Thursday, 27 September 2012

Lesser Black-backed Gull - Port Stanley

I'm guessing if anyone is following this blog they likely follow Brandon Holden's blog as well and are aware of the "50 Days of Rare competition". In a nutshell, a bunch of birders are seeing who can find the "rarest" bird over the next 6-7 weeks. So far the best I have been able to do is a Lesser Black-backed Gull that I found today at Port Stanley today. It seems like everyone is finding these guys this year.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

At Port Burwell there were hundreds of gulls but nothing rare amongst them that I could see. Six Sanderling were a nice consolation prize on the west beach along with three Black-bellied Plovers.


Yesterday at Turkey Point I checked the beach and was surprised at the large amount of shorebird habitat along the beach. The low water levels are a bonus for shorebirding this fall. I spied a single American-golden Plover amongst the more numerous Black-bellieds, and there were several Baird's Sandpipers mixed in with the more regular peeps.

 Turkey Point beach

 Baird's Sandpipers
Black-bellied Plover on the left, American Golden-Plover on the right.
 At first I thought I "found" the AGPL but after checking ebird I realized one (perhaps this one) was first seen on September 22nd by several observers. If we pretend this was a mega-rarity and I was hoping to win the 50 days of rare competition with this bird, I may not be able to count it as a "self-found" bird. The rules are strict and the issue of "news ignorance" and "re-finds" is dealt with. See for all the rules

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ruffed Grouse beside road

Title says it all... I haven't posted much in September - I'll try and do better!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Tip of Long Point

I had the opportunity last week (Wednesday) to go to the Tip of Long Point for the day - my first time in many years! Birds were slow, and I didn't find any rare migrant b-flies or d-flies but it was still an interesting trip. I had wishes of a Frigatebird or Brown Pelican on the boat rides to and from the point but neither materialized. Bird highlight was a Hudsonian Godwit we found on a sandbar with gulls and other shorebirds. A Laughing Gull turned up at the tip - but not until we had already left and were back at the mainland! That's the way it goes sometimes...

We came across this dead Softshell Turtle up on one of the dunes next to the shoreline. Apparently it had been there since June and was basically mummified and not scavenged at all. We also found 1 or 2 predated softshell nests.
  Melanistic Gartersnakes are super common at Long Point.
 Dragonflies were flying in huge numbers and Monarchs were starting to amass on this willow.
 Phragmites are a real problem on the point...

 The Tip! It often has rarities galore and large numbers of gulls loaf there. Sitting on the sand not too far from the gulls were 2 Peregrine Falcons (below). Don't think I've even seen them sitting on the ground before.

 This was a new Tiger Beetle for me (Cicindela hirticollis). They are a shoreline species but I'm not too sure how common or rare they are. I'm guessing Pelee has them.
 O.K. these were not from the Tip, but rather from St. Williams earlier in the week. I was happy to find Dainty Sulphurs in several places, including at my place.