Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Crazy April...Part 1

I looked at my calendar today and couldn't believe that it was already the end of April!!  I have no idea how this month went by so quickly, but I guess time goes by quick when you are busy and having fun!

Everything is going full gear for field season coming up and starting next week.  It's intimidating (I'd lie if I said I haven't had a panic attack about it yet) but also so exhilarating!  It's amazing with a Masters how you can do so much work and yet it feels like you've done nothing at all when you look at your to-do list!

April 10th I left for 11 days to do some Bird Banding Training at the Long Point Bird Observatory.  The beginning of April had been pretty low bird wise, I imagine because it was so damn cold!  The first two days were pretty slow and cold.  I spent most of the time learning how to scribe data and how to set up and use all the different ground traps.  The sunrise on my first morning was absolutely jaw-dropping.  It was pretty cold, foggy, and the sun was a brilliant yellow.  I'd have to say this is probably one of my favourite photos from the entire trip.

One of the first birds we did manage to catch was a Morning Dove.  I'd never realized how beautiful they really were until this moment, seeing them up close changes everything.  Males have beautiful colours.  What I've always seen was a simple pinkish-tanned colour, when really there are amazing hints of purple and blues.  Below you can kind-of see that in the photo.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pie-billed Grebe

There are a bunch of ducks flocking into Peterborough, especially now the River is all opened up.  Buffleheads, Goldeneye and Hooded Mergansers are just about everywhere!  All around campus I've seen dozens (maybe hundreds!) of Tree Swallows flying around and feeding over the river.  Today I even think that I spotted some White-winged Scoters and heard some Killdeer!

Yesterday, I was able to spot my first Pie-billed Grebe of the season!  I love these adorable little guys and was lucky enough to have had my camera with me at the time!

Excited to see what other birds come flocking in over the next few weeks!!

Happy Naturing!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

An Icy St. Clair

It was a very cold and icy visit out to St. Clair NWA last Saturday!  I brought my Dad out for a hike with me to look for some ducks and tundra swans.  For having worked there, it surprised me that it was his first time out there!

Last year at this time I remember ducks were flying everywhere.  I don't think it was even possible to look in the air or water without seeing a flock of some sort of awesome waddler!  But this year....after a really cold and long winter all of the ponds at St. Clair were still frozen over.  There were quite a few flocks flying around but I'm not too sure where they were landing!  Little patches of water did exist but only 4 pairs of Ring-necked Ducks and 1 Bufflehead were there.  Even though it was a really small number, it was still so nice to see these guys after a year!

Ring-necked Ducks and Bufflehead
Even though there were limited ducks, we saw plenty of Tundra Swans flying over!  These swans I have to say are my favourites.  When the congregate into groups (and even flying) their sound can be heard from so far away.  Opening my patio door to let the dog out I could even hear them flying over the house, I always get so excited when I hear their sound!

Tundra Swans
 We walked all the way to the observation tower which is located in the middle of the Wildlife Area.  Other then the few ducks at the entrance, the area was fairly quiet!  I was surprised at how many red-winged black birds were back in the area.  Other than the RWBB, we saw some crows, starlings, a cardinal, and a muskrat!
St. Clair NWA from the Tower
 Leaving the NWA we were driving back towards Highway 40 and spotted a field of white.  It wasn't a large pack of unmelted was all swans!   Unfortunately, it had started raining at this point so the photo turned out incredibly blurry, but it was still spectacular. It actually may just be one of my favourite parts of spring.

Tundra Swans in farmers field.
Once pack in Chatham we went over to Paxton's bush to see what we could spot.  It was quiet again in here and even was beginning to snow.  We saw about 30 Goldfinches, a few crow, and that's about it!! My dad did spot a cute little squirrel poking out of a tree cavity!

Back here in Peterborough the Otonabee River is pretty much all open, but I haven't seen anything too new around until yesterday.  I was driving along the river through Trent campus and spotted some Tree Swallows!!  First for the year, so certainly is a sign that spring is on it's way!

Happy Naturing!