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, June 29, 2015

Follow-up to Banded Loggerhead Shrike Sighting in Carden

A reply from Ontario's Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Program was received today, expressing gratitude for reporting my sighting of the banded Loggerhead Shrike. It's a bird that there's been no record of yet for this year, and their Carden biologist will follow up on it immediately. 

The coloured band combination indicates it to be a three year old male that was banded in 2013, and has been a successful breeder in the area for the past two years, and perhaps now is doing so again this year, hopefully. 

Watch this space for further developments.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bear Necessities

Rainy days make for road trips ahead of their arrival, not to mention some spectacular sunsets the night before:

Four minutes later: 

Two minutes later marking the arrival of the mosquitoes, grrrrr

Yesterday's sunrise was equally sick:

Tessa and I headed off in good time ahead of the inclement weather, with no particular destination in mind as I frequently make it up along the way depending upon what I do or don't see. 

It was already pretty quiet as no doubt the birds sensed what was coming with high winds and rain, but Savannah Sparrows were plentiful:  

We found ourselves back at Carden and it was totally deserted (thank you, all of you fair-weather birders, hah!). 

A busy Bobolink mother collected a meal for her family:

A pretty American Goldfinch posed in front of a typical Carden background:

A banded Loggerhead Shrike was an unexpected sight on Black Bear Road:  

For my non-birding audience, the Loggerhead Shrike is an endangered species, and the past few years have not been kind to them. An enlargement of the photo provides a better view of the band colours:

Both of these photos have been sent to Ontario's Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Program for their records. 

(By the way, Black Bear Road is on its way to becoming my new favorite road in Carden and is aptly named, as Justin and I found out last week when we saw this bear print while exploring it!)

The skinny neck of an Upland Sandpiper is usually easy to see, as per this photo sequence from earlier in the season...

...ahead of an intensive preening session:

Yesterday's view of an Upland Sandpiper was subdued by comparison, and its posture hid the thin neck:

It was getting noticeably darker and the north/ northeast winds were picking up so we headed for home, but not after seeing a few more Turkey Vultures that I always have a soft spot for NO KIDDING, I'M A FREAK :

Speaking of which, I was at the very southern border of Carden when I spotted some roadkill action going on with a pair of Turkey Vultures so of course I pulled over for a stakeout, using my car as a blind:

There wasn't much roadkill left, which was unrecognizable from a distance:

But the Vultures were still eyeing it, one was on the ground and the other was on a fence post:

Both front windows were all the way down, with the roadkill stakeout focused on my side of the car. Tessa was chilling in the back, as always, and both rear windows were completely shut. 

A very good thing, as it turned out. 

After almost ten minutes I decided to pack it in, so I placed my camera on the passenger seat. Remember that my focus had been out of the driver's side of the car, so suddenly something dark and large on the passenger side of the car caught my eye: 

About OMG sixty feet away, there was a black bear standing up looking at me!  

Needless to say I was shocked by the unexpected but somehow managed to keep it together (unlike my prior bear encounter in Carden a week earlier, arggggh) and retrieve my camera that of course had all the wrong settings. 

By now the bear had "stood down" and was on all fours: 

As mentioned, my camera settings weren't ideal, nor was the placement of vegetation right in front of it, but eye contact was still entirely possible:

For sure the bear was aware of our presence long before we were, thanks to the wind direction with both of my front windows down. Thankfully Tessa remained oblivious to its presence but the curious bear stood up a second time to investigate us as I scrambled to tweak my camera settings. I was too late to capture the moment of it standing, but managed a few shots of its backside as  the bear bolted off: 

What was to be another "quiet" road trip ended up being just the opposite, but what a thrill it was to see this when I least expected to! 


Sightings of the resident Pileated Woodpecker(s) at the cottage this year have been few and far between, thanks to Hydro One decimating the tree population along the Point. But finally last week from inside the cottage I glimpsed the male flying in to land on a pine tree along the shore. 

So off I went in search of him as of course he was gone by the time I got outside, but I soon re-found him actively foraging in a dead log but in the shadows. The lighting on him wasn't great but I was determined to experiment with my new lens that allowed for a closer focus:  

Lucky for me there was a pattern to his foraging technique: he'd dig deep in the dead log for insects and then look up, and then dig deep into the log again, and look back up... 

So every time he stuck his head in the log I'd move in closer and was eventually able to be quite close to him as his back was to me, so I sat on the grass and enjoyed the show:

This admittedly is a cropped view of him coming up out of the log with wood slivers on his bill:

Luck would have it that his next move for me was into the afternoon sunlight, much to my delight: 

His next move was to climb up on the cedar trunk...

...disappearing back into the shadows. 

I have missed watching their nesting antics after last year's treat, which makes last week's encounter all the more special.