Totally captivated in 2007 by the live camera feed of the Hornby Island nesting Bald Eagles in B.C., I was drawn into birding and have never looked back. Thus begins my account of what I'm fortunate enough to discover each day and perhaps capture with my camera.

Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by and are the property of Janice Melendez

Species Counts:

2014 Final Year List: 255; 2015 Year List a/o June 5, 2015: 235; Life List: 327

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Carden Alvar in the HEAT

So look what happens when I put it out there earlier this week that the Bird Drought of 2010 is officially underway:

FIFTY species was my final count for the day, which is also equal to the number of pounds I swear I sweated off today in the six hours that Heather, Doug, John, and I were out birding at Carden Alvar, not including travelling time. Much to John's chagrin, we were on the road by 7 a.m., but it was such a productive outing that we stayed out later in the heat than expected.

How hot was it?

  • it was so hot that I forfeited my usual information board pics, (sorry, Les), as it would entail me leaving the chilled car

  • it was so hot that I burnt my hands picking up my black binos that I foolishly left on the dashboard while eating a sandwich 

  • It was so hot that by mid-afternoon, John and I could no longer be bothered to check out any perched birds with our binos, for fear that it would be some rare bird that would force us to leave the arctic zone of the car to check it out

  • it was so hot that John had two, count 'em, TWO Iced Capp's at Timmie's on the way home

  • it was so hot that Heather's jeans and long-sleeved top were glued to her, but she was a stoic trooper, never once complaining about the heat

  • it was so hot that the grommets of Doug's birding hat left marks on the top of his head

And on and on, I think you get it by now. 

Here's Heather, John, and Doug at Prospect Marsh, showing remarkable restraint under the circumstances by not doing cannonballs into the water to cool themselves off  flush out Virginia Rails and/or Marsh Wrens:

And here's another shot avec moi, for a change (truth is that I don't want anyone to know I actually own a Tilley hat, arghhhhhhhhhhhh, I am soooo busted now):

Seriously, we had a blast, why else would we have stayed out in these hell-ish temps, if only to add two more Lifers today?

It certainly was a Sparrowfest today, seven in all, including several Vesper Sparrows (a Lifer). We had Chipping, Field, Song, and numerous Savannah Sparrows, this adorable first year greeted us along Wylie Road:

Not sure what's up with the Exorcist head motion here, a new means of cooling down??? I have never seen so many birds PANTING today to stay cool:

Here's one of the several adults we saw along the way, somewhat different from the fellow above, I even had to re-confirm with John that the young one above was a first year. (BTW, he's panting below, not singing!):

Here's a Swamp Sparrow by the bridge at Sedge Marsh:

We also had great views of Grasshopper Sparrows, this one was at the new shelter/structure at Box #10:

Early in the day, we heard very vocal Warbling Vireos and Least Flycatchers (my other Lifer), we were fortunate to track down the Least:

The bad news for you is that in this same location, Cedar Waxwings were in attendance- the good news is that I took no photos, phewwww. 

However, my future Trash bird, the Brown Thrasher, was everywhere, but only offered me up a tush shot, grrrrrrrrrrrrr:

We saw several young ones along the road taking dust baths, this fluffy, downy one is resting, as well as panting, see??? I told ya so!

Numerous Common Yellowthroats and Yellow Warblers lined the bushes along the road, but a truly special moment for us was this feeding interaction between a very young baby Yellow Warbler and its parent, you can still see the downy feathers on it:

Here comes the AWWWWW moment, in sequence, if the heat of the day hadn't yet melted us, then this sure did:

In addition to these special birds, we saw the usual Carden Eastern Bluebirds and a Loggerhead Shrike off in the distance, but my surprise BOTD was a pair of Purple Finches, what an unexpected treat, I hadn't seen any this year since our Algonquin trip!

We finally found my target bird of the week, a lone Bobolink on a wire, then it flew to a post:

Eastern Meadowlarks also presented themselves frequently throughout the day, but this one was towards the end of the outing:

We finished the outing at Prospect Marsh (well, actually at Timmie's), hearing but not seeing Virginia Rails, I love this marsh, but not so much in humidex temps like today:

We were back in Whitby by 4 p.m., somewhat defeating the purpose of such an early start with the intention of being back home by mid-day, but that gives you an idea of how well the day went, despite the HEAT factor. 

Many thanks to Heather, John, and Doug for a wonderful day spent melting away with each other!

P.S. ...flutterby pics to follow, have fallen off my perch tonight and am unable to sift through them all to id them with any certainty...


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