Thursday 20 June 2013

This and that

I am currently in Wawa, ON after an insane few days of bird surveys in northern Ontario. Between morning bird surveys, long drives between study sites, and evening Whip-poor-will surveys, there has been very little time for anything else. Then there are the unexpected things in northern Ontario. Last trip (back in May) there was the series of highway closures that added about 12 extra hours of driving to our trip. Luckily for us, the highways are open this time. However, last night when returning from a Whip-poor-will survey near Timmins, we find out that the highway was closed because two tractor trailers collided. It created a massive pile of wreckage, but luckily no one was killed. We ended up sitting on the highway until about 3:00 AM until it reopened. Fun stuff! So when we do get a few hours off, we end up sleeping. Hence, the lack of blog posts!

In the meantime, here are a few random photos from the past few weeks.

First up are two photos of a male Mourning Warbler from the Minesing Swamp, west of Barrie. Mourning Warblers are a pretty common breeder in successional growth, and that particular day I heard about 8 males singing at various locations. This one came flying in to let me know that I was too close. After some careful watching, a female tried to sneak out of a shrub undetected - no doubt near the location of her nest.

Mourning Warbler - June 2, 2013

Mourning Warbler - June 2, 2013

After doing some surveys in Hamilton on June 4, I checked out a local spot for some sparrow species. A pair of Vesper Sparrows was in one area, and the male came in close to have a look at this intruder several times until I left the area. It's too bad that it was mid-day, since these photos could have been awesome with better light!

Vesper Sparrow - June 4, 2013

Vesper Sparrow - June 4, 2013

Finally, here is a photo of a Northern Cloudywing, a type of spreadwing skipper that can be found in open fields and woodland openings. Now that it is June and migrant birds are no longer around, I tend to focus more on herps and insects. I find that looking for butterflies combines the good parts of herping and birding.

Northern Cloudywing - June 4, 2013

One reason I love herping is that you can get very close to your target species and see them extremely well, the exception being perhaps basking turtles and some frogs and snakes. Most herps are easy to catch and view well for extended periods of time. A reason that I love birding is the "rarity factor". Birds have wings, and those wings carry these birds to really weird places sometimes. Part of the thrill is looking for these stray individuals. Looking for butterflies is kind of a combination of these two activities. Unlike a lot of birds, butterflies can be viewed at close range for extended periods of time. However they too have wings and show up in wacky places, so there is the rarity factor as well. Additionally, it isn't too hard to get a great photo of a butterfly - they really are so photogenic.

Here is one of the first species of butterflies I identified when I was first getting into the hobby - a Baltimore Checkerspot from the Ojibway Prairie in Windsor.

Baltimore Checkerspot - June 11, 2011


Alan Wormington said...

I still need Mourning Warbler for the year! Excellent photo of the Baltimore Checkerspot.

Anonymous said...

Thanks - certainly one of my favorite species of butterfly!