Sunday, 1 April 2012

"EAGR"ly kicking off the month

I headed down to Long Point today with Brett, Barb Charlton, and Georg Hentsch. We didn't have any specific targets in mind, and we hoped to just bird the area. It was nice to do this for a change, as opposed to driving far away to "chase" a certain bird. The forecast called for intermittent showers, but we managed to stay dry for most of the day! At our first stop, Turkey Point, we scoped out some Little Gulls way out on the lake.

Scoping for LIGUs - Turkey Point

A few stops later, we ended up at the BSC headquarters. ALL the Tree Swallows were evidently back and checking out the nest boxes. This little guy wasn't too eager to move...

Tree Swallow - Long Point

There are a few belligerent cows in the Long Point area.


An unexpected surprise came as we stopped by at the viewing platform near the marina along the causeway to stop and chat with Ron Ridout, who was scoping the ducks on the bay. As we were about to leave, I took a look at a small black bird swimming in the channel (Brett had mentioned something about a coot there). Needless to say I was surprised when the "coot" turned out to be an Eared Grebe, in near breeding plumage! The rest of the day, anytime Brett saw a coot, we all double-checked ;)

Eared Grebe - Long Point

Despite Eared Grebes being labeled as a code-3 species in Ontario (uncommon but annual), I've had an abnormal amount of luck with this species, finding 5 individuals over the last 3 springs. On the other hand, I've only ever seen 2 Olive-sided Flycatchers, a species that migrates through southern Ontario regularly.By the way, for those who don't know, EAGR (from the title of this post) refers to the unique four-letter code that is used for every North American species.

Eared Grebe - Long Point

This was a year bird for all of us and we spent a bit of time taking photos of it diving for fish about 20 feet away. It was Ron's second for the Long Point birding area.

Eared Grebe catching a fish - Long Point

Spurred on by that success we headed over to Old Cut and then went for a walk in the Provincial Park. There were decent numbers of the typical spring migrants, including Fox Sparrows, Winter Wrens, both kinglets, Eastern Phoebes, and Brown Creepers. This banded individual thought he'd give the nets another shot.

Brown Creeper - Long Point

We all got our first Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers of the year, but the photos leave something to desire! Several Mockers were in the park.

Northern Mockingbird - Long Point

It's good to see these signs around. We need more of these around Ontario!

We ran into a large group of birders from London doing their annual Long Point trip, led by the Platts. They had missed the Eared Grebe, so we promised to let them know if we saw it on our way out. Surprisingly, the cute little bugger was still diving around, going after fish! Their group was able to view it, with many getting good photos.

Eared Grebe - one last time

After a few more relatively unproductive stops in the Long Point area and the Townsend lagoons, we headed back home. The Eared Grebe and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker bring my year list up to 169.


  1. Great find and great photos Josh!

  2. Hey Josh, love the shots. Thanks for the bird.

  3. Nice coot! Beautiful photos, too.

  4. Prettiest coot I've ever seen!