Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Finally Birding again!

I finally got to head out and bird once again, three times actually!

On Sunday, Mike and I wandered out to Bailey Ecological Park in Newmarket to go looking out for Woodcocks!  Woodcocks are these hilarious looking birds, with a long and waxy beak and kinda plump figure.  In the spring around dawn or dusk, male Woodcocks will utter some short, buzzy sounding "PEENT" and then take flight up to 50-100 yards straight up into the air.  Decending back to the ground, he will fall zigzagging while a lough whistle heard from the wind through his feathers.  Female woodcocks will then be attracted to the males, and when near, the landed male will then outstretch his feathers and beging a series of bobs and bows until confirming that he has a mate.  Now who wouldn't want to see something like that!  Unfortunately, we didn't have any luck seeing or hearing any, but hopefully another time we will have more!  On the plus side we were able to see Barn Swallows out and about, as well as a really large beaver!

Mud Flats in the G. Ross Lords Park.
The past two days I've tried to take advantage of the amazing weather and head out on lunchbreaks to the Park nearby, G. Ross Lord Park.  On Monday Lauren, our SAR summer student and friend from school, and myself headed out on our own to try and ID some things.  It ended up being so much fun that I had to stay late at work to make up an extra half hour we were out!  We noted a few new species for the year: Yellow Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, Killdeer, and a Black-and-White Warbler!  Of course I forgot my camera to take photos of any of them.  There was one bird of particular hardship for me while I was trying to ID it.  I automatically new it was a flycatcher...but choosing which, oh boy.  In the end, I figured they were Least Flycatchers due to their size and also their behaviour!  I noticed them catching insects in a jump from their tree then landing back to eat it.  In my reading, it's one of their characteristics!

Red Trillium
American Toad

Then today, the two of us went out again but this time with Burke (who unlike me it's actually his first name), who is an avid and really intelligent birder.  So we decided to pick his brain and teach us some stuff!  For what was a lousy day of birding we still got about 24 species as well as some I hadn't seen/heard before like Spotted Sandpiper and a Nashville Warbler!   We even saw an American Toad! The forest floor was also in full sprout with some of the red trilliums and other small lily's blooming. It was beautiful!
Trying to capture the three of us, plus a Red Trillium in a photo!