Monday, April 1, 2013

And They All Start Waddling Two By Two

Well, it looks like that time of year is upon us!  I've been watching some Hooded Mergansers outside my work window for the past few weeks, and suddenly this week.  Each had a mate!  It's been so amazing watching them migrate in, feed, display to the females, then choose a mate.  Sometimes even have a little dispute trying to keep their girl!  I am really sad that Thursday was my last day at St. Clair and I wont be able to watch them even further.  They were really really beautiful birds!
Three pairs of Hooded Mergansers

The only other ones I saw this week were a flock of Ring-necked Ducks.  These guys are really cool to look at up close.  Their beak is so distinct with a ring around it.  These were some who spotted me as I was trying to take their photo, so unfortunately it's not too too clear. If you are able to zoom in at all though, it's worth a look at them!

The drive home on Wednesday was also amazing. The weather was the typical in Chatham-Kent, changing from sunshine, to rain, to snow all within a matter of a few seconds.  I saw a large black bird out in the distance and to me, it didn't look like one I had seen before. I snapped a few shots of it and later ID'd it once I was home with all my field guides around me.  My latest one came in handy, called "Hawk's at a Distance".  I was able to ID it, and also get it confirmed by a few birder friends as a Rough-Legged Hawk (a darker Morph).  

Dark Morph:  This just means that it is darker in colour than some other hawks of it's type.  Many birds have colouring that is in a lighter or darker morph.  Some, like the Eastern Screech Owl, even have a red morph!
Rough-legged Hawk
 Driving a little further down the road I noticed a bunch of birds landing.  Crossing the path there were HUNDREDS of Tundra Swans landed in a field.  The photo below shows just a small portion of the field.  To this that you can see sights like this in Chatham-kent still baffles me. How did I now know about this years ago! Needless to say, it is a sight that I think everyone at one point needs to see.  It's amazing and humbling to see this many birds in one area. Makes you realize the amount of species that are around we don't technically see, or see all year round, but depend on areas like CK for stopovers on their way up North. Makes you maybe think twice about the importance of conservation, even for areas that are not used by a vast number of birds year round.