We were spoiled rotten with an exceptional gull study at the Pembroke dump today (15 November 2017). Birders must sign in at the front gate but are free afterwards to study gulls at close range within the facility grounds. Continue reading Gulls at the Pembroke Dump
When Snow Buntings first arrive in eastern and southern Ontario, say, typically the third to fourth week of October, they are often found foraging along rocky shorelines. Continue reading Some notes on Snow Buntings
By early October, temperatures generally drop quite a bit overnight and do not rise again until mid to late morning. For early morning birding, look for edge habitat that is sunlit; these areas are warmer, drier, and usually have plenty of insect activity. Continue reading The Sunlit Edge
The following warbler graphs are organized from early season to late season. Note that many species share the same peak dates (mid to late August). Continue reading Fall Warbler Migration Guide
Yesterday (24 August 2017) I had my best ever shorebirding day in eastern ON. Our group tallied an amazing 15 species of shorebird! The water level has receded approximately a ft. since 8 August, leaving behind plum shorebird habitat from Beach 1 all the way through to Beach 3. Continue reading Shorebirding BLISS at Presqu’ile Provincial Park
Scenario: a small bird flushes up from a scrubby area. It pauses out in the open for a few seconds. You raise your bins and madly work the focus knob to try and get the bird in focus. Within a few seconds, it flies a short distance, lands, then disappears into thick cover. Your identification is ‘unknown species.’ A field blunder, especially problematic in bush-birding scenarios: forgetting to pre-focus by preparing your binoculars for focus at close range.
Pre-focusing is a skill that is learned by becoming familiar with the extent and range of your focus knob. You can even practice this while on the couch! The key is learning to adjust the focus without looking through the binoculars. You don’t have to get the focus exact by any means; getting somewhere relatively close to the ideal focus is the key. For bush-birding, I find the best starting point for my Nikon Monarch 5s is about 1/5th of the way between close focus maximum and infinity. This way, if a bird pops up about 20-30 feet in front of you, the focus “sweet spot” is quick to find. Pre-focusing equals less time spent fiddling with the focus knob and more time identifying the birds in the field.
Late summer is a beautiful time of year to enjoy herons. Sometimes, herons are seen flying over, at dusk, belting out their unique, throaty call as they pass overhead. Below I share sound clips of the flight calls of eastern NA herons. Continue reading Heron flight calls
Philadelphia and Warbling Vireos can be quite similar in appearance. This identification challenge is not necessarily straightforward, most esp. when dealing with these two species flitting about in green, leafy vegetation on a sunny day! Continue reading Philadelphia vs. Warbling Vireo
Sunshine filtering through green leaves of both forest canopy and leafy undergrowth can ‘alter’ the true colour of a bird’s plumage; this is especially true of whites, which can turn yellowish, and light greens and browns, which can increase in perceived saturation. Continue reading Colour misconception: sunshine filtered through green leaves
Using eBird’s Explore Data — Bar Charts function, I created a variety of graphs, some highlighting frequency of observations, derived from the percentage of birder’s observations of a particular species / all checklists during a specific time frame, and others highlight the total number of individuals tallied during a particular timeframe. Continue reading Guide to Fall Arrivals in Eastern Ontario