Friday, March 29, 2013

An Hour of Birding

Now that Daylight Savings Time has begun and the weather is a bit nicer, I am hoping to do more birding in the Blenheim area while my daughter swims.  Yesterday, I had about an hour of birding before the light was too low to really make anything out, so I went to the closest place, the Lagoons.  I am not a person who uses a tri-pod and the whole time I was at the Lagoons, I could hear Les (a man from the photography club I belong to) chastising me about "gluing the tri-pod to the camera".  I had some awesome opportunities to photograph a little songster and the pictures turned out nothing like I was hoping.  Maybe I will follow his advice next time.  Keeping that in mind, please enjoy the spirit in which the pictures are posted, not the actual photography.

I have learned, from previous experience, not to rush up over the berms, but instead to somewhat sneak up to the ponds.  My patience paid off...

Ring-necked Ducks
Although they are not crisp shots, they are clear enough for a positive ID, which is good since they are a lifer for me :) I had a possible ID of these ducks here, but didn't list them because I wasn't sure. Aside from quite a few of these ducks, there were many Northern Shoveler, Bufflehead and either Canvasback or Redheads (or both..can't tell from such a great distance).  Once the ducks spot you, they take off to the area farthest from you!

There were several male Red-winged Blackbirds staking out there territory too...
Red-winged Blackbird
My biggest disappointment today was photographing a little Song Sparrow who was singing up a storm!  I had a seat on a rock as it flitted about the garbage pile at the end of one of the ponds.  I was close enough to get a decent shot with my lens but my lack of steadiness greatly reduced the quality that could have been.

Song Sparrow
This picture has been sharpened, which is better than it was, but nowhere near what I was hoping for.  Lesson learned...let's hope :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

It`s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.....well, almost.

Finally!!  Nice sunny day, mild temps and a day off!  I have been itching to get outside!  I started a second part-time job this January and have had absolutely no time to get outside and see what is happening bird-wise in the area.

I slept in a little later than I had planned, but still managed to get out of the house by 10am.  I decided to head to Lakeview Marina to see if there were any nice ducks hanging around.  When I got there, I was surprised to see a few photographers with their cameras set up on tri-pods, pointed at Peche Island.  There had to be at least 20 Bald Eagles, in various plumage!  Some were on the ice, some flying, some perched in trees on the island.  I was also quite happy to see a Trumpeter Swan (life bird)!  All of these birds were too far off for my camera, so please forgive the grainy-ness of these pictures...
5 Bald Eagles (the ones on the ice) and a Trumpter (far right)

Adult Bald Eagle
As for ducks, the only duck I could make out were Common Mergansers and all attempts to photograph them turned out horrible!  I did manage a couple shots of other birds that were plentiful...
The Gull managed to sneak in the shot at the last minute!

Gulls are fun to photograph :)
After the Marina, I went to Hillman Marsh where I heard my first Red-winged Blackbird of the season...spring really is coming :)  There were lots of Canada Geese, Mallards and even a pair of Northern Pintails (life bird) in the water.  As I approached the water from the trees, the Canada Geese sounded the alarm and this is what I got...

A mass exodus of all the waterfowl :(
Anything that did stick around was quite a ways out in the water and by now, the sun was in the wrong spot to get any decent pictures.

I then decided to head to Point Pelee.  This is the first time I have been this winter, which is unusual...normally I have been 3-4 times since January.  I didn`t see any birds of note but enjoying walking the trails, even if they were really muddy.  All in all, a great day!

Here are the birds I remember seeing today, in no particular order:
1) Bald Eagles
2) Great Blue Heron
3) Common Merganser
4) Canada Geese
5) Ring-billed Gull
6) Trumpeter Swan
7) Mute Swan
8) Red-tailed Hawk
9) Northern Harrier
10) Red-winged Blackbird
11) Northern Cardinal
12) Black-capped Chickadee
13) Downy Woodpecker
14) Wild Turkey
15) Mallards
16) Northern Pintail