John and Doug made the trek up to the cottage on Friday for a day of great weather, great birds, and great fun.
I was still recovering from my thirteen mile paddle on Wednesday down the Burnt River with Robert, Brenda and Jim, with pics to prove it (in fact we're all propping each other up here, don't let the cuddly appearances fool you!):
But back to Friday now: Doug and John arrived late with this lame story that they misread the directions, and "just happened to go through Omemee". Yeah, right, do they think I don't know about the Neil Young Museum there??? Harumph.
But by the time they arrived here at the cottage, they found me on the road tracking a female Pileated Woodpecker that was wreaking havoc on our trees, but we still considered it a good omen for our day together:
We started off down to the swamp where we saw and/or heard Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Goldfinches, Gray Catbirds, both White- and Red-breasted Nuthatches, a small yappy white dog, Mallards, Brenda and Jim, and European Starlings, to name a few.
From there we drove to CKL Road 24 where I showed them my birding haunts, and en route John spotted one of the Eastern Bluebirds on the wire in its usual spot. The Osprey nest where the tagged female had raised her family was vacant (at the time of this writing, she was last reported in the northern part of Florida!).
Most of the action was in the surrounding trees at the bridge, though, with Yellow-rumped Warblers:
A first year Magnolia Warbler:
A young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that virtually disappears into the tree:
As for the MABOTD (= Most Annoying Bird of the Day), the identification of this nasty little sparrow spawned great debate for
Doug and John fight over my field guides to reach a verdict:
I leave them to it and amuse myself with this Shadow Darner (I think, to be confirmed):
The young Osprey at Kenstone Beach Road was an easy "tick":
The trees bordering the beach by Emily Creek were full of more Yellow-rumped Warblers, as well as a Blue-headed Vireo that John saw fly in:
We returned to the cottage for lunch and I hauled out more field guides to continue the Great Sparrow Debate, but we managed a few pics of one another by the dock:
We did a brief stop at the west end of the Dunsford Nature Trail, only to find it quiet on the birding front, but a Band-winged Meadowhawk was a nice find:
Our final stop for the day was at the Lindsay Sewage Lagoons, numerous American Goldfinches greeted us in the cedars by the gate:
A Palm Warbler entertained us with his tail-pumping:
A Common Yellowthroat cocked her tail at us:
But the real find of the day, and a Lifer for me, was a Red-necked Phalarope that John spied amongst the Bonaparte's Gulls out on the water. We all got dizzy watching it spin around in the water to stir up food as it constantly picked away at the surface. I returned there today for a photo opp of it amongst the gulls, it's the teeny, tiny one in the middle:
So our day together was book-ended by a pair of very good birds (in fact Year Birds for Doug), the Pileated in the morning and the Phalarope in the afternoon.
The Boys bid me adieu at the lagoons, saying that they "wanted to get back home in good time", but I'm sure they wanted to hit the Neil Young Museum again in Omemee before closing time...I pretended to believe them and watched them speed off into the distance...
I returned back home to the cottage and relaxed on the dock at that magical Golden Hour:
The sunset was spectacular as hundreds of gulls made their way across the lake :
And so ended my day....
Footnote: the Great Sparrow Debate still continues as of 10:39 p.m. local time, all three of us have it narrowed down to either a Clay-coloured or Chipping. Stay tuned, as the gloves are coming off now...