If you’ve been out for a walk in the woods lately, you may have heard woodpeckers drumming. We have just entered the main drum period for many species, which typically occurs between February and June. Continue reading Eastern Ontario Woodpecker Drums
Today (3 February 2018) Brenda Evers observed a RTHA x RSHA along Howe Island Ferry Rd. On 23 November 2016, Andrew Keaveney observed what appears to be the same hybrid 1 km W of Howe Island Rd., along Highway 2.
Both photos are the copyright of Brenda Evers.
The Ottawa area is home to five regularly breeding species of owls, and, come early March most species are from roadsides. From dense stands of cedars rimming swamps to homogeneous stands of conifers, find out where and when to listen for your favourite species of owl here in the Nation’s Capital. Continue reading Where and when to hear a “Hoot” in the Nation’s Capital
From our superb meal at Wilno Tavern last night to our finchy and wonderful birding day today, I must say that this trip felt more like a vacation than it did work! Continue reading Algonquin Provincial Park
Active birders throughout southern Canada and the northern states are likely going to come across heavily-marked light morph Red-tailed Hawks. Red-tailed Hawks in the east show a great deal of minor variation to their plumage, and at no time is this more appreciated/noticed than it is during the winter months. Continue reading “Northern” Red-tailed Hawk ID in the East, a note
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
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.