Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pipit - Eagle - Great Horned Owl - February 20, 2010

The American Pipit is alive and well at Pte Moo HQ. It's been seen and photographed over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday). In fact, he was so obliging that he sat on the water wall and gave you a front view and profile (left and right). After searching out the Pipit and getting a few shots of the Goldeneyes and Buffleheads I parked outside the gate and just watched the traffic of birds flying in and out of the brush and come in for a morsel or two off the ground. The weather was so cooperative that sitting and watching the usual Cardinals, Chickadees, Wite-throated Sparows, Tree Sparrows, House Finches, Downy and red-bellied Woodpeckers and a few Red-winged Blackbirds for two hours was soothing and entertaining. If you wait long enough the Fox Sparrow and Song Sparrow will and did make an appearance. This seems to be the only time I really have any patience.

Just before leaving the HQ - Jerry was coming in to conduct his tour for "Birding On Ice". I mentioned to him the birds that I did see and he was off to his group and I was off to Lake Erie Metro Park. As I turned onto Jefferson from Campau Road an object in the tree to the left caught my eye. Checking to make sure there was no traffic coming towards me I made a turn to head back to check out what was there. I parked along side the road where another car had stopped to take a few shots at the Bald Eagle sitting in the tree. I got out of my vehicle and walked across the street to see if I could get a better shot of the huge bird. He kept eating the branches that were in his way - just didn't know why. I figured that he would have flown off when I crossed the road but he stood his perch. After about 50 shots I decided to make my exit.

From the time I left Pte Moo I was debating if I should attempt a walk around the nature trail at LEMP. One couple told me that the trail wasn't too bad and that you could see some of the ground and there was still snow on the edges. Another told me she just had double knee replacement and wasn't heading down any trail. So the decision was made - I only had one knee replacement - I had my combat boots on (I had traction) - and there was still snow on the edges of the trail - it was a go. I began my walk from where "Luc" is housed and walked to the back boardwalk where the Great-horned Owls nested last year. Hollow was empty so I went to finish my walk. Just before stepping off the boardwalk I heard a bird singing so I stopped to listen to where the sound was coming from. While looking around I caught the eye of a Great-horned Owl just sitting in the tree past the fragmites. Catching a photo of this guy was more than I could have ever hoped for. After about 100 shots I figured I should have at least one good one and I was off to continue my walk. Since I had to walk slow through the trail I searched the trees and found nothing more to photograph. I was homeward bound.

I can't remember when I walked the nature trail at LEMP last but, for being my first time out in quite a while - this was truly a "Good Day". Til my next post.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tundras and a Red-tail - February 18, 2010

Had a doctors appointment yesterday and all the way driving there I had talked myself into not taking advantage of the sun. By the time I had gotten home I ran in and gathered up my camera and headed over to Pte Moo HQ. No real activity there - Mute Swans - Common Mergansers a couple of Eagles flying in the distance. At the gate the usual massive amounts of Cardinals and American Tree Sparrows and a Northern Harrier flew ovehead.

After about an hour there I decided to head over to LEMP and make a trip down to the boat launch. There I found Buffleheads, Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers and Goldeneye. In the distance close to the homes behind the restrooms were Tundras - there were these four that I watched for a while as they started to "kwooo" and then flap their wings. At first I thought they were getting ready to fly away but instead it seemed like all they wanted to do is play.

Before going home I decised to take a little spin through the parking lot of the museum and see if there were any Cedar Waxwings hanging around. (Saturday I caught a couple of shots as they sat in the thick of the bushes eating what berries were left.) Nothing there to take a photo of I decided to head home.

As I was leaving the park I noticed in the grass off to the right a Red-tail sitting. I pulled my vehicle up a bit and decided to get out and try to get a shot. Starting from the back of the vehicle I fired off a few frames and kept shooting in that manner as I kept walking slower and slower in its direction. I managed to get in front of it and fire off a few more frames before he decided to take off. Im sure am glad I decided to take advantage of the sun. Til my next post.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Girl - February 13, 2010

Saturday morning before heading out I took a little detour over to St. John St to check out the ducks on the river. Sitting on the edge of the ice was a Canvasback and two lady friends. As I kept watching all the ducks in the water I suddenly heard a lot of quacking from the center of this flock. There were these two Mallards going back and forth - back and forth as this sweet little thing just floated along side her man.

I have watched geese honk at the top of their lungs as the female swims away in
embarassment. I have watched swans get physical nipping at the swan trying to make its get away. Now I'm not saying that she didn't do anything wrong (at least from what I observed) but, whatever this discussion was about it was settled quite gentlemanly. When it was over the trio went their separate ways. The one swam off by himself and the couple went in the other direction. Guess she found her hero.

Snow Buntings - February 12, 2010

Decided to leave work early on Friday and take a run down to Pte Moo HQ to see if I might catch another glimpse of the American Pipit. Watch the trees next to the boat launch and down and didn't see any movement until I drove around to the other side of the parking lot. Saw two birds fly up and land and move very quickly. At first I thought they might be Kildeer but then said "No - can't be". As I raised my camera to take a shot I noticed their cheeks and said "Bunting".

They scurried back and forth and disappeared everytime a vehicle passed by me, but they came and continued scurrying about. Like the American Pipit getting a shot of a Snow Bunting was a first for me. Til my next post.

ps - Saw Walt Pawlowski Saturday (late morning) and he mentioned that he saw Snow Buntings with Larks. Unfortunately I don't remember the road he mentioned but he did say something about Huron River Rd. So if anyone can help me out with the area he might have been talking about - would really appreciate it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In With The Breeze - January 27, 2010

My friend Jerry has been a big influence and help when it comes to identifying the birds that I have photographed. Over the past two years Jerry will get a shot that I will hate him for. If you've read his blog and viewed his photos you know what I mean. Wenever I've gone out I have always considered it a good day when I've photographed a bird that I haven't before.

On Wednesday (Jan. 27th - around noon) I decided to take advantage of the sun and head over to Pte. Mouillee HQ and see if there was anything to photograph. First place to travel is along the water and see if there might be anything out there. That day it was quite breezy and there wasn't much to photograph. While parked a little bird blew in and was really struggling with the breeze coming across the water. Since I'm not very good at quick identities I've learned to take photos of every bird I see - this little guy was no different.

Even after I spent the night checking out the books I still had no idea of what this little guy was. Of course the next morning I sent my photo off to Jerry and he came back with the answer - an American Pipit - a terrific find he said. He told me to check out my books to make sure and he would post a note to birders to confirm. Before lunch he called to tell me he hated me and that he had yet to get a decent photo of one. He doesn't get a chance to hate me that often so I do cherish those times when it does happen.

At the gate to the entrance there are trees and a lot of over growth and shrubs, there you will find Black-capped Chickadees, American Tree Sparrows, Juncos, Cardinals and White-throat Sparrows. If you sit long enough you will hear the "chig-chig" of the Red-bellied Woodpecker - and then he'll come swooping in. I caught a glimpse of another bird on the ground, through the fence with unusual markings - a Fox Sparrow. Snapped this shot while I had a chance. Who knows if the weekend has a little sun I'll head out again and maybe get a better shot.

With the sun going down it was time to leave. Til my next post.