On Monday, August 29th, eleven intrepid nerders and entoes (look that one up, my normal friends!) joined me at the cottage for a day of chasing chasing pretty much anything with wings, including birds, butterflies, dragonflies, house flies, fruit flies, deer flies, tsetse flies, etc, etc, you get the idea!
Although bird numbers were low, sadly, there were lots of insects to be found, the highlight of which (for me, at least) was a Giant Swallowtail that gracefully floated by the front of the cottage during lunch. Based on the loud shrieks made by my guests, I gather that this was indeed a rare event, so many thanks to Skip for hauling me out of the kitchen to catch a fleeting glimpse of it, it was huge!
A Leopard Frog in the back swamp was so well camouflaged, it was almost impossible to detect:
A Shadow Darner out of the shadows:
In the morning and afternoon, I shared my favourite birding spots with the gang, and eventually lunch (but apparently not soon enough for Doug ;-) ). Hopefully my desserts made up for the lack of birds, here's a photo of
some beached whales the gang:
I continued looking for new birds during the rest of the week, and did fairly well in the end. Wednesday's sunrise from the dock was another keeper:
I decided to explore some new back roads outside of Bobcaygeon, discovering some new spots to check out in the future:
Just north of this area, a first year male American Redstart was not only a good find, but a very cooperative subject as well, the sound of my camera shutter drew him in closer and closer:
At the end of the day, we enjoyed a dramatic sunset:
As changing (NOOOOOOOOO) temperatures began to set in on Friday, September 2nd, a misty sunrise greeted us:
The Pileated Woodpecker pair that I had semi-promised my nerding guests on Monday was sadly a no-show that day, and I have since learned that one of our neighbours considered stirring the pot by telling us that an Ivory-billed Woodpecker had just been seen on The Point. Yeah, right ;-)
On Friday morning, though, the Pileated pair tortured me yet again with their jungle calls all along The Point, so as usual, I could be found stalking them for a good ninety minutes in my jammies along the back road. The female was doing major excavation work high up in a tree:
...and as she worked her way around to the back of the tree and came back into view again, I continued to take photos of her, then suddenly realized not only a size difference, but also that unmistakable red mustache belonging to a male! Finally, a photo of a male, whoohoo!
I was also pleased to see at least three Merlins in the same area, this being the first time in several weeks that I had seen or heard any evidence of them since they were screaming killing machines earlier in the season.
On Saturday, September 3rd, the female Belted Kingfisher finally succumbed to my stalking her for weeks on end (and no, I did not wade over to that perch and put fish on it!!):
It was so hot in the sun that she was panting:
And so ended the unofficial last week of the summer for me!