After enjoying great views of the American White Pelican at Second Marsh, Doug and I were joined by Alan and continued on to the Heber Down area in north Whitby, an area I've never been to before despite it being mere minutes from home:
As we parked east of the Conservation Area, another car pulled up and Jim McN joined us, so off the four of us went along the hydro lines. It was an open area, so the sun, heat, and humidity were setting in, but we were rewarded with several Veery singing away, as well as a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak that flew in upon our arrival:
American Goldfinches were plentiful...
...as were Cedar Waxwings:
Three metallic birds also flew overhead, we each made bets on the citizenship of the passengers, perhaps departing G20 delegates??
So you know the birding world is reaaaally slowing down now, based on the number of insect photos that you'll be subjected to for the next several weeks, here's a Northern Crescent butterfly:
An Eastern Comma butterfly tortured me at the parking lot, rarely spreading its wings, but upon closer inspection of this photo, the silver "," was visible in the first shot:
Alan headed home, but Doug, Jim and I went into the Conservation Area proper, and followed the trail along the creek in pursuit of report Mournng Warblers:
Beautiful Ebony Jewelwings decorated the river banks:
We dipped on the warblers in the end, and as Doug and I we were ill-prepared for the heat, we called it a day. Or so I thought.....
After dropping off Doug, I made a hit-and-run stop at Whitby Harbour for the Purple Martins who were oblivious to my presence, as well as the presence of House Sparrows in the bottom level of their condo:
The Purple Martin is North America's largest swallow and its diet is insects, but it looks like this male below decided to bring the insects home in some green gift-wrapping:
Ditto with this one, choosing yellow instead:
Check out the colour purple:
I'm thinking that this is a juvenile on the right, and below, versus a female, will have to pay more attention next time:
So ended my Day, or so I thought, the Twitch factor is imbedded in me now......
John and Doug picked me up at 6:30 p.m. and we headed to Carden Alvar, timed to arrive at our final destination, "Goatsucker Alley", by sunset. With the heavy rains of the past few days, we encountered flooded sections along Wylie Road, making it quite adventurous at times, as I was seated in the back of the van with the door wide open (shhhhhhhhhhhhhh!) to get better views of the "usual suspects", including this Wilson's Snipe at the Golden Hour:
We heard and/or saw Kingbirds, Common Yellowthroats, an Eastern Towhee, American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Savannah Sparrows, to name a few. Was also a delight to see the area at dusk once again:
At sunset, we left Wylie Road for Goatsucker (I just shudder at the thought of the image that word conjures up!) Alley, aka Doyle Road, but I had to take a sunset pic on Wylie Road first:
As we arrived at Doyle Road, we found that there were already other
freaks birders present, a few who were fellow members of the Pickering Naturalists. Dressed in varying degrees of insect armour as the mosquito onslaught had begun, almost like clockwork around 9:15 p.m. did the rare Chuck-Will's-Widow begin to call on the south side of the road, we were thrilled! He continued to call along the road for about half an hour max, occasionally changing position in the woods, but we never were able to actually see him. Didn't matter.
We also learned a tip: if one cups both ears, it seriously magnifies the sound, and in doing so, we were able to easily hear the first "chuck" note that at times is very low and tough to hear. Shortly afterwards, we heard a Whip-poor-will's call as well, so our late-day trip was well worth it in the end, adding another Lifer to my list!