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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hit-and-Run to the Cottage for Windstorm Damage

After spending the early morning hours with Kate and Wills in London via satellite (I declined the invite as I couldn't miss out on spring migration!),  I scooted off to the cottage to check out the area for damage. Our place dodged yet another bullet, while others weren't so lucky:

Hydro One crews from as far away as Sudbury and Thunder Bay were helping the Kawarthas crew with the removal of two massive white pines that had been knocked down by the winds and blocked the road. The roar of chainsaws filled the silence that I had enjoyed so much earlier in the week, much to the chagrin of the local Merlins and Osprey too, so I wandered down to the swamp.

Common Grackles were flying in and out of trees with nesting material:

A pair of Common Loons sought shelter from the brisk northwest winds in the back swamp, perhaps the very same pair that had entertained me out on the lake on Monday??

One of the pair continued to swim in very close to me, as I was able to use a neighbour's boathouse as a blind:

What a treat to be so close to them, even if they were having an "off day" for any courtship displays! By the time I returned back home, power had apparently been restored to the area, although the clean-up crews will certainly be busy in the days to come.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Kawartha Cottage Treasures

A couple of cottage trips early in the week added more species to my year list, as well as some excellent photo opportunities in calm winds for a change.

My first Brown Thrashers (aka Goof Birds) for the year were heard before seen, as is usually the case with these amazing songsters:

A female Merlin rests in a bush...

...but as she flies off, the male Merlin returns to the bush to preen himself:

Our male Ospey rests in a pine tree to survey the lake:

He eagerly greets his bride, love is definitely in the air (I will spare you the bird porn shots):

The female rests in the nest, protected by her mate:

A beautiful pair of Common Loons took advantage of the calm day to do some courtship displays on the lake, so I took advantage of them! This first one was further out on the lake but was having an absolute blast, noisily splashing and skidding along the surface of the water:

The second one was much closer to shore and paid me no heed as I watched its antics in awe:

They concluded their performance by taking the show on the road to the other side of the lake, so I shouted out my "bravos" to them and bid farewell to the lake, what an amazing day!

Durham Ditties

Spring migration has certainly picked up over the past few weeks, so my "first of the season" photos include a Caspian Tern at Second Marsh:

A Greater Yellowlegs in Oshawa enjoyed a flooded field, thanks to the recent wet weather:

Recent arrivals from South America were also discovered in Oshawa:

Yesterday morning ahead of my TWC shift, a quick and dirty trip to Thickson's Woods resulted in an unexpected Lifer for me, but first I had to battle the clouds of midges in the air, OMG:

But lots of bugs meant lots of food for newly-arrived birds, as a serious influx of migrants had been reported the day before. The chorus of birds singing as I set foot into the woods was almost deafening, I kid you not!

Hermit Thrushes, American Robins, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets were everywhere... were Yellow-rumped Warblers:

I ran into Jim enjoying the early part of the day too, sharing with me that a male Scarlet Tanager was in the woods, so thanks to him I eventually found it later on, another Lifer, whoooohooo!!! Here's my garbage record shot of it, it was very high up in the trees feeding, and all of those black dots are midges. Thanks for the Lifer, Jim, that's number two hundred and eighty!

Northern Flickers were everywhere, calling in mates:

A female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was seen on Thickson Road as I returned to my car. By coincidence, I saw a second one for the day at the Toronto Wildlife Centre: 

The resident Great Horned Owl sunbathed in a pine:

Check out the size of its foot, as well as those incredible talons:

My Year List now stands at 136 species, with lots more to come in the next few weeks, including some Lifers at Pelee, I hope! My photo session with the Scarlet Tanager reminded me to bring ice packs on my Pelee trip, too, for my imminent warbler neck pain, ouch.