Sunday, 13 May 2012

The One(s) That Got Away.

It's a bit of birding cliche, missing a rare bird my a matter of minutes..or seconds in some cases. I think I'd much prefer to miss a bird by a few hours than by a few seconds. Maybe this is why I've seen some birders in full out sprints to go see a rare bird (Black-throated Gray Warbler in Hamilton). In any event, I missed a pretty good bird yesterday by a matter of minutes - a Lark Sparrow. I was doing some birding on my own at the old park at Long Point, and was pretty happy to see both singing males of Hooded and Mourning Warblers. Then I got a text from Gregor Beck who was helping our friend Catherine Boothby with her birdathon. They had just found (or re-found from earlier in the week), a Lark Sparrow in the new provincial park. I rushed over there but to no avail - I missed it by a matter of minutes. I wasn't too upset since I've seen them in Ontario before, but it might be the only chance I get to see one this year. Oh well - I'm not doing a big year so I won't lose any sleep over it.

 Record shot of the Lark Sparrow seen by Gregor Beck and Catherine Boothby (photo credit).

The other bird that got away was a heron. I was riding along in a van when I saw a heron flying over way off in the distance. Right away it didn't look right so I yelled for the van to stop and I hopped out. It was a partially back-lit bird pretty far off so all I could really see was structure and flight pattern. It basically looked like a small, dark, Great Blue Heron with a much faster wing beat. The legs were dangling out the back so I was pretty confident that it wasn't a Green Heron or a Black-crowned Night Heron. Considering the viewing conditions I won't take any guesses as to species, just that I think a good one got away. This one bugs me a little more since finding, and most importantly IDENTIFYING rare birds is partly why we all put so much time in. Not that looking at Scarlet Tanagers and warblers isn't satisfying enough of course.

Long Point was "dripping" with Scarlet Tanagers yesterday. Warblers were diverse, but not so numerous.

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