Saturday, 7 January 2012

Mountain Bluebird, King Eider, and more

Lots of photos today, so I'll try to keep the text brief.

This morning I woke up and headed straight to where the Mountain Bluebird has been reported. It only took a few minutes after arriving to see it as well as a male Eastern Bluebird. My first rarity of the year (and my 7th bird for the year).
Mountain Bluebird - Puslinch

Mountain and Eastern Bluebirds - Puslinch

After that success I booked it down to Hamilton, hoping that I could work some magic and turn up the Black-throated Gray Warbler that hadn't been reported in several days. No luck there (actually, no warblers of any kind!) but I did see a few things.

I'm trying to photograph most of the species I see this year so I grabbed some shots of even the common stuff.

even Mallard's are fair game!

Bufflehead - Bayfront Park

Greater Scaup - Bayfront Park

Northern Mockingbird - Bayfront Park

Herring Gull  - Bayfront Park

When doing a Big Year, a House Sparrow counts just as much as a Laysan Albatross! They are each worth "1".
HOSP - Bayfront Park

Red-breasted Merganser - Bayfront Park

I really cleaned up on invasive species at Bayfront, getting a grand slam! Mute Swan, House Sparrow, European Starling, and Rock Pigeon.

immature Mute Swan - Bayfront Park

Belted Kingfisher - Bayfront Park

cormie - Bayfront Park

These guys were a nice surprise. I'd never seen one before in the winter.

Black-crowned Night-herons - Bayfront Park

An adult Bald Eagle flew over, possibly patrolling the waterfront for ducks.

Bald Eagle - Bayfront Park

After all of that shutterbuggery, I headed on over to Port Weller in search of a reported male King Eider. I've never seen an adult male before, plus it's a good bird to get "out of the way" when doing a big year in Ontario. After setting up the scope, literally the first bird I looked at was the one I was looking for!

male King Eider - Port Weller

The Snowy Owl was also present, sitting waaaay out at the end of the west pier. A boat spooked it so I grabbed a crappy flight shot. Very cool birds!

Snowy Owl - Port Weller

On my way home, I stopped in Stoney Creek to try to turn up a Short-eared Owl at dusk. No luck, but I did see the long-staying Bobolink, a Northern Shrike, and a bunch of Harriers. A Great Horned Owl hooted in the distance, and I drove home with 59 species in the bag.

Tomorrow - Kingsville for the Great Gray Owl and who knows what else!


Alvan Buckley said...

Awesome Josh!
Good luck tomorrow with the Owl!
I'm looking forward to watching your progress with the big year.

Stuart Immonen said...

Great start, Josh! Looking forward to much more of the same.

Angie in T.O. said...

Well done! :)

dwaynejava said...

Josh, a brilliant start to the year. Excellent photos as well. I am blown away at the birds that show up in Hamilton!

Anonymous said...

Josh, I so appreciate that you are photographing even the common species. So many bird reports from advanced birders skip over some things that we intermediate birders would appreciate hearing about, seeing, and understanding how they were found and identified. Thank you for taking us along on this amazing adventure!

Ken Burrell said...

Nicely done bud. I know it's likely the angle, but the MOBL looks very different from your 1st and 2nd shots....just interesting. Different birds?????? lol

Keep'er going!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone! Yup, same bird Ken. The lighting was a little different for each shot, and I guess with the post processing it affected the colors more.