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

Monday, September 1, 2014

August Odds 'n' Sods from a Kawarthan Base Camp

Many consider Labour Day to be the unofficial end of summer, so perhaps it's time for a recap of assorted sightings and encounters over the past few weeks back in Ontario, all within driving distance from the cottage.  

I managed a golden Kawarthan sunrise ahead of a quick trip to Algonquin on what was to be a damp day:

Within a minute of entering Algonquin, I had an exciting view of a beautiful Moose:

It gave me curious looks...

...but not for very long:

It silently moved back into the bush:

By the time I reached Opeongo Road it was raining, but even in inclement weather it was still a joy to be there:

The next day, several hours were spent in the field closer to the cottage when I shared my stomping grounds (and my questionable driving habits whenever we spotted some movement) with a visiting photographer friend. Fortunately we had some very cool sightings, starting with a pair of young Eastern Bluebirds in a new location for me:

We were able to find other species along the way, including a Blackburnian Warbler:

A single Rose-breasted Grosbeak was seen in a shrub, mixed in with Eastern Kingbirds:

A Canada Warbler was a welcome addition to my Year List:

A young and very vocal Broad-winged Hawk was a Lifer for David, first seen flying low across the road in front of us. Thank goodness it landed in a tree for better views, where its begging calls went unanswered:

My favorite moment of the morning was unexpectedly stumbling upon three frolicking Otters at the water's edge of a marsh I frequent. If you click on this first photo to enlarge it, two of them are wrestling and even some teeth are visible:

A playful trio:

On our way back to the cottage we spotted an Osprey on the wing, and I only took this photo as it was missing a primary feather. It wasn't until a few days later that I discovered in fact it was banded! Click to enlarge for better views. 

Ahead of meeting up with Master John the next day at the local lagoons, a pretty Swamp Sparrow that I had hoped was a Lincoln's was intrigued by the camera clicks:

A Common Yellowthroat perhaps contemplated breaking out of the lagoons...

...while a leucistic Common Yellowthroat was later found: 

Any Monarch sighting this year is one to treasure... is a sunset like this from the dock that evening:

And so it begins, those mystical, late summer sunrises with just a trace of mist on the water:

A drive-by shooting of the Osprey twins:

A dramatic view of the north at sunset was unusual... it also was in the east:

Last Monday's weather forecast showed promise for a misty sunrise so off I went, after sweet looks from the dock:

Once on the road to my usual haunts... 

...I turned around to look the other way for a display of pale pinks:

The two Loon babies were seen against a pastel mix of grays and pinks:  

A misty view of a "floating" island:

A Gull had taken over one of the Osprey perches:

Perhaps my new favorite spot for a sunrise is a park that I admit to overlooking for photography, until now, that is:

Sweet morning light! I can't wait to see how this area looks in a few weeks' time as summer transitions into autumn:

Fifteen minutes outside of town, though, there was already a splash of red and orange: 

I now found myself in Haliburton County, though, and was pleased to see some bird action in the trees as the day was warming up, including a Black-throated Green Warbler:  

A Black-and-white Warbler:

A young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker:

An American Redstart:

Suddenly from behind I heard a piercing "peweeeeeeeee", and turned around to see this:

This was the first of five Broad-winged Hawks I'd see that morning, but by far this was the most memorable encounter:

The Broad-winged Hawk is the smallest of Ontario's buteos, about the size of a crow: 

Before I knew it, the young hawk flew over to this broken tree and continued to call: 

A very fluffy Broad-winged Hawk:

It continued with its shrill calling and begging...

...and eventually flew off, giving me great looks at its markings. The underside of the tail was creamy with brown bands, with a wider and darker band at the tip:

Their remarkable migration is imminent, if not already underway, peaking around the middle of September when literally thousands of them can be seen moving through on a good day. I saw another pair on the same road later that morning, along with a second pair half an hour's drive away, but by far this was my most memorable encounter.

My final warbler for the day was a challenge to identify, but with thanks, yet again, to Justin, I figured it out. Any takers??

My camera always accompanies me, even during a day of errands in town, as I never know what I'll see. 

Like a goofy Mallard:

...or a damp Osprey parent that stares at me:

Friday's misty sunrise from the dock inspired me to head out again for landscape photography:

The colour countdown is now on as I'll continue to return to this favorite spot in the coming weeks for its autumn peak: 

It was beginning to get a bit birdy in the area, a young Blue-headed Vireo was seen: 

Black-and-white Warblers, as well as a Chestnut-sided Warbler were in the fray:

Another Broad-winged Hawk TRASH BIRD? was perched in a dead tree:

A Red-eyed Vireo was across the road from the hawk:

The mist had burned off the water by the time I arrived at my next marsh:

Then it happened. 

Warbler Hell. 

Haul out the field guides for the tougher ones. 

Blackburnian Warbler:

Black-and-white Warbler:

A Tennessee Warbler (Lifer, nay) Philadelphia Vireo (Year Bird, yay!):

Magnolia Warbler:

Black-throated Green Warbler:

Bay-breasted Warbler (Year Bird, yay!):

American Redstart:

Common Yellowthroat:

My final stop was at the marsh where the playful Otters had been. Sadly there was no sign of them, but a curious Swamp Sparrow posed for me:

The first shorebirds for this location had arrived, a pair of Solitary Sandpipers:

August was almost over and it was now Labour Day week-end:

I found myself on yet another new back road with a marsh in Haliburton County, and came across a birdy section thanks to chatty Black-capped Chickadees, that included a few Red-eyed Vireos:

Philadelphia Vireos:

It had been a few months since my last look at a Yellow-rumped Warbler, but they were back again:

Confession: I've been a delinquent macro photographer, but do have a few interesting creepy crawlers recently seen at the cottage, including a Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar that Master John identified for me, thanks, John:

This spider is quite pretty in its own way, I could see how it could disappear with its neutral colours:

As for this furry snooty, it belongs to Tessa, my birding dog who tolerates my frequent stops on back roads for no apparent reason:

So ends my late summer recap, except, of course, an update on the Common Loon family, which will be done under separate cover. And perhaps even a shorebird recap of the past few weeks, who knows!

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