a tree while a Downy Woodpecker plays hide and seek where I can't get a photo. A Dragonfly in a thicket patch gives me a challenge but I manage to focus on the stem of the flower just below him and get my shot.

After leaving Roberts Road I headed over to Lake Erie Metro Park to see if any is happening over there. A quick trek down to the picnic area gives me the opportunity to get a shot of a Hawk sitting on the bat house on the little road to the right - just before you get to the bridge.

On Sunday I make my way back down to Roberts Road to see if I can get some more photos - while standing down at the edge of the boat launch I see something flying towards. As it passes me I notice that it's a Hummingbird. What were my chances? By the time I could get a focus on him he was gone. Feeling like I missed my chance I decided to leave only to turn back and park. No one was there and where was I going to go. Standing back down at the edge of the boat launch that little bugger came back and hovered over the rock that he disappeared behind early. Not the best picture but I did get one.

A quick stop on the way home to LEMP to take a walk around the trail to the boat launch gave me no photos. Headed on home.

Next weekend the Hawkfest but I'll be up north. Good luck to all who will be out there counting the hawks. Til my next post.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wrens, Warblers and more...8/29/2009

Inspite of the gloomy start to Saturday morning I decided to take a ride out to Pte. Mouillee. First I traveled down Campau Road to look and listen for activity. If you've ever been down this road you know that there are a couple bridges that cross inlets. The first one to the right has a lot of greenery growing and nothing was there. The second bridge however had an Egret standing in front of the log that sits in the center where three young Wood Ducks are just biding their time. About midway between the road and the log there are about six just doing nothing. I tried to get a photo of these guys but because of the gray skies I just couldn't get them in focus. The last bridge is just before you reach the gate to the HQ and on the left side there are a couple of adults and quite a few young Wood Ducks. They were in the shadows so no real good photo there either.

The tree to the right of the gate has a lot of activity so I drove through to the waters edge and then parked just before passing back through the gate. "Patience is definitely a virtue" for birding and it seems these days I have more for the birds than I do for people. I sat and watched every movement of the branches - not just in the tree but in the bushes that are in that little horse-shoe shaped driveway. The Black-capped Chickadees are just "chicka-dee-dee -dee" their way back and forth. There's a Warbling Vireo jumping around in the branches "come on baby just a little closer to the edge". Well he didn't get all the way to the edge but he tried.

In the bushes to my right while looking a the tree there's a lot of movement. It pays to watch that jagged movement of the bushes - you never know what's going to pop out of it. The first movement I watched produced a squirrel - not far from that one popped a House Wren who was very cooperative. He looked this way and that - looked at me - then turned around so I could get the back view - then he was gone. In the bushes over just a little more was a Common Yellow-throat making it's way through the branches. After spending a couple hours there I decided to take a ride down to Roberts Road to see if there was any activity there.

Roberts Road was a very productive. The Great-crested Flycatchers were in abundance, just as the Cedar Waxwings were months before. The area was full of Baltimore Orioles, Warblers, Eastern Kingbirds, Goldfinch, Tanagers, Catbirds and more.

On Sunday I made the same trip - same route and had the opportunity to get some more photos of some of the birds I saw on Saturday and a few new ones. My time on Sunday was only two hours but in that time I took about 627 pictures (600 on Saturday).

My final shot for the day and my very first decent shot was this of an Osprey having breakfast in an old tree that sat off of Jefferson Road between Roberts Road and Campau Road.

Coming up next Labor day weekend and I'm heading north. Til my next post.