Tuesday, 16 April 2013

American Avocet - Long Point

On the morning of April 15th, Josh Nieuwenhuis discovered an American Avocet off the Bird Studies Canada headquarters on the inner bay of Long Point. At first it flew off before anyone else could see the bird, but luckily it shortly returned and many observers got to see this beautiful bird (including myself). It was showing well in great light, not very far away, and actively feeding sweeping it's head side to side with it's upcurved bill. It seemed to be finding lots to eat as well.

It was a new Long Point bird for me, and the first one I had seen in many years. It was in gorgeous breeding plumage as opposed to the all black and white winter plumaged ones I had seen previously in Ontario. 

Although there were no Ontbirds reports today, e-bird tells me it was seen today (Tuesday) before an eagle scared off the ducks, and possibly the avocet as well. I wouldn't be surprised if the avocet is gone, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's still there Wednesday! Definitely worth a look if you are in the area. 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Vulcan Baru birds - Panama 2013

So I was doing some stuff on my computer and wandered into my unedited photos from my winter Panama trip. Lots of photos still need to be edited and shared, but I find that task very boring! Periodically (like today) I might post some stuff from my trip.

I did a crazy midnight hike up Vulcan Baru, the tallest mountain in Central America. A group of us left at midnight, making it to the peak in time to watch the sunrise over the mountains. It's about 13.5 km each way, with a change in elevation of about 1,700 metres. It was very beautiful, but also incredibly exhausting! Even though it's in tropical Panama, you risk hypothermia near the summit before the sun has come out.

The Birds:

Volcano Hummingbird - Stunning little guy with a black/grey/lilac gorget depending on the light. Feed on a little heather-like plant at the very peak. They buzz around mere inches/feet off the ground! Very cool.

 That's pollen on the front of his face I believe.

Volcano Junco - After the hummingbird, this was the next one I wanted to see. Photo doesn't do it justice, but the gold eyes are pretty intense. 

Sooty Thrush - Easily found at the summit hopping all over the rocky outcroppings. Quite entertaining and nice company when you are sucking air. 

Peg-billed Finch - Below the summit in the bamboo zone feeding on bamboo seeds. In the guide it says they are very rare but can be found when the bamboo is seeding. Not sure how rare they actually are, but it was a very good bonus bird. 

Monday, 8 April 2013


Tis the season to be cleaning out bird boxes - and putting more up if you have them. I've already got several pairs of Bluebirds inspecting boxes and usually end up with 3-4 pairs each year. Anyways, while checking on a Wood Duck box I found this Screech Owl sleeping comfortably. I'd like to hope it's sitting on eggs, but wouldn't it be roosting with it's partner if that was the case?

Sidenote: I'm working on updating the butterfly list for Norfolk. Species most likely to occur here but not yet found include West Virginia White and Mulberry Wing. Consider these target species should anybody reading this find themselves in Norfolk! You could become famous ;)