Okfine, so it took me six hours to get to the cottage yesterday as I stopped off to investigate some worthwhile postings at Long Sault Conservation Area. My reward for losing several pounds of flesh to the deer fly population was another Lifer, though, so what an amazing detour in the end!
The only other time I'd been to Long Sault was in 1997 to observe Comet Hale-Bopp from the parking lot, so I had no idea what to expect in daylight. I arrived at 8:45 a.m. and departed at 11 a.m., so yup, it was enjoyable. I began with the Cottontail
WRabbit Trail, mostly a wooded area, with the east side bordering on pastures:
I was initially thrilled to find myself the only one there, but then paranoia set in, getting a smidge concerned about possible bear encounters, as, after all, this IS bear country, right?? But I was ok, other than brutal deer fly attacks towards the end (I literally RAN out of the woods, I kid you not, what a sight I must have been). But it was a productive area for the Birding Dead Zone, species included Red-Eyed Vireos, Black-capped Chickadees, Pileated and Downy Woodpeckers, Wood Thrush, Black-billed Cuckoo, Gray Catbird, Song and Field Sparrows, Belted Kingfisher, Blue Jays, and several House Wrens that were seriously stressed out as a chipmunk was getting too close to their turf:
While I was photographing the House Wrens, I was dive-bombed by this female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, who eventually rested on a branch but wasn't well positioned for a proper head shot, but we're able to see her beautiful metallic green colouring in the first shot:
My Lifer, though, was this extremely chatty Mourning Warbler that was obsessed with the sound of my camera shutter, the more photos I shot, the closer he moved towards me out of curiosity, what a character!
Another bird silently joined him in the same tree, and it turned out to be an immature Mourning Warbler:
So all of these treats were within twenty feet of each other on the east side of the Cottontail Trail, in fact I returned to the area before leaving, and they were all there again, just like clockwork, the House Wrens, the Hummer, and the Warbler!
After a few re-sprays of insect repellent, I ventured over to the Eastern Bluebird Trail that thankfully was bug-free, it's a more strenous trail with open meadows overlooking forests:
I only checked out a portion of the trail as it was getting quite toasty out, but it will be an excellent reason to return to explore further. And of course my mandatory Cedar Waxwing shots were taken here:
I continued on to the Lindsay Sewage Lagoons where it was a "slim pickin's" kind of day, other than this silly Spotted Sandpiper perched in a bush, then teetering away on the ground amongst the fleurs:
The Osprey nest on CR 24 on the west side of Bobcaygeon was my final stop, and this was where Ann and I felt like we were in a wind tunnel back in early-June when we saw the parents on the nest.
Mr. and Mrs. Osprey have since announced with great pleasure the arrival of three healthy, recently- fledged babies who are now as big as they are, the first young one was on the nest (don't you just love what they've done with the place, adding some greenery to it since we there last???)....
...the second young one was on a pole across from the nest...
...and the third was on a hydro line, I absolutely refuse to tell you how many photos I took of him, check out the striking orange eyes and fringed plumage. Here goes, sit back and enjoy the ride, as he/she preens, pants, and poses:
A long-overdue pooparazzi shot, wait for it:
The reddish markings on the top of the head won't last long as it matures:
One of the parents was doing a fly-over here with no fish food, so the young one was not amused:
Now he's calmed down again:
On so on and so on.....
FYI, I made an unexpected trip back there this afternoon with a neighbour, only to find two of the babies in the nest, with the third one across the channel, probably due to the high winds, therefore I came home with no photo opps compared to yesterday's perfect conditions. So you see, it's a good thing that I took soooo many photos yesterday, HAH.
I finally arrived at the cottage around 2 p.m., with a Lifer under my belt and some other surprises for the day too, but I remain behind with last week-end's post, grrrr. Stay tuned!