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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Follow-up Part Deux to Sandhill Craneling (!)- Reifel Bird Sanctuary

One of the highlights of my British Columbia visit this past spring was a nesting Sandhill Crane:

I stayed in contact with Bob, a fellow photographer from the area and learned that one of the two eggs successfully hatched and shared with you some of his excellent photos of the baby from a few months ago:

I followed up again with Bob this week and the great news is that the baby is doing very well indeed, seen below in the middle, wow!! It will take two and a half years before full adult plumage is reached:

Here are some more excellent shots of the Sandhill Cranes at Reifel from Bob, the first one is a flight shot of a young one:

An adult with some BLING on both legs...

 ...this adult is not only banded but is also fitted with a satellite transmitter on its right leg. Bob tells me that this bird wintered in Sacramento, California!

The transmitter is not unlike the ones attached to the two female Osprey from Sturgeon Lake. One of "my girls" is now calling Brazil her winter home, while my Emily Creek Beauty has been "silent" for a month now, stalled over the Caribbean, so we're all hoping for a malfunction...

Here she is back in August, the transmitter can be seen on her back:

Many thanks go to B.C. Bob for giving me permission to share his wonderful Sandhill Crane photos, thanks again, Bob, and I look forward to future updates from you!! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hall's/Lakeridge Road Odds 'n' Sods for the Week

So even the Cranberry Marsh Raptor Watch in Whitby is winding down for the season, as all I had yesterday was a pair of Red-tailed Hawks in trees along the road, here's one of the two:

I'm even reduced to taking photos of European Starlings, an oft-maligned species, but they really are attractive in their own special way, dontcha think??!!

On Wednesday at the hawk watch, Geoff, Rosemary and I froze our butts off saw four beautiful Snow Geese fly into the marsh with some Canada Geese and they left shortly afterwards...

...and I'm sure these were the same ones, now in a field along Hall's Road:

Hoodie Heaven

One of this week's stops with Ann yielded this spectacular male Hooded Merganser that put his magic spell on me, so much so that I returned a few days later, spending three full hours sitting next to a dead fish carcass under a bridge (!) taking photos of him, so here goes:

...taking a sip of water:

The Hooded Merganser is the smallest of the three that we have here in North America:

...he still looks amazing with his crest down:

...a view of a foot, both of which were constantly moving underwater, even when he was snoozing:

I was saddened to learn that he's a bit of a bum when it comes to parental responsibilities, as he ditches the female after only a few weeks of bonding, at the onset of incubation:

Several Mallards kept me amused during the Hoodie's snooze sesssions:
 occasional breeze gave the Hoodie a tousled look:

...a nasty wake-up call by a Mallard on a collision course upset him:

OMG, a Few Days with Ann with Minimal Photos!

...the good news is that there were few photos to edit, the bad news is that it was due to minimal birds, oh noooooooooooooo!

Despite this nasty fact, she and I had a great time on Sunday locally before the rain showers drove us inside, and again on Monday in the Keswick/Minesing area. 

Sunday's outing revealed Ann in her usual stalking position:

A local American Kestrel in an industrial area gave us great views (back to reality of the distance in the wild, after seeing the captive one a few feet away at the Pickering Naturalists' Club meeting):

A Sharp-shinned Hawk that we spotted on the ground in a field in south Whitby took flight over our heads:

...and that was about it for Sunday- kind of. The next post will explain what this means...

On Monday we left for the Keswick/Ravenshoe Road area of Lake Simcoe, and as we made our way up Highway 404, little did we know that the Red-tailed Hawks perched along the sides would, for the most part, be the best of our bird counts for the day! 

Ravenshoe Road is a renowned birding hotspot in the winter, so it was unusual to be there without any snow, although the cold winds sure made it feel like winter!

The best bird we had in this area was a young Black-Crowned Night Heron that Ann spotted amongst the grass, the brownish blob standing in the water, watching the feeding frenzy above him:

From there we drove around the shoreline of Lake Simcoe (nada) and continued on to the Minesing area. By now we had clued into the fact that it was a reaaaally slow day on the birding front, with most birds having already migrated out of the area or saw us coming and hid on us.

We got to the point that anything that moved was a thrill, even if in the end it turned out to be a dog or cat, I kid you not. I silently wept as Ann held her head high, trooper that she is in fact she's laughing at ME with my so-called Elmer Fudd cap on:

Some Red-tailed Hawks were still around:

This one cracks me up, as it tried to balance itself on the very tip of the spruce tree. They can weigh anywhere from one and a half to four pounds:

This unfortunate Canada Goose had been shot, resulting in an injured wing, as told to us by a couple who live in a house next to this stream, Ann has since contacted the Wildlife Gang for help:

So here goes with the highlights of the rest of our afternoon, as we drove around for hours:

Yup, you got it, NOTHING.

Until around dusk, from 4 p.m. onwards, the Canada Geese started coming in for the night by the thousands... did our Target Bird for the day, Sandhill Cranes!! Initially only three of them flew over our heads and we heard them calling before actually seeing them, but then more of them streamed in by the dozens, then hundreds, to spend the night in the fields, it was an incredible sight:

This was definitely a first for me to see this many together at one time:

As they landed in the fields, we could hear them loudly calling to each other with their deep and rattling trumpet-like sounds. 

They had totally saved made our day.